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Here’s one for you — I recently got a Brinkmann Electric Smoker, which does not have an inline temperature control. It’s set at a constant 250 degrees, with a 1500 watt heating element that has a grounded three-prong plug that requires a 120 volt outlet. I’d like to use a plug-in dimmer switch to control the heat of the smoker, because different meats could use a slightly lower cooking temperature (say, 210 degs rather than 250). I see from an online search that such switches are available, but they’re obviously intended for use in lamps. I’m assuming that they might not be sufficiently heavy-duty to be used by the grounded heating element — is that a correct assumption? If so, how might I construct something like the following? http://www.cmaa.org/member/ideafair/ideafair01/cat5c.html What components should I get, and how should I wire it? I know this is a somewhat unusual query, but I hope you don’t mind answering it.
And got the following answer:
In the spirit of answering the question, how to make the device pictured. You will need: 1 weatherproof electrical box 2 weatherproof box connectors 1 dimmer (the picture shows a slide dimmer, rotary would work as well) 1 dimmer cover (this is usually included with the dimmer) 4 yellow wire nuts 1 short 3-wire extension cord (12/3) - you could buy pieces to put this part together, but it will be cheaper to by the cord, even if you have to get a 25' All of the parts should be available at a home improvement store. If you were to use this with your cooker, the dimmer needs to be rated for at least 1500 watts. That may be hard to find. Cut the cord about 18" from each end (you could leave either end longer if desired, the picture appears to show about 18") Cut another piece of the cord about 6" and set aside. Insert each of the cut ends into one of the box connectors about 6". Cut 3" of the outer jacket off of each and strip 1/2" of the insulation from each wire. Install the connectors into the box, one in each end. Connect the white wires together with one of the wire nuts. Remove the green wire from the 6" piece of cord and strip 1/2" of insulation from each end. Connect one end of this piece and the two green wires from the cord with another wire nut. Connect each of the black wires from the dimmer to one of the wires from the cord. Doesn't matter which of the wires goes to which end of the cord. Connect the end of the 6" piece of green wire to the grounding screw on the dimmer. Install the dimmer in the box and install the cover. Now, I think this had been a total waste of time, other than you now have a nice dimmer you can use for a light sometime. Your cooker is designed for 120V. The dimmer works by reducing the voltage going to the appliance (usually a light). If you try to use the cooker on the dimmer, it probably will not heat properly. It may even burn out the heating elements. If you watch an electric oven, you will note that it controls the temperature by turning the element on and off as needed. Your cooker should be the same way. Perhaps there is a kit you can buy to achieve the same result?