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Dimming Motors

Discussion in 'Special Effects' started by brozeph20, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. brozeph20

    brozeph20 Member

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    Is it safe to put a motor on a dimmer and fade this dimmer up? Would this destroy the motor or is this possible to do safetly?
     
  2. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't even put a mirror ball motor on a dimmer.
     
  3. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    I believe I have heard that certain types of dimmers (perhaps it's the new IGBT kind?) will handle inductive loads like motors.

    But no, motors don't go on dimmers. Neither the dimmer nor the motor will like it. To control a motor from the board, you generally need a relay module, which gives you on-off control only.
     
  4. ScaredOfHeightsLD

    ScaredOfHeightsLD Active Member

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    The short answer is NO. NO NO NO NO!!!!! There are a whole bunch of reasons why not to put a motor on a dimmer. The first that pops into my head is the attempt to control a motor with DMX. It's dangerous because there is no safety on a DMX system.
    It sounds like you are looking for some way to control a motor. There are many safe ways to do this depending on what you need to do. You are most likely looking at some sort of motion control system depending on the motor you are using. There are many others on here who are more qualified to talk on this so I will let them speak to it.
    Good Luck
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    NO. You'll fry the dimmer, motor, or both in short order.
     
  6. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    The only possible way I see that working is if you put it on a non-dim circuit and the fact that it was plugged into a dimmer was just a convenient way to get power where you need it, but I still don't think that's a good idea. There comes a time and place were doing it the right way is the only way it should be done, motors are one of them. Perhaps if you ask a more specific question about what you're trying to do we could help you.
     
  7. slimrocktwo

    slimrocktwo Member

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    What about like a Pocket Scan, or other small moving light (set to non-dim on the board)?
     
  8. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    Once again not a good idea, but would probably work in a pinch. My fear would be that if something weird happens of the board or if you need to turn it off you're likely to cut power to the light and then you have to wait for it to rehome plus that's just not good for them.
     
  9. brozeph20

    brozeph20 Member

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    The reason I was asking was - we are looking for gobo rotators for our upcoming show and I found a one-speed rotator. It said that you could control the speed through a dimmer (higher value, faster speed). We fortunately decided to go against this model and are going with one that has a speed contorl on the instrument.

    Thank You
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    A DC Motor can be controlled by varying the amount of power being sent, but it has to be DC power. An AC motor must be controlled by changing the frequency of the power going to the motor, using a variable frequency drive, or VFD.

    NEVER put anything on a dimmer that is not a conventional light. Ever.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2008
  11. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    I once bought a GAM Film FX with one of those wall-wart type transformers. I was surprised when the rep told me that the way to control the speed was just to plug it into a dimmer. And it worked. The dimmer rack was an ETC Sensor 96.
     
  12. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    dimmer that is not a conventional light. Ever.[/QUOTE] I don't think that you can make this as a blanket statement">
    I know for a fact that the GAM TwinSpin II's CAN be used on a dimmer. If you doubt this you can check the manual or call GAM. I would also imagine that the Apollo equivalent of the TwinSpin is probably the same.
     
  13. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I must repent, when you said motor I was thinking something that would take a load and move truss or scenery or the like. As icewolf has pointed out there are things that have motors in them that can and in some cases must be controlled by dimming them (like gobo rotators) sorry for the confusion.
     
  14. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I put inductive load Mirror ball motors on my IPS dims all the time.
    I use my IPS dims to control my Snow machines, Leaf droppers, flourescents, and sometimes fans. I think you can do that with a Sensor Dim as well, if you order the right kind, in advance, when you buy the system, and it's using an IBGT based dimming system, which ET invented. But I'm not biased or anything.:rolleyes::twisted:
     
  15. legacy

    legacy Member

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    hmmmmmmmmmmmmm very strange , I have been using my dimmer to control a fan for almost 5 years.,.... is this a different type motor>??
     
  16. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    For my last rock show I put a fan next to a DMX controlled hazer. I set the fan to the "2" speed and dimmed it to a speed that distributed the haze well. And it worked fine.

    And I can second the post that said that you can dim GAM's Twinspin II. I doubted it at first but looked at there site and it said that you can.
     
  17. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Most of the non-dmx rotators and effects devices are dimmer-compatible. FilmFX devices, Twinspins, Vortex 360s, etc.
     
  18. TimMiller

    TimMiller Well-Known Member

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    Some mirror ball motors are designed to be dimmed, others are not. Most of the "real" mirror ball motors will not allow you to dim them due to they are capacitor start motors, and sending them anything below about 80% is not enough to get the capacitor to kick in and start the motor. When dimming things that are not made to be dimmed, you risk burning up the ssr, or whatever you are dimming. Moving lights should never be put on a dimmer search around for several threads on this topic. Also never put things such as strobe lights on dimmers to allow them to be powered up. I have seen people do this and it results in one really big pyro show from the power supply, (its not a good thing when the wrong side of the strobe flashes).
     
  19. David Ashton

    David Ashton Active Member

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    More rubbish---- the fact is that "universal " motors like those used in drills and vacuum cleaners will work perfectly well on a diimmer, many motor speed controls, like the ones on drills are wave chopping circuits, just like dimmers.
    What will not work on dimmers are synchronous motors, like mirror ball motors and any transformer fed motor like effects rotators.So while it is correct to say "do not put a motor on a dimmer if you don't know what you're doing" a universal motor can definitely work off a dimmer with no problem.
     
  20. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    Hate to say it, but it is a well known fact that SSR/SCR dimmers and inductive loads (ie: motors) do not play well together. Also, as has been stated, many transformer fed devices (for theatre) like rotators are designed to be able to be used on dimmers. While short term use of an inductive load on an SSR/SCR dimmer may work fine with no issues, prolonged use can lead to bad things (and it may not). So until the manufacturers tell me that it is OK to put an inductive load on a dimmer I won't be doing it.
     

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