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Re: A Practical Problem in E&M

A household dimmer basically controls voltage by clipping the ac rather than
reduced the amplitude of the sine wave. An autotransformer maintain the
sinusodial wave form while reducing amplitude. The household dimmer creates
terrific spikes of voltage due to the change in waveshape. You are creating a
type of square wave rich in odd order harmonics. These spikes and harmonics are
what is causing your problem. So, to sum it up you cannot run a transformer
operated device off of a household dimmer. That is why when you but converters
for use outside the US the maximum wattage for electronic devices is a 50 watts
while a converter for heating devices can handle 1500 watts. The one for
electronic devices is a transformer while the one for heating devices using the
same type circuitry as a household dimmer.

Raymond A. Rogoway * The woods are lovely, dark and deep *
Independence High School * But I have promises to keep *
1776 Educational Park Drive * And miles to go before I sleep *
San Jose, CA 95133-1795 * And miles to go before I sleep. *

AOL rayrogoway@
Fax 408.926.6785