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dimmer testing

Discussion in 'Lighting and Electrics' started by wyatt20019, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. wyatt20019

    wyatt20019 Member

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    what is the best way to test a dimmer??
     
  2. Clifford

    Clifford Active Member

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    My favorite is the Classic IQ TEST.

    What kind of testing? What's wrong with it?
     
  3. wyatt20019

    wyatt20019 Member

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    haha very funny. not sure it isnt sending power to the outlet. wondering if there was a way to test it to see if it needed to be replaced
     
  4. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Is there a little button on the front labeled "Test"?

    Normally, one tests a dimmer by plugging in a known-working fixture, then running the dimmer's level up and down on the control console.

    Providing us with Brand, make, and model# will allow us to offer trouble-shooting tips.
     
  5. wyatt20019

    wyatt20019 Member

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    not real sure. there old case dimmers. installed in 1989. will post more info.its a mess. i am helping our churches teck guy. yesterday we where operating intelligent lights plugged into the dimmers. when all of a sudden one side quit working. we went to try and find out what plugs are on what dimmer, but nothing!!! and the old lighting guy has already left. what would yall sugjest we do.
     
  6. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Well, first off you don't plug movers into dimmers. That may have caused your problem in fact.
     
  7. wyatt20019

    wyatt20019 Member

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    actually their not moving heads. their elation cmy zooms. does that matter??
     
  8. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Yep. The only thing that should be plugged into the output of a dimmer is an incandescent conventional fixture.

    Ballast and motor loads in particular should never be connected to dimmers. The way they respond to the techniques we use to "dim" incandescent filaments can very easily result in damage to ballast/motor or dimmer, though usually thankfully the device to fail is the motor and not the dimmer.
     
  9. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Yea, don't do that. It is possible that you broke the light. Getting an extension cable and running it from a basic wall outlet is a much safer decision. The only time you should run movers out of a dimmer rack is if you have a non-dim module. Otherwise the dimming circuit can seriously damage the internal components of the moving light. (and even if its not a moving head, if it has moving components inside its basically a moving light)

    Grab a multi meter, turn on the dimmer however you normally do. Bring it to full and meter the power. You should get 120v (in the US of A) between hot and ground, and hot and neutral. Neutral to ground should be 0v. If your not getting this, there is a problem. If your getting this, be upset, cause you probably broke your mover.

    Let us know the type of dimmers and we can possibly help if its a dimmer problem.
     
  10. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    By the way, for a meaningful measurement, your dimmer needs a load on it. A 75 or 100-watt test light would probably suffice, and it's a good thing to have in the kit anyhow.

    If you get no juice into the test light, your dimmer's not working. Check the breakers or fuses, whichever it has (probably breakers) and reset them if they're tripped. If you still get no juice (which is unlikely) you may have blown up your output devices. If your intels don't work plugged into the wall, you may have blown them up. It's likely that only one of these conditions has happened (more likely to the intel) , but I suppose it's possible for both to have happened.
     
  11. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    STOP! "Before using any electrical equipment or monitoring or measuring device, be sure to read, understand, and follow the manufacturer's safety instructions. And there's no more important safety device than these, safety glasses."
    -Norm Abram.

    Here is a good resource, from our friends at Fluke.
     
  12. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Very true. If your unsure of what your doing, then don't do it. Electricity can kill.
     
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Several incorrect/incomplete/inaccurate items in the above. For starters, see this thread: http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/question-day/8453-voltage-but-no-current-new-post.html
     
  14. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    1980s dimmer? Some of the dimmers back then used a silver-sand fuse (located inside) in addition to the circuit breaker. (TTI comes to mind) The idea was that the breaker would trip on sustained overloads, but the fuse would catch the type of short super-overloads that would blow SCRs. These fuses were also called "rectifier fuses" as they were often used in other industries to protect rectifiers. (Same concept.) Usually, a 2.4k dimmer would have a 20 amp breaker on front, but also have a 35 amp silver-sand fuse inside. As SCRs got bigger and more durable the SS fuses became a thing of the past.

    The response time of the SS fuses was much quicker than the breaker. Often, the SS would go before the breaker, especially on lamp failures.

    Type: KAA or KAW Sample- http://www.nextag.com/KAW-fuse/search-html
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2008
  15. Charc

    Charc Well-Known Member

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    Oh wow. Yea, intels get pricey quick. I think it was CB member TimMiller who had to deal with a school that did the same thing you did. The school quickly found out how many thousands of dollars repairs can cost.
     
  16. wyatt20019

    wyatt20019 Member

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    so should i get some portable non dimming dimmer packs and use them??? would that work??? if so which ones would you recomend. the lights still work fine
     
  17. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    One of these, usually called a Moving Light Power Distro (ML PD).
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2008
  18. zac850

    zac850 Well-Known Member

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    Of course then the question is how much power is coming into the building. Got an extra 200 amps 3 phase anywhere?
     
  19. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Or just plug the intels directly into the wall.

    The data link handles all control functions, including dimming, dowsing, color, all that stuff. Feed 'em always-on-without-dimmer-or-anything electricity and then DMX data.
     
  20. JD

    JD Well-Known Member

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    The old handy wall outlet! Did a gig last month at Dover Downs and the house electrician was very late showing up. There were six 20 amp wall outlets stage side so I just ran all the movers off of them and programmed up my routines. Good thing as the house guy showed up 40 minutes before show time, which gave me just enough time to aim the conventionals and get off the stage. Never did switch them over to my distro. Show went fine. (Same guy with the "Fused Distro" argument.)
     

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