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Thread: Trying to rig a variac switch to slowing raise the voltage on an old tube amp

  1. #16
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    They did look in parallel from the drawing.

    If someone is dumb enough to hook them in parallel then they should not be playing with electricity.

    To "reform" a cap is when you take a NOS and go to use it.

    If it is dried out and has been in use for many years, then it needs to be replaced.


    The only way to get her going again without a quick pop, is to add some KY and bring her up slow.
    So this time the Jelly is the electrolyte? S'funny mon!
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  2. #17
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    They did look in parallel from the drawing.

    If someone is dumb enough to hook them in parallel then they should not be playing with electricity.

    To "reform" a cap is when you take a NOS and go to use it.

    If it is dried out and has been in use for many years, then it needs to be replaced.


    The only way to get her going again without a quick pop, is to add some KY and bring her up slow.
    If it were in parallel, I would expect it to have looked like this:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Last edited by BobL43; 05-08-2013 at 03:17 PM.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  3. #18
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    They did look in parallel from the drawing.

    If someone is dumb enough to hook them in parallel then they should not be playing with electricity.
    The drawing definitely shows parallel, else it would have looked something like this:

    Name:  rigged variac.jpg
Views: 72
Size:  18.8 KB

    ...and there is nothing wrong with parallel. Unless dedicated circuits are used, house lights and receptacles are wired in parallel:

    black: ---gold screw---gold screw---gold screw
    white: ---whit screw---whit screw---whit screw

    As drawn and as later described with the bulbs being fully-lit, the OP had the bulb/s and the amp in parallel...and either would have still worked even if the other had been removed from the circuit. With things in series (such as decorative lighting 50+ years ago), all fixtures must be connected and working properly for any to work at all. I remember watching a guy with a used car lot in the '50s taking a step ladder out and checking bulbs one-by-one until he had found the culprit in the string so he could get them all working again.
    Last edited by leejosepho; 05-09-2013 at 04:51 AM.
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  4. #19
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    The drawing definitely shows parallel, else it would have looked something like this:

    Name:  rigged variac.jpg
Views: 72
Size:  18.8 KB

    ...and there is nothing wrong with parallel. Unless dedicated circuits are used, house lights and receptacles are wired in parallel:

    black: ---gold screw---gold screw---gold screw
    white: ---whit screw---whit screw---whit screw

    As drawn and as later described with the bulbs being fully-lit, the OP had the bulb/s and the amp in parallel...and either would have still worked even if the other had been removed from the circuit. With things in series (such as decorative lighting 50+ years ago), all fixtures must be connected and working properly for any to work at all. I remember watching a guy with a used car lot in the '50s taking a step ladder out and checking bulbs one-by-one until he had found the culprit in the string so he could get them all working again.
    In that great original sketch, I cannot see the screws on the bulb socket. If I were trying something like that, I would be using a bulb pigtail socket, and it would be in series. I guess I cannot read into other people's thoughts too well and I assume too much, but he said he WANTED it to be in series. You are right, just because he WANTED it to be in series does not mean he made it that way. Funny thread we got going on this. what a bout the red by the way, lol?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #20
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    It looks like the red is Hot, the dimmer output.

    The bulb should be on the Hot , not the neutral (for safety) that appears to be Black in the drawing.

    You can just use a old lamp for the socket.

    I would almost bet the dimmer will not work for a 60hz transformer without something getting Hot.

    And it wont be just the Lightbulb that is getting hot. But the lightbulb will provide some protection.

    Without the lightbulb in series then expect colored smoke and that nice smell that colored smoke has.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  6. #21
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    It looks like the red is Hot, the dimmer output.

    The bulb should be on the Hot , not the neutral (for safety) that appears to be Black in the drawing.

    You can just use a old lamp for the socket.

    I would almost bet the dimmer will not work for a 60hz transformer without something getting Hot.

    And it wont be just the Lightbulb that is getting hot. But the lightbulb will provide some protection.

    Without the lightbulb in series then expect colored smoke and that nice smell that colored smoke has.
    Those new electrical parts made in China, especially those "wall warts" plug in transformers smell that way brand new. I guess they pre-burn them to make them smell that way or use recycled burnt plastic parts.

    I bought a nice toy recently; the Irrigation Caddy sprinkler control. I love it, but it came with one of those smelly wall warts. I wrote a review on it at Ama zon dot com the other day
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  7. #22
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    I bought a nice toy recently; the Irrigation Caddy sprinkler control. I love it, but it came with one of those smelly wall warts. I wrote a review on it at Ama zon dot com the other day
    That smell is the Plastic and sometimes the Fish Oil used for the Transformer Insulation.


    It is nice that you take care of your Golf Cart and Caddy.

    I would provide Beer also.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  8. #23
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    That smell is the Plastic and sometimes the Fish Oil used for the Transformer Insulation.


    It is nice that you take care of your Golf Cart and Caddy.

    I would provide Beer also.
    My Caddy lives in my house and has his own IP address. His name is Pierre. When the grass needs to be cut, I tell him to mow zee lawn. Should I give him Dos Equis or Tecate, or Corona? I don't know any French beers. I do now; Google is my friend, http://www.ratebeer.com/country/france/72/
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  9. #24
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    ...Funny thread we got going on this.
    This is actually similar to one of my first-ever threads here in Terry's forums. I had shortened a piece of heating wire while installing it in the floor of a small bathroom, then learned I could no longer feed it with 120 volts. Several folks here and one or two who are no longer here then began showing me all the different ways to control the voltage to that wire so it would never get more than 70 volts. During all of that is when and where I got my basic education about series and parallel...and I ultimately learned it is a very bad idea to shorten pre-made heating wire!

    what a bout the red by the way, lol?
    You cannot draw white wire on a white background...
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  10. #25
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    This is actually similar to one of my first-ever threads here in Terry's forums. I had shortened a piece of heating wire while installing it in the floor of a small bathroom, then learned I could no longer feed it with 120 volts. Several folks here and one or two who are no longer here then began showing me all the different ways to control the voltage to that wire so it would never get more than 70 volts. During all of that is when and where I got my basic education about series and parallel...and I ultimately learned it is a very bad idea to shorten pre-made heating wire!


    You cannot draw white wire on a white background...

    I have used a roll of wire to get voltage drop, for testing. Lightbulbs are great also.

    Works good if you don't have a high power resistor available.

    LED bulbs don't work so well. Was that a LED Lightbulb. lol

    Red is not a good color to use for Neutral, Grey or Blue may have been better.

    I thought it was DC wiring for a moment.


    A fuse was not shown, but should be in line also, or you should not be playing with Dr. Watts On.
    Last edited by DonL; 05-10-2013 at 06:06 AM.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  11. #26
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    This is actually similar to one of my first-ever threads here in Terry's forums. I had shortened a piece of heating wire while installing it in the floor of a small bathroom, then learned I could no longer feed it with 120 volts. Several folks here and one or two who are no longer here then began showing me all the different ways to control the voltage to that wire so it would never get more than 70 volts. During all of that is when and where I got my basic education about series and parallel...and I ultimately learned it is a very bad idea to shorten pre-made heating wire!


    You cannot draw white wire on a white background...
    Very true, you got me there. He should have wrapped it with white jpeg tape or put in a darker background. I thought everybody has white jpeg tape.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  12. #27
    DIY scratch-pad engineer leejosepho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    He should have wrapped it with white jpeg tape... I thought everybody has white jpeg tape.
    Best chuckle I have had in a while!
    "Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people." --Eleanor Roosevelt

  13. #28
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leejosepho View Post
    Best chuckle I have had in a while!

    Bob has all of the cool tools.

    I wonder why he does not share ?

    I want some jpeg and mpeg tape also.


    I wonder if BOB has it in Pink ?
    Last edited by DonL; 05-11-2013 at 01:49 PM.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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  14. #29
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonL View Post
    Bob has all of the cool tools.

    I wonder why he does not share ?

    I want some jpeg and mpeg tape also.


    I wonder if BOB has it in Pink ?
    My mpeg tape worked great until I bought a new PC with Windows 8. All of a sudden, I had no CODECS to play mpegs. Yep, Windows 8 is a big improvement. I reinstalled an old (V9) of Nero to play those videos. Lots of freebies out there, and several CODEC suppliers, but I am comfy with Nero. Pink IS hot. I have some mpeg tape I would like to give her. Oh and now that you mentioned it, Cher is still hot too.

    My tool is old. No rust on it, and it works real well. Polishing it every so often keeps it nice and shiny.

    Just bought a new compression tool for coax cable fittings. Trying to get back to topic.

    Now we are WAY off topic.
    Last edited by BobL43; 05-11-2013 at 03:37 PM. Reason: I wonder why he does not share ?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  15. #30
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobL43 View Post
    Just bought a new compression tool for coax cable fittings. Trying to get back to topic.

    Now we are WAY off topic.

    I was cheap and bought a compression tool from China.

    I could not see paying 3 times more for one, used at home on occasion.

    Now connectors, I buy the good ones. I like BNC over F, but the new F type are not to bad.


    Enjoy
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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