# Strobe on dimmer

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
So at my internship I got a chance to see a Dataflash in action... hot stuff! I'd ask to borrow one for my upcoming show, but running data to the stage would be such a headache. I'm opting for using existing strobes on a dimmer, if at all possible. The strobes we have are old, just plain old. I mean they like 60's old, but I can't place the decade exactly. (Or someone made a more recent strobe that looks old?) Anyways, would it be possible to run these on a dimmer? I'm not quite sure what the response time of an SCR dimmer is, but this, of course, would be used to simulate a lightening effect. Without direct control over frequency, this could get a little difficult. I'm thinking now perhaps a better option is to use something different, but also on a dimmer. I will proceed to go hit-up the "search" button.

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#### cutlunch

##### Active Member
Hi Charcoal. It is possible to run an old strobe off a dimmer. It may not be a good idea for both the strobe and dimmer but they will probably survive.
But you need to put a dummy load on the same channel you are running the strobe on. This is because the dimmers normaly have some voltage output all the time < 20v normally it will just make the filament in a lamp glow.
With a strobe this voltage gets stored in the strobe and slowly overtime the energy builds up until it reaches a level high enough to flash the strobe. To overcome this, put a light of say, 100 watts on the same channel in the dimmer room or somewhere the audience can't see it's light output. Making sure to put it somewhere safe so it can't heat anything up when the strobe is on. So when you don't need the strobe the light will use the excess energy to heat it's filament. When you need the strobe bring up the dimmer channel to full.
This is how it was done for years before DMX strobes.
It should work for you. But give it a try before you start rigging for the show.
Hope this helps.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
But, Mr. Leffew, I can't run data to the stage... unless... I run DMX through the audio snake, and sacrifice 100 ft of mic cable to return the second universe from the canopy to the booth.

Ghost load won't be a problem. I'm just worried I won't get a useable effect from a faux strobe.

Btw, damage to the strobe I can live with, damage to a dimmer? Not at all.

So what is damaging to the dimmer? Would it be possible to modify a strobe into constant on, and then modify frequency via the dimmer?

(The 360Q strobe looked stupid.)

#### avkid

##### Not a New User
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But, Mr. Leffew, I can't run data to the stage... unless... I run DMX through the audio snake
Absolutely not, you know better!
(foot putting down time)

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#### cutlunch

##### Active Member
I have done this without damaging a TRIAC dimmer, it could possibly put a spike back to the dimmer but it's not to likely. Some of the old hands will correct me if I am wrong.

You will have to use the speed control on the actual strobe to set the speed. But if this is a rehearsed show that should be no problem and unless the strobe is knocked it should stay close enough to what you have set.

No! you can't modify the dimmer. This method is only if you can't get a proper DMX Strobe setup properly. I take it your old strobe is basically on/off with a speed control and preferably no intensity setting?

Hope this clears it up.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
Ah, so the charge gets stored, when it reaches a certain level, poof, discharge?

So the stored charge will dissipate if the power to the strobe gets cut? If so, then fine, I can figure out how to get 1 flash out of the strobe, and do everything from the board.

#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
I can't believe I'm going to say this but....I was in one school that had 4 "party strobes" on the same dimmer circuit. The rate of the strobe changed depending on what level the dimmer was at. But yes, we all know that strobes are in general unfriendly to dimmers. I seem to recall that even a dimmer parked at 100%, so it is essentially an on/off switch, will still put out "dirty" power.

Charc, a 360Q strobe, or now S4 strobe, isn't silly, imagine how useful it would be with a lightning gobo.

#### Charc

##### Well-Known Member
I don't like the caps on my 360Qs to have 4pin whips, thanks very much.

#### gafftapegreenia

##### CBMod
CB Mods
Charc, the stored power does not immediately dissipate when you disconnect the power. Even if the flash has not been set off, a strobe can still store a punch. Ever heard of a capacitor? Those can hold their voltage for years.

The "continuos blinder effect" of the dataflash is deceiving. Essentially what the strobe is doing is charging and discharging at a rate so fast that your eye cannot tell when it is off and when it is on. Thus, the cycle blends together and appears to be a constant source. Any strobe can theoretically do this, but on the cheap strobes this would give them a VERY short life. That's why High End makes the Dataflash, and Spencer's Gifts doesn't.

And it's not like your going to light your whole stage with 360Q strobes, you would probably only have one or two at the most on a stage your size. I don't see why you're so against the idea.

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