March 07, 2009
Steampunk Lamp Insides

Some of you have requested to know how I built the steampunk lamp. It's really fairly simple.

I used a simple household dimmer (aka rheostat) in line with two light bulbs in parallel. I glued the dimmer in place and used a little duct tape to hold it in place while the glue dried. The most difficult part was shaving down the shaft of the dimmer to fit into the knob, which is actually a drawer pull. I got a snug fit and then used cyanoacrylate (Krazy Glue) to permanently fix it.

The the power cord enters the box, you can see the Underwriter's knot I used to prevent the cord being yanked out. The rest of the wiring is trivial with wire nuts.

Here is the circuit diagram for those purists. I think my symbols are right, but it's been a while since I've drawn a schematic.

Hopefully this answers your questions.

Posted by michael at March 07, 2009 09:51 AM


Re: Circuit diagram.

Does the rheostat have an internal switch?

Also, the wire from the dimmer to the lamp would come off the wiper, not the far end of the resistor. It would be difficult to miswire the thing since it only has two wires, but if you're looking to appease the purists...

Posted by: Brad [] on March 8, 2009 1:24 PM

Hey thanks man, I appreciate the photo. I was trying to figure out how big of a rheostat you would need to pull down a full 120 volts and it was boggling my mind. A light switch dimmer didn't even cross my mind. I guess that's what I get for being an EE, my first thought is always to build something from scratch. Hell, I was about to go find a TRIAC. It would have gotten messy.

Posted by: the_wakeful [] on March 10, 2009 10:01 PM
Post a comment