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Retro-Style Dim Bulb Tester

Discussion in 'Solid State' started by Brivan, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    This is my newly-completed retro-style dim bulb tester. Made from an old decade resistance box, it has three new retro-style 60-watt bulbs, sockets and switches and new cloth-covered cords. The top is made from 1/4-inch-thick black HDPE. Shown off; two bulbs on with a 60-watt load; and three bulbs on with a 60-watt load.
    Dim Bulb Tester (Small).jpg
    Dim Bulb Tester - Two Bulbs On (Small).jpg Dim Bulb Tester - Three Bulbs On (Small).jpg
     
    Pio1980, amr2, restorer-john and 8 others like this.

     

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  2. 2N697

    2N697 New Member

    Messages:
    39
    Location:
    SW Missouri
    that looks great- really nice work. Interesting cable; curious if that is old or new wiring? HGTV would call it Retro-Industrial Farmhouse style:D
     
  3. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thanks! It's new wiring - a bit large and cumbersome for my liking, but I won't have to worry about any overloads. It's a fiber weave over a standard vinyl jacket. Yeah, retro-industrial-farmhouse sounds about right!
     
  4. Route 66

    Route 66 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Burbank
    That's one cool looking device!

    Stupid question I guess, but can I ask what a dim bulb tester is used for?
     
  5. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thanks! Don't feel bad - I had to ask that same question on AK about a month ago. It's used when servicing equipment (stereo receivers, in my case) that might have the potential to do internal damage if things like final output transistors or heavier current-handling devices are shorted. If the bulb(s) stay bright for longer than a maybe a second, you know there's a heavy current draw plugged into the tester (and there shouldn't be) and you can power down - hopefully before any damage is done. All three bulbs are 60 watts, so you start off with just one bulb switched on, then two, then all three. This gives you ability to apply power gradually, while monitoring for bulb brightness. The 60-watt bulbs were just a guess, but they should work okay for a fairly-wide range of receivers. If someone wants to jump in with clarifications, please do so - I'm still kind of a newbie at this!
     
    merlynski and Route 66 like this.
  6. DeeCee

    DeeCee Super Member

    Messages:
    2,744
    Location:
    Central Florida
    *WHEW!* I thought it was an IQ test that I was failing... :crazy::p
     

     

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  7. Route 66

    Route 66 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    600
    Location:
    Burbank
    Thanks for answering my question!
    I was so afraid that you were gonna come back with "it's used to test dim bulbs" and I'd be right back where I started. :rflmao:
     
  8. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Ha! That's funny!
     
  9. Watthour

    Watthour Electron Rancher - JS3600

  10. Guest125

    Guest125 Active Member

    Messages:
    353
    It would qualify as mechanical Steampunk art. Great job! Now we need the retro lava lamp version.
     
  11. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thanks! I hadn't seen that post until now. My first thought was to use electrical boxes, but I couldn't find the correct kind of faceplates for what I wanted to do. That's when I started looking for alternatives and found this old decade box that was missing some parts, but still had a good base. There were so many pieces that were unmovable due to solder globbed onto the threads that I ended up using an angle grinder with a cut-off wheel to remove them. I needed the old top plate free of debris so I could make a screw pattern for my new top plate. After that, it was Amazon to the rescue. I didn't think of using a bypass switch - not a bad idea. Considering the power issues here, I'll probably just leave whatever equipment I'm working on plugged into the DBT with all three switches turned on.
     

     

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  12. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thanks! Hmmmm.....lava lamp version you say. Interesting.....
     
    crazy eights likes this.
  13. crazy eights

    crazy eights Active Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    new york
    that looks awesome, nice work
     
  14. EngineerNate

    EngineerNate AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,941
    I think it'd be better to have the bulbs in parallel unless for some reason you were unable to source some low wattage bulbs. Three 60W bulbs in series would present as something like a 20W bulb. That's pretty darn low.

    EDIT-Read the thread. Schematic shown wasn't by the OP. Didn't realize that was posted as a question. :)
     
  15. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thank you!
     
    crazy eights likes this.
  16. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Since we're talking about building stuff, here's one from awhile back. This is a Ruben's Tube, which is a sealed, 6-foot-long, 4-inch-diameter electrical conduit fed with propane and powered by a 4-inch speaker sealed into one end. There's over 100 tiny holes hand-drilled across the top length of it. It displays actual wavelengths of sound that's inputted to the speaker. This is a 450Hz wave. I had never heard of these until I started working at the college. There was an existing tube (made from copper - sitting in the background), but it didn't work very well. This is my rebuilt version of the tube. The cool part about these is that you can play music into them and make the flame jump to the beat, but nice, standing waves like this one are difficult to see when doing that.

    Rubens Tube (New) with 450Hz Standing Wave (Small).jpg
     
    bjlefebvre, zaibatsu, maxhifi and 4 others like this.

     

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  17. crazy eights

    crazy eights Active Member

    Messages:
    154
    Location:
    new york
    double awesomeness and too cool for school, but the pertinent question here is can it roast a marshmallow at the correct frequencies?!
     
  18. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,886
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    That's got to be the nicest looking dim bulb tester I've ever seen! What do your other tools look like? My stuff is a pile of scraps by comparison.
     
  19. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    I might be able to answer that pertinent question at some point in the future - the missus wants one installed on the deck, so we can have some visual entertainment while sipping our suds. One would have to be vigilant not to drip melted marshmallow goo down into the orifices (I know that sounds dirty).
     
    Bill Ferris and crazy eights like this.
  20. Brivan

    Brivan Active Member

    Messages:
    193
    Location:
    Sioux Falls, SD
    Thanks! That's about it for cool tools - I inherited this workshop from a guy who had been here for 29 years and there wasn't much organization. But we're making progress. I like the lava lamp suggestion from an earlier post - I wonder what I could make from one of those.....
     
    crazy eights likes this.

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