Well I don't really know what I should title this as


Hello to all the techies on this board. I'm actually... an actor. I'm a Musical Theatre major at HSPVA, (It's a high school in texas for performing arts.) and I've been reading a lot of books on designing, working with my school's techies, etc. I just think Design is a very different art form and I find it extremely interesting. Basically, I joined the board to ask questions and learn things about how Technical Theatre works.

My questions will most likely be very basic, but I've been told I'm pleasant to teach and I half a bit of sense, (High praise from the techies.) so hopefully I won't be amazingly ignorant for too long. Recently I've been reading plays and designing scale set models for fun with foam core and (This is a new discovery) manilla folders. I'm going to try and learn how to create a light plot as soon as I finish with crew on my current production.

Anyways, hello to all you techies out there, I'll leave you with my first question(s).

Basically, the dimmers are a breaker box for the lights correct? Are the dimmers themselves the electronic boxes that control the voltage of the light so that the amount of light can be controlled? Is there a difference between dimmers? What the heck are they! Thankyou again, I hope to learn a lot from you all.
hover your mouse over the word dimmer

Hey and welcome to CB!
Welcome to Controlbooth.com!

Dont worry before Toooo long we'll have you converted to a full fledged Techie! :) Ship might be arround to say this, but I might as well steal his thunder; There is no such thing as a basic question! We all have more to learn about everything in theater, even the most basic questions!

Yes, Dave has been very nice and installed something on this forum that lets you hover over specific technical words and see a "tool tip" with a discription of what that word means.

There is a difference between different types of dimmers, both in the way they control the amount of voltage going to your lights, and the number of lights at varying wattages they can support. I am not very knowledgeable about the specifics, so I'll let someone else fill in the details.

If you really want to know how dimemrs work, I would suggest you read This thread specifically Catlunch's post that starts with a quote from TechnicalRunner and then says "Some of the answer is what you would study at college" (you can do ctl-F and copy that quote into the search box in that IE window to jump to that post if you'd like).

I hope that helps abit! Please dont be a stranger arround here!

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This a post from Etcfieldeng on the Lightnetwork forum:

Your standard domestic dimming system derives its output voltage by using the voltage derived between one of the hot legs and neutral and the individual dimmers are spread across the different phases to balance the load out across the different phases. What you get is an output from a dimmer that is nominally 120v minus any voltage loss across the dimmer module and any line loss in the run of wire to the fixture. For most systems the votlage at the fixture is around 115v and can only be read correctly with a load connected and a True RMS meter. Just because a meter is digital does not mean it can read True RMS and will give you incorrect readings if it isn't.
Surprisingly enough, that all made sense to me. I'm glad I read that book though... Thankyou for all the nice welcoming! I will most likely be a frequent poster once my current show is over. Rehearsal/crew work from 1230pm-1130pm. Very long day. Thanks again!

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