My lights make noise! HELP

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JoshS, Nov 4, 2001.

  1. JoshS

    JoshS Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 23, 2001
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    Hi guys,
    I have a pair of wall mounted sconces(?) that are wired to a dimmer switch, when I turn the dimmer down they make a high pitched sound that annoys the poop out of me. What can I do do to make it go away?
    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.
  2. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

    Jul 2, 2001
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    I'm assuming that your sconces use standard 110V bulbs. You can try different brands or types of bulbs, but you'll likely get better results trying a different dimmer. The phase-controlled triac in dimmers chops the AC and creates harmonics of 60 Hz. Dimmers vary in the amount of filtering that they use to control electrical noise...generally you get what you pay for. As far as other alternatives, you could use a variac instead of a dimmer (big, bulky, and expensive), or have an EE friend design an external filter or an off-line adjustable switch-mode power supply (complex and expensive).
  3. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

    May 10, 1999
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    I can't help but to keep wondering...
    First off, allow me to make an assumption for the purposes of argument.
    Assumption: No lighting circuit in a home theatre will exceed 300watt load.
    A big assumption, of course, but I'm going on the notion that you can get a h*** of a lot of light out of 6 50w halogens.
    Moving right along...
    a lot of people have problems with singing filiments in their dimmed lamps in their home theaters. The best solution is to go away from SCR-type dimmers. Say, an autotransformer (variac) or even resistive (gack!) dimmer.
    Many of us are familiar with the 2400 watt autotransformers - they're big, bulky, and hard to fit in even a double-gang box. Why can't we band together and try and find someone who'll make us 300w autotransformers for home-theater lighting?
    The only real problem I see with them is that for those of you with automation in the lighting, it isn't quite as easy to remotely control an autotransformer.
    Comments, anyone?
    Leo Kerr
  4. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

    Jun 28, 1999
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    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    I have been using a $4 110v dimmer knob from Wal-Mart for about 3 years in my living room/HT and I've never had any problems with audible noise coming from either the lights or my speakers. The knob is wired to a ceiling-mounted fixture holding a 40W and a 60W bulb.
    My DVD Collection Casa del Clint

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