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Old 07-08-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
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Testing a dimmer


Think I fried a dimmer switch. How do you test it? Tried putting my VOM meter and working it but nothing happened even though I tried that on a known good dimmer.
They are the standard switch variety, moving the lever to the desired position for brightness.
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:20 AM   #2
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Wire it in and see if it still dims. I've noticed whenever a dimmer gets blown the dimming portion stops working and it basically turns into a regular on/off switch. Don't ask how I found that out, and managed to confirm it a few times.
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:13 PM   #3
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Tried that


Was hoping there was a way to test it other than installation - did that and nothing, removed the dimmer and put in a regular switch and presto! Let there be light. Guess I've got a bummer but hate to toss anything if there is the slightest possibility it may work!
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Old 07-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #4
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With clip leads, put the dimmer in series with 120 vac and a known good 100 w incand. bulb.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:11 PM   #5
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Switch works. Dimmer doesn't. Test done. Dimmer is bad.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Switch works. Dimmer doesn't. Test done. Dimmer is bad.
Almost certainly, yes. . .

But to remove that last 1% of doubt I'd do the clip lead thing, unless doing the clip lead thing is
costly, inconvenient, potentially harmful to a working dimmer, or
dangerous out of proportion to what the OP will learn by it.

It's a probability thang' - there are many ways for a dimmer not to work or seem to not work, and only one way for it to work.

You wouldn't believe how many events of this type
http://www.google.com/products/catal...CAgQ8wIwADgA#p
I have seen.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 07-08-2010 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
With clip leads, put the dimmer in series with 120 vac and a known good 100 w incand. bulb.
Isn't that what happens when you install it as a switch? It's in series with the fixture.
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:40 PM   #8
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Thought so


Was afraid that the regular switch working was a clue - thanks guys
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Isn't that what happens when you install it as a switch? It's in series with the fixture.
Assuming all the stuff in the wall works and is not intermittent and nothing else is happening, yes.

With a very simple and very visible series circuit with a minimum number of connections you pretty much know what you're dealing with.

If it doesn't work in the simple circuit the dimmer is bad, beyond a reasonable doubt. If it does work in the series circuit but not in the wall there are other things going on.

And sometimes the dimmer is fried, or not, or intermittent, and there are also problems, perhaps intermittent, in the wall wiring.
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