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Lighting Question

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  • Lighting Question

    Everyone says that they have lights on and then they go off of a red light switches to a spot light. How do you do this, what equipment will I need. IN all of my rooms I just have one set of lights (usually flashlights, im cheap), but I'd like to get more strobes and spot lights involved. How do you guys switch lighting?
    Mr. Horror
    The Eighth Floor of Hell

  • #2
    Lights are normally switched with a control box of some kind. They are expensive These guys I have dealt with in the past and the forums on their site are excellent for teaching you the ropes. On the cheap side ( a man after my own heart) I have used to great effect the remotes for christmas lights, they cost about $20 to$25 or so and they have two parts one piece has two outlets in it and plugs in whatever you plug into the outlets can be turned on or off by a remote control (much like the one on most car keychains) the good ones have an A and a B labeled outlet and buttons to match. With those you can have an actor control what lights come on and when. You have to be a bit creative in their use but they can make for great effects.
    The christmas tree extender cords (with a button or switch in the middle) are also useful with creativity but limited in the fact that they will only turn lights on or off.
    An oldie but a goodie is to take a security light fixture with a motion sensor and screw into the sockets the things that turn light sockets into outlets (Home depot and Lowes both carry them) then when the sensor is triggered by your guests it will turn on anything you like, Lights, tape player, Back massager (the loud thumpy kind).
    thats a decent amount of the low cost low tech stuff I know without needing a specific effect.
    Good luck in your search
    Allen H


    • #3

      It's called a realy, usually has a normally closed side and a normally open side, put power to it and BAM the two switch. They cost about five dollars at radio shack, with the plugs and everything else should be about 20. Very easy, very cheap.


      • #4
        Old Furnace heating and cooling fan relay

        Honeywell (or others) they are made mounted on a 4 by 4 galvenised plate that screws right to a 4 by 4 electrical box. There is a 24 volt transformer looking at you with exposed low voltage connections, the 120 volt connections are the wires out of it's back which will be protected inside the 4 by 4 box when done.
        Supplying the 120 volts can be switched and would be on. It has those normally open and normally closed wires, one common wire supplys the 120 volts to these. A mere 24 volts does the switching back and forth making it need only a small 18 gauge bell wire of even a phone type wire (easy to hide, quick to install) any simple switch can handle 24 volts. OR you can wire the 120 volts to come to the relay from a motion detector switch and have the low voltage control wires to the relay pre-wired to make have it happen the way that you need it when the 120 is powering the transformer, pulling in the relay.
        The normally on circuit would be powering your first light through this relay. The Motion switch detects customer traffic and powers the relay to switch from normally on to normally off, powering the other circuit which would be your other lights, maybe low lights or sound making device?
        I got scared 20 years ago when I had my refrigerator wired like this. When they opened the door, the normal kitchen lights would go off and the red light inside the frig, would go on with the sound defects.
        What scared me concerning this was when a customer told me that he was an electrician at the local nuke plant...and that he couldn't figure out how I had wired this to make it do that?
        One light is on, then it goes off and the other light is now safe is that nuke plant?