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Old 01-18-04, 05:46 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Rheostats

So I printed off the "how-to" guide to building your own rheostat, and went out and bought all the items I needed and made one this afternoon. BUT - at Wal-mart, they have a table top lamp dimmer that is basically a rheostat, just not marketed as such. It is under $10 (US) (like, $9.84 or something). Anyway, I was in the mood to try something new and have never done anything like electrical stuff before, so I went ahead and got what I needed, but realized when I got home that by the time I bought the electrical box, dimmer, extension cord & face plate (not essential maybe, but I agree it looks nicer), I had spent about the same as I would have spent on the ready-made one at Wal-mart. So for anyone without the time or inclination to go the "lamp dimmer" method, just wanted to let you know that Wal-mart has another option available. The only thing that sets it apart from a $30 dollar Rheostat from a petstore is that it only has one outlet, but I would guess you could plug an adapter into it so that it could accept 2 or 3 heat pads.
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Old 01-18-04, 06:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The last ones I've built were made out of a dimer and an extension cord. I used to just wire them to the heat pad but you can't do that with human heat pads. This way I just plug the heat pad into the extention cord dimmer and I can turn it up and down with out playing with the hi/med/low switch or the substrate.
Thanks for the heads up on the ready made one. I'll be looking for it next time I'm in wal-mart.
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Old 01-18-04, 06:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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What ready made one.. You must be talking about the Credenza dimmers right. I little slide dimmer built into a cord with a receptacle on one end and a plug on the other right?
I think Lutron makes those, and Home Depot and lots of places sell them...They work, but they aren't full range dimmers. If you use them below one third, they wont restart after a power outage until you manually turn them up , then back down.
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Old 01-18-04, 06:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the heads up on that Roy.
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Old 01-18-04, 07:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You're welcome.. most of the inexpensive dimmers will do that...but only at low settings.
Its easy to test for..Once you get it set for the correct temps, unplug it in and out a bunch of times, and see if it comes back on. If it doesn't its best to find out before you're out of town for the weekend, and a slight power blip leaves your animals sitting in the cold.
You'll need to either turn it up or buy a 20 dollar dimmer that says "full range dimming" The ones with the big slider on the front usually will come back on by themselves even at extremely low settings.
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Old 01-18-04, 08:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Also if you make one, it can handle alot more watts. I have blown more than my share of cheap dimmers.
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Old 01-18-04, 10:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Rheostat plans?

I'm in the midst of building some boa cages and saw this thread!!

I was planning on using wall dimmers in a surface mounted electrical box, but I guess I better read the fine print first and make sure it's a full range dimmer.

I'm really interested in this home made model, though. Where do I find these plans? It sound like a potentially useful project.

Michael
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Old 01-19-04, 12:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The ones we make are good for 600 watts, i doubt the premade ones are good for more then 150.


you can find the info on making a rheostat in the general enclosures forum at this link Rheostat - A How to. Warning Lots of Pics
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Old 01-19-04, 12:25 AM   #9 (permalink)
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you can even get 1000 Watt lighting dimmers if you plan to load them up.
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