Squeeze Your Quasars With This One Cool Trick

An ode to the Harbor Freight Router Speed Control

Lighting dimmers. Everyone needs a few in their kit. You can buy ’em pre-made and robust, or you can DIY them if you are handy. There are even mini in-line dimmers for use in practical fixtures (no cord!). But my favorite solution by far is the lowly Harbor Freight Router Speed Control. At just $20 from your local cheap tool supply, this thing is a no-brainer.

For starters, it’s got an on/off switch. This is very handy for lights that have no power switch, like the incredible Source Four leko, or those fancy new Quasar Science LED tubes that the kids are talking about. The other side of the power switch is a variable dimmer setting, which gives you between roughly 20%-100% of dimming control. It’ll handle up to 1000w, is rated for 15 amps, and has a fuse in case you manage to screw something up.

The only real downside that I have found with these units is that when dimming it may emit a small buzzing noise under high load. Generally this occurs when dimming lights over 650 watts or so. For instance, I get a low buzz when dimming 750w lekos, and it grows a little louder with 1000w heads. But the buzz level at 750w is not at all objectionable for sound recording as long as you’re not right on top of the mic with it…to be honest, most rooms are louder than the noise it emits under medium loads. For smaller loads like Quasar tubes and small tungsten fixtures, you won’t get any buzz at all.

So pick up a few of these for your kit. And if you buy this weekend, use one of the Harbor Freight discount codes below to save a few bucks.

20% off one item 5/27-5/28 – 88740979
25% off one item 5/29 – 88740589

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Matthew Jeppsen - DP Notes

Matt Jeppsen is a working DP with over a decade of experience in commercials, music videos, and documentary films. You can view Matt’s cinematography reel and contact info at www.mattjeppsen.com and editorial ethics statement at provideocoalition.com/ethics-statement

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3 Comments on "Squeeze Your Quasars With This One Cool Trick"

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Steven Wetrich
Steven Wetrich

These work great with Lekos, but I wouldn’t recommend the Speed Routers for Quasars. I had some major issues where it visually fluctuates quite a bit. Cheap household dimmers were causing the same issue. I contacted Quasar about it and they recommended Lutron’s CFL / LED dimmer which is meant for putting in a wall, so you’ll need to buy a casing for it and do some wiring.

Matt Jeppsen
Matt Jeppsen

That’s odd, because they’ve been working great for me.

Steven Wetrich
Steven Wetrich

I have the switch, but Quasar themselves have said they don’t like being dimmed by most hand dimmers.

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