1. noun. A dimmer is a device used to vary the electrical power delivered to the instruments lamp. As power to the lamp decreases, the light fades or dims.
Incandescent dimming is accomplished through SCR (Silicon-Controlled Rectifier), IGBT, or sinewave dimming systems.
Dimmers are controlled by a low voltage signal from the light console. In older systems this signal is analog (usually 0-10VDC) or Analog MultiPlex (AMX). Since the late 80's the signal is is a digital protocol (DMX512 or Digital MultiPlex). Many newer systems are using Ethernet to control dimmers. In response to one of these signals, dimmers allow power to flow at the specified level to the lighting instruments.
In modern Lighting systems, patching is controlled by the lighting console. In older systems power may pass through a hard patch panel to be assigned to a circuit. See Patch, Types of (Lighting).
Dimmers come in a variety of formats from portable dimmer Packs (4, 6, 12, or 24 channels) to touring and installed Racks (48, 72, or 96 channels).
Dimmers should be cleaned regularly to keep them free of dust.
Links to additional articles about dimmers:
Dimmer feeds--How much power is enough?
Dimmer response time
Dimmer rise time
Dimmer rise time, IGBT
Links to common (and not-so-common) dimmer types:
Dimmer, Forward Phase-Control
Dimmer, Phase Control
Dimmer, Reverse Phase-Control
Dimmer, Sine Wave
douser, a mechanical dimmer, for use with light sources than cannot be dimmed electronically
2. comparative. Less bright; less intense. Colloquial pejorative: "That stagehand is dimmer than a 25 watt bulb."
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