DIY Doctor

Beginner question on wiring a lamp switch

Postby JohnDalvaccio » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:55 pm

Forgive my ignorance, but I'm wiring a dimmer switch on a lamp, so I have three pieces: the light socket, the power wire and plug, and the switch itself. I bought the parts very carefully, and according to the specs, they should all work together. The power wire and the socket came with clearly marked wires. I connected them and tried them out, and I got light. My question is where do I put the switch/how do I arrange the wiring to get the switch to work? Part of the problem is that the switch came with two identical black wires on it. I tried wiring all three together (socket, switch, and power), and when I connected, I got a spark and a pop from the light socket. I thought maybe I'd shorted it out, but when I removed the switch and tested the light again, it still works fine with just the socket on the power wire.
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Postby chriscba » Sat Jun 20, 2020 9:16 pm

By the look of thing you don’t know what your doing, get a competent person to look at it
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Postby JohnDalvaccio » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:56 pm

That's why I'm asking for help. It's not complicated. I'm just asking for a simple explanation of how a switch gets placed in the wiring of a lamp.
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Postby chriscba » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:54 pm

Can you upload a picture of the switch,
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Postby Mr White » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:07 pm

Any switch must go in series with the lamp, if it goes in parallel it will create a short circuit, which usually ends with a bang. (Maybe a blue flash too.)

The first question should be what type of lamp as not all lamps can be dimmed, the next question is what type of dimmer, as not all dimmers can dim all lamps.

Pictures that are clear are always welcome. Pictures of the item in question are even better.
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Postby JohnDalvaccio » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:23 am

Here are the lamp and the switch. I read the specs carefully, and unless I've misunderstood, they should be compatible.
Attachments
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20200515_184628.jpg (114.25 KiB) Viewed 168 times
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Postby Mr White » Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:44 am

That is a halogen lamp, what voltage and wattage is it?
What is the rating of that dimmer?

You have chosen the 2nd worst combination you can have.

In short plain English.

Halogen lamps must get very hot to work properly, using a dimmer on them stops them getting up to temperature. (You will shorten their life)

Also as you turn them on they have a huge inrush of current (The easiest similarity I can think of is flushing the toilet, first no water, flush, loads of water) This inrush can fry a dimmer switch. (Not too bad with one lamp but it can and does happen)

As halogen lamps do get very hot this makes them dangerous, you have no fitting for that lamp, you can't just "hang it" or "let it lie down" as even when being dimmed they still get very hot. (Not as hot as they should be)

You will also need suitable connectors and a plugtop and suitable cable to connect everything. (Not to mention a fitting for that lamp)

What exactly is it you are trying to achieve?


Useless facts:

1) The "bulb" of the lamp you have is NOT ordinary glass, it is quartz, unlike glass, quartz will not melt at the high temperature that lamp needs to get to.

2) Halogen lamps are used enclosed so that when they explode it is contained within the fitting. It does not happen often, but when it does, you don't want to be standing next to one.
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Postby JohnDalvaccio » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:56 pm

Okay, so it sounds like I need to scrap my plans or make some big changes. I was trying to build a simple lamp like I did once when I was a kid years ago. It seemed so simple back then. I got a very interesting piece of wood that I wanted to use as a base, and I was trying to find parts that would fit with the shape of it. I did read the specs, and everything seemed to match up. The info on the light socket said it was dimmable, and the dimmer switch specs said it would work with a range well beyond the wattage of the light, but certainly I missed/was unaware of some crucial info. Thanks for the responses.
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Postby chriscba » Mon Jun 22, 2020 6:32 pm

Leave the mains alone, built something with a battery
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