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A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?

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Todd Terry
A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 20, 2014 at 3:07:33 pm

This is so totally NOT a "Business" or "Marketing" question at all... not even in the most remote sense.

However, I know my friends in this particular forum have very wide and varied backgrounds, and I'll bet a dollar that someone in here knows...

I (think) I know a fair bit about electricity, although some would say just enough to be dangerous...

So, a rheostat, a plain ol' six-dollar dimmer from Home Depot... does that work by varying voltage? Or something else?

Here's the thing... every year we cook up a bunch of crazy things at my house to scare Trick-or-Treaters on Halloween (the best victims are teenage girls who are a little too old to be doing it in the first place). I call it the Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration. I really should trademark that.

ANYwho... this year I have some new 12v high-torque DC motors to run some of my spooky props. They will actually run (so the specs say) at 12v or at 5v (providing they have at least 5amp power sources)... running at certain speeds at 12v, and a much slower speeds at 5v.

These are the motors I have...
http://www.frightprops.com/electric-motors-1/motors/dual-speed-high-torque-...

I don't have a handy 5v source though, the entire Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration system is all 12v, and I'd like to keep it that way, just for simplicity sake. Can I just use a rheostat to slow one of these motors? It seems that I could, but didn't want to damage a brand new motor. Nor do I want to buy the fairly expensive controllers which are actually made for the motors.

I'm in the middle of rebuilding the Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration Command Console which remotely runs everything from my living room right now, and would love for this to be as easy as popping a dimmer on the board. Something tells me it's not nearly that simple, but I'm willing to risk showing my ignorance and asking.

Any thoughts?

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:14:00 pm

A potentiometer can be used s a rheostat if you just leave one leg disconnected.

I'd worry though that the resistance you add, plus the draw from the torque on the motors, will potentially burn out your wiring or at the least, damage your power supply. Myself, I'd go to the Sally, where they sell used wall warts for a few pennies, and pick out an appropriate one or two for the use. Or go to radio Shack, where they have wall warts with variable output from 2.5 up to 12 volts.


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Todd Terry
Re: A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:39:36 pm
Last Edited By Todd Terry on Oct 20, 2014 at 6:40:37 pm

[Mark Suszko] " Or go to radio Shack, where they have wall warts with variable output from 2.5 up to 12 volts."

Well I have a box full of those... I'll dig 'em out and give them a look, but vast majority of the "wall wart" type transformers are well below the 5amps that these motors draw.

I'm trying to keep all of my wiring simple, though... and my control center, the Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration Command Console is built in with dedicated 12v. It MIGHT be that running the motor at 12v on its "slow" speed will be slow enough for the particular effect that one is doing (the other motors can run on high speed). Or I could just pop the $25 for the "real" speed controller for this motor, but I'm trying to be very stingy at this point... I've spent a boatload of unnecessary money on this year's Frightober Spooktacular Scare-a-bration (I'm determined for that name to catch on).

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rich Rubasch
Re: A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 21, 2014 at 4:24:56 pm

There are "dimmers" that are made for motor control. We accidentally bought a couple of these for our 1k lights, but in fact they are for motors. I hooked them up to a ceiling fan and they controlled the speed perfectly. So the curve is different between motor speed control and light dim control. On the lights it stays bright most of the way then just after the middle position it dims the light to about 30% then finally it just falls off altogether.

They were pretty cheap....like $25 or so online.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Nick Griffin
Re: A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:20:41 pm

IF, I remember my basic electronics, a simple $5 dimmer doesn't cut the voltage, it just shaves off the waveform, thereby reducing the energy that flows to the light. I also believe that Mark is right and that you risk damaging the wiring and/or motors.

Also the $5 dimmer tends to (or at least used to) put out a lot of electronic hash, making them highly UN-desirable anywhere that sound is involved. If you've ever been into a recording studio you've probably noticed the huge dimmers on the wall. They're a big step up in price and quality because they don't put out the hash.


[Todd Terry] "the best victims are teenage girls who are a little too old to be doing it in the first place"

Really, Todd? Really? Your jollies come from scaring teenage girls? Given our similar age, if you weren't already married you could ask them out on a date. That would REALLY scare them, and they'd NEVER come back.


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Todd Terry
Re: A totally non-biz question... Rheostats, anyone?
on Oct 23, 2014 at 9:48:28 pm

Yeah I think you're right... turns out though I believe I might be able to get away with full juice on the motor. If not, I'll pop the $25 for the real controller for it. I was trying to be cheap... I mean "fiscally responsible."



[Nick Griffin] "if you weren't already married you could ask them out on a date. That would REALLY scare them"

Now now, despite the fact that I prefer older more mature gals, all women love me. Nick has only talked with me on line and on the phone, and has no idea how charming I am in person. Of course, it's all a fa├žade, but I'm genuinely artificial about it (and deeply superficial).

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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