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RC4 Knowledge Base

Multiple Voltages, Just One Wireless Dimmer!

I. Low voltage batteries, called cells, can be connected in series to produce larger voltages. This is how most battery packs work, and it’s what is happening in the battery compartment of most battery-powered consumer electronics and toys.

A. Access to multiple voltages is easily accomplished by adapting a simple battery holder (sometimes called a clip or case)

B. Soldering wires at the tap pointTap pointA tap or tapping point is the physical place where a connection is made between the end terminals of an inductor, resistor, or some other component.  A center-tap transformer places a physical wire, or tap, in the middle of one or both coils that are wrapped around an iron core.
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s between cells provides a range of different voltages

C. Any RC4 dimmer in any RC4 product family can control a load at a different voltage than the dimmer itself is powered by

1. This technique enables users to power the RC4 dimmer as well as a lower voltage device, like a dollar store flicker candle or a small servo motor

2. A resistor is not required to lower voltage (and using a resistor is NOT recommended)

D. RC4 dimming happens on the negative side: the dimmer electronics are on the negative side, not the positive side

1.The negative side of the battery pack goes to the negative side of the dimmer

2. One of the positive voltages is used to power the dimmer (usually the highest voltage available, not more than 35VDC)

3. The other positive connections, at different voltages, can be used for loads that operate at those voltages

4. Loads that operate at the same voltage as the dimmer can be directly connected to the dimmer output + terminals

II. Powering an RC4Magic device using eight 1.5 volt batteries in a standard battery holder and powering a range of loads that require different voltages:

A. Put the batteries in the battery holder

B. Connect four tap wires to the connections between cells in the holder

1. Attach a wire at 3V (between the second and third cells)

2. Attach a wire at 6V (between the 4th and 5th cells)

3. Attach a wire at 9V (between the 6th and 7th cells)

4. Attach a wire at 12V (the end of an 8-cell holder)

C. Attach the 12V wire to the RC4 dimmer power input + terminal

D. In this example, the 6V tap is attached to a small servo motor

E. In this example, the 3V tap is attached to a dollar store flicker candle (this item is normally powered by a pair of 1.5V coin cells)

F. More information can be found in this voltage diagram 

G. Two channels of 12V LED tape were added

1. This is directly connected to the dimmer output terminals because the dimmer is being operated at 12V in this example

H. Use the DMX console to test the dimmers and the devices they are controlling

NOTE: Alkaline AA and AAA batteries provide 1.5V each.  Note that rechargeable NiMH batteries provide only 1.2V per cell.  This means you can create a 12V battery with 8 alkaline cells, but it takes 10 cells if you use rechargeable cells.