Question about light dimmers... - Gearspace.com
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Question about light dimmers...
Old 12th November 2009
Gear Maniac
adamlloyd's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Question about light dimmers...

Hey guys, I have a question about light dimmers.

I keep reading about how they can "contaminate the electricity" and how that can introduce noise into your gear.

Does this just refer to dimmer switches in the wall, in place of light switches? I have a lamp that I use a portable dimmer switch with, you plug it into the outlet (2 prong, no ground) and plug the lamp cord into it...Are these also known to be problematic in the same way?

Also, does using true online double-conversion UPS electricity to power gear prevent any noise from dimmers from hitting the gear? Or does the noise tend to "travel through the air"? I've read conflicting stuff about this topic.

I'd like to understand the issue a little better. Thanks!
Old 12th November 2009
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Light dimmers using thyristors, triacs and various high frequency switching transistors 'chop' the mains voltage (current).
Since the devices switch sharply you get distortion of the mains and produce EM radiation often up to many KHz.
If a unit is in a metalic case and has effective filters on input and output then this may not radiate or conduct too badly. Professional types used for theatres etc should be OK. The cheap dimmers you get in your DIY store are not in this catagory, they are horrible.
Matt S
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
Lives for gear
🎧 15 years
Lutron manufactures a line of quiet commercial/residential dimmers, Leprecon for theatrical, but a variac is best. Handing out sunglasses is cheaper than any of these options. I'd be surprised if the UPS cleaned up the trash on the neutral. JR
Old 12th November 2009 | Show parent
Gear Maniac
🎧 15 years
If you're currently building a room I suggest that you simply install three normal light switches:

Circuit 1: operates a few select (well marked!) wall outlets into which you can connect any appropriate desk or floor lamps.

Circuit 2: operates ceiling mounted "vibe" lights. Fixtures and wattage selected to provide comfortable mid level ambient lighting.

Circuit 3: operates ceiling mounted work lights. Bright overhead fixtures that clearly illuminate the whole room. This is what you'd use during session setup or clean up.

By judicious combination of the three lighting levels you can accommodate most any mood required. With no dimmer noise, and very low expense. Also allows you to use efficient CF bulbs, which normally can't be used with a dimmer.

I realize you may be retrofitting, or otherwise not in a position to install or change existing wiring circuits-- if so, sorry!
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