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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have no idea how a 110 volt AC dimmer switch works so I ask this: Can I use a 110 volt dimmer light switch to regulate a 12 volt current that is 3 to 6 amps?
 

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Yes and No .. First the transformer for this needs to be a dimming transformer. And it will only work for some types of electronic units.
 

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I have no idea how a 110 volt AC dimmer switch works so I ask this: Can I use a 110 volt dimmer light switch to regulate a 12 volt
AC?
current that is 3 to 6 amps
to a resistive or lamp load?

You're controlling applied voltage rather than regulating current.
The control range will be narrower, at least. You lose 1v or so in the Triac, which isn't noticed in a 120v circuit.
A 600w dimmer may be limited by the heat dissipation or the current rating (600/120 = 5A) of the Triac.
Plus, I think the triggering circuit is looking for 120v. When the control is full on with 12vac applied, you may only get a 10% duty cycle.

http://www.learnabout-electronics.org/images/triacs-diacs02.gif

This circuit ^ runs on 230vac [50 Hz?] but for 120vac 60 Hz you only need to change one or two component values.
If you go inside the dimmer and change the value of R you might get it to sort of work at 12vac.
 

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So what we are saying is that you need a dimming transformer and a dimmer made to work with this setup. I use these in my kitchen. Touch and hold the refrigerator and the low voltage Xenon under cabinet lights dim.
 

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You should use a Variac instead of a dimmer. Plug the low voltage transformer into the output of the variac. A variac is not an electronic device, it's purely electrical. All it is, is a variable transformer. Some can also boost the line voltage as well as lower it.

FW
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
dimmer switch for 12 volt

Thanks all. Would it make a difference in any of these answers if I put the dimmer switch between a 12 volt battery and a 12 variable speed drill motor?
 

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Thanks.
I'll invest in one made for 12 volts DC.
You could cannibalize a discarded variable speed drill, but this speed control module might be the first thing to fail (next to the battery pack).
The manuf. may want a stiff price for a replacement module.
 

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