# Using a wall dimmer for a Source four follow spot??

#### DannyDepac

##### Member
Hi Everyone - You've never failed me before so I'm back! lol

I am putting together my own DIY Followspot from an ETC source 4 ellipsoidal (5 degree) 750 watt.

I want it to be dimmable by the operator. I saw a couple of videos that use a regular old home "wall dimmer switch" inline with the power cord to make it dimmable.

Is that true? Is it safe? I have seen dimmers designed for this but they require an edison plug and are like $50. I'd prefer the wall dimmer if its safe. I luckily (stupidly ?) ordered it with out a plug end so it is just as much work as buying a dimmer that requires an edison plug. I have attached pictures for reference. Thanks in advance #### Attachments • 7.3 KB Views: 148 • 135.9 KB Views: 169 #### techieman33 ##### Well-Known Member Hi Everyone - You've never failed me before so I'm back! lol I am putting together my own DIY Followspot from an ETC source 4 ellipsoidal (5 degree) 750 watt. I want it to be dimmable by the operator. I saw a couple of videos that use a regular old home "wall dimmer switch" inline with the power cord to make it dimmable. Is that true? Is it safe? I have seen dimmers designed for this but they require an edison plug and are like$50. I'd prefer the wall dimmer if its safe.

I luckily (stupidly ?) ordered it with out a plug end so it is just as much work as buying a dimmer that requires an edison plug.

I have attached pictures for reference. Thanks in advance
You can. I wouldn't want it in a metal gang box though. Also make sure your dimmer is rated for at least 1000w. Most residential wall dimmers are only rated for 600w.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Hi Everyone - You've never failed me before so I'm back! lol

I am putting together my own DIY Followspot from an ETC source 4 ellipsoidal (5 degree) 750 watt.

I want it to be dimmable by the operator. I saw a couple of videos that use a regular old home "wall dimmer switch" inline with the power cord to make it dimmable.

Is that true? Is it safe? I have seen dimmers designed for this but they require an edison plug and are like \$50. I'd prefer the wall dimmer if its safe.

I luckily (stupidly ?) ordered it with out a plug end so it is just as much work as buying a dimmer that requires an edison plug.

I have attached pictures for reference. Thanks in advance
@DannyDepac Things to consider and keep in mind:
- What's the wattage rating of your dimmer?
- More than 750 Watts I HOPE.
• - If your dimmer is rated for 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 or more watts you should be good to go. I'd add a mental margin to the load of your 750 Watt Source Four to allow for cold surge when initially turning on thus I'm suggesting you'd use at least a 1,000 watt dimmer for your 750 watt Source Four. The rating of your dimmer is likely also dependent upon the type and size of box you're housing it within as the manufacturer is probably counting on the amount of metal within the box as a heat-sink to help dissipate heat. A metal cover plate is likely part of their equation as well. Some manufacturers of dimmers intended for use in residential walls specify which way faces up so that their typical TRIAC ends up mounted low with most of its heat radiating upwards to make the maximum use of convection. If your Source Four follow spot is going to operated by an operator seated cross-legged on a cushion in an overhead ceiling cove be sure you safety everything; gel frames, manual dowsers, irises, EVERYTHING. You may wish to add various counter-weights to finesse the balance of your spot. With all best wishes.
• Toodleoo!
• Ron Hebbard

Premium Member

#### techieman33

##### Well-Known Member
@techieman33 and @DannyDepac Why are you recommending against a metal box and cover??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
My understanding is that it’s not allowed by code. If it were to be wired wrong, or wires cans lose inside the enclosure could become live.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
My understanding is that it’s not allowed by code. If it were to be wired wrong, or wires cans lose inside the enclosure could become live.
@techieman33 I'd suggest and prefer that your enclosure, including its cover, would be metallic and bonded to your safety ground either by a hard-wired bonding conductor or a grounding contact designed to mate first and break last on your incoming power connector.
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### microstar

##### Well-Known Member
Is it according to code: NO (using metal switch box in a portable application/using Romex clamps on rubber cable). Do people make and use something like this: YES. I am actually shocked (pardon the pun) that City Theatrical would sell this in the form pictured.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Is it according to code: NO (using metal switch box in a portable application/using Romex clamps on rubber cable). Do people make and use something like this: YES. I am actually shocked (pardon the pun) that City Theatrical would sell this in the form pictured.
@microstar Would Kellems grips make you happier??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

#### BillESC

##### Well-Known Member
I make inline dimmers for the Tent Rental industry in 1000w, 1500w. 2000w and 150w LED models. As a note, if your dimmer fits in a standard 2 x 4 handy box, it is only 600w and will fail trying to dim a Source 4 at 750w.

#### Jay Ashworth

##### Well-Known Member
Nah, Bill, you can get 1000's and 1200's that fit in a dual-gang box.

They *do* stick out the front a bit...

I personally recommend a rotary rather than a slider; they're easier to control in this particular case...

#### JohnD

##### Well-Known Member
Fight Leukemia
AND IT GOE's TO 11(so what if you shorten lamp live).

As far as the aversion to using conduit boxes, it goes back to everyone's local "Ankle-biter Production Company" * and the quad boxes and stage stringers made with them and cheap Big Box store extension cords (the colorful ones, of course). Sometimes they were made with the much cheaper plastic covers too. They then get thrown into a liberated milk crate and tossed in the trunk to rattle around near the jack and handle and the box knock-outs get bent in or even knocked out. Also, those screw terminals were too labor intensive so they were sometimes made with the wires shoved in those solid wire holes in the back.

*, you know the company who should have the motto "We'll undercut anyone, you just have to buy us some beer", yeah, that company.

RonHebbard

#### BillConnerFASTC

##### Well-Known Member
I thought the ability to drive it to 130 volts was a bonus. I don't think a 750 s4 as follow spot is ever going to be too bright.

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#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
I thought the sbility to drive it to 130 bolts was a bonus. I dont think a 750 s4 as folliw spot is ever going to be too bright.
I assume that with 130 BOLTS, it's reasonably well made and robust.

JohnD

#### SteveB

##### Well-Known Member
AND IT GOE's TO 11(so what if you shorten lamp live).

As far as the aversion to using conduit boxes, it goes back to everyone's local "Ankle-biter Production Company" * and the quad boxes and stage stringers made with them and cheap Big Box store extension cords (the colorful ones, of course). Sometimes they were made with the much cheaper plastic covers too. They then get thrown into a liberated milk crate and tossed in the trunk to rattle around near the jack and handle and the box knock-outs get bent in or even knocked out. Also, those screw terminals were too labor intensive so they were sometimes made with the wires shoved in those solid wire holes in the back.

*, you know the company who should have the motto "We'll undercut anyone, you just have to buy us some beer", yeah, that company.
I recall a push to not use metal electrical boxes for portable equipment applications as it violates the UL listing of the box ?, said boxes only listed for permanent installations or some such.

JohnD

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
I assume that with 130 BOLTS, it's reasonably well made and robust.
@SteveB Especially as they're AC Bolts. Surely the AC's an abbreviation for Air-Craft quality? They're likely employing castellated nuts with stainless cotter pins as well. @porkchop @egilson1 Care to comment??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard

macsound

#### egilson1

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
@RonHebbard , Depends if they are Grade 2, 5 or 8 bolts!

Premium Member
JohnD

#### RickR

##### Well-Known Member
NEC requires using products within their NRTL listing. So code does forbid!

Further, a device intended for resessed used as exposed, is why they hurt so much and get banged up. Exterior boxes solve much of that. I saw such a product with plastic boxes, but can't find the link right now.

#### RonHebbard

##### Well-Known Member
Premium Member
NEC requires using products within their NRTL listing. So code does forbid!

Further, a device intended for resessed used as exposed, is why they hurt so much and get banged up. Exterior boxes solve much of that. I saw such a product with plastic boxes, but can't find the link right now.
@RickR Would the dimmer still attain / retain its wattage / heat dissipation ratings in a non-metal housing??
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard