It was time to put my lights on a voltage diet, so I came up with a very simple method. I would add a
dimmer to the lighting scheme. I housed the dimmer in
an “approved” water-tight enclosure, and was able to
take the voltage down by 10 %. The first generation of
“lights on a diet” was born.
It has been a few years now, and I have found that
my voltage diet works very well. I seldom lose more than
one bulb a year.
This year, I decided to carry my idea indoors. I
needed some sort of container that would blend in with
my indoor decorations. I decided to fabricate one using a
recycled aluminum can.
I started by scoring a line (with a marker) around the
circumference of a can one half inch above the height of
the dimmer I was using (Figure 1). Using a hack saw and
a pair of metal snips, I reduced the can size appropriately
(Figure 2). When performing this task and others like it,
always use gloves and eye protection! Metal shards can
cut skin and do eye damage.
Once the can was cut, I took a file and removed any
sharp edges. The next step was to make a hole in the top
(dead center) to facilitate the dimmer shaft. I rounded the
“dimmer ears” to fit the can (Figure 3). I then painted the
lid and the rest of the can in a “Christmas” green. I
removed the dimmer knob and painted it red.
I made a hole for the wiring. I used a standard
Romex type connector to act as wire protection. The
hole had to be large enough to accommodate this
connector. The Romex nut secures the connector to
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December 2013 43