Looking at the neon sign transformer, I wanted a way to control the actual output. The easiest way was a variac, but I didnt have one. Sure, I could buy one, but what fun is that.
After some looking around I got this one for 30 dollars.
It was bare, but that is ok. I looked around for a container for it, and could not find one that I liked. I considered building one out of wood, but chose against that as well. One option was to use a junction box from the hardware store, but those were 70 dollars. While I was looking for one that had the proper dimensions, I came across a toolbox and had an idea. Why not just use this 😀 6 dollars and a peice of mdf and I think it might work. The people at the hardware store cut a peice of mdf the size of the “tray” that fit inside the box. I finished the rest of it with a small coping saw.
After some layout issues, I chose to just put everything on the mdf instead of cutting the toolbox. I cut the holes out by drilling the corners and again with the coping saw ripped them out. Since I was using outlet covers, accuracy isnt such a huge issue.
Next was the wiring and mounting of the components.
Then I secured the whole thing into the toolbox with a couple bolts and nuts.
The initial tests were great, I used a light to visually see the effect of changing the voltage. To test the amp meter, I hooked it up to an electric motor. All in all, the project works like a champ. The lamp just didn’t draw enough current to really move the needle.
Total cost of the project, 60 dollars.