Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

We have served over 900 Million Watts to date.


Table of Contents

  1. How do I increase lamp life ?
  2. Where can I find the TEC8112 dimmers in use ?
  3. Why don't we advertise ?
  4. Who is Ash-Stevenson ?
  5. What is Static voltage suppression ?
  6. What is the difference TRIAC'S vs. SSR Blocks ?
  7. How can the Dimmer power up to a given preset ?
  8. Approvals - Electrical
  9. Fire Alarm Interfaces
  10. Maintenance / Cleaner Override

How do I increase lamp life ?

Lamp life is dependent on lamp filament design and operating voltage. When a lamp bulb is subjected to voltage the filament heats up creating light. The brightness of the filament is controlled by the amount of voltage applied. The more voltage applied the brighter it gets, but this can also reduce lamp life when the voltage applied exceeds the design voltage i.e. 115v a.c. Some bulbs are termed long life ( i.e. 130-135v a.c. filament design voltage). Yes these bulbs do last longer because the design voltage is 135v ac and then the power company only supplies 115v a.c. The reduction of voltage of 20v a.c. (or approx. 15%) is enough for one to see (experience) a longer lasting bulb.

The reason that lamps have a definite life is that the filaments will crystallize (age) over a given period of time. Every hour a bulb is subjected to operating voltage it gives off light and the filament ages. This aging, is the filament becoming "very brittle" now and any sharp or harsh environment change will break the filament. This harsh change takes the form of turning the lamp on or off. If you, as many have, experienced hearing a ("phling"," ping") during the last seconds of a bulbs life, when you go to turn on a lamp and you hear ("phling") and maybe a little "flash" of light, then the bulb is dead.

In order to get increased lamp life we must slow filament aging (crystallization), and how we go about doing this is to eliminate the harsh changes that a filament goes through. Cold inrush surge current destroys the filament when it becomes to brittle, this is done when the bulb is turned on from a cold state. A brittle filament sees this sudden application of voltage as a shock to the brittle filament. The torodial filter choke provides the necessary filtering to remove the RF component present when controlling voltage in this manner, but it also provides the necessary function of reducing the filament hum vibrations at the lamp source which help improve lamp life.

We at Ash-Stevenson Inc. have had great success at controlling this sudden change, by controlling the start up with a slow turn on of the bulbs, also limiting the maximum voltage applied and last but not least, reducing (trapping) filament hum (vibrations) induced into the various filament designs. This combination allows one to increase bulb life from say 3 months to 3 years, as we proved to ourselves, dramatic enough for anyone. The TEC8112 Series dimmers achieve this end result, maintenance costs drop significantly, partial reduction of energy consumption, the product starts to pay for itself in approximately 18 months, and the expected life of the product is approaching 20 years. This is another reason Ash-Stevenson is proud to provide a customer warranty period of FIVE years.

We have had your interest at heart and nobody ever really realized it unless they were able to compare cost savings over a given period of time. The savings are start to be returned the second year. The reduction maintenance costs is tremendous when you start to add up:

Energy savings over the course of the year.

Lamp replacement costs.

Maintenance labor costs.

The company began manufacturing dimmers early in 1973 and a lot of those dimmers are still in service today. We have improved the dimmers over the course of the last ten years and the newer dimmers could last much longer than this.

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Where can I find the TEC8112 dimmers in use ? North America, South America, Europe & Asia

Theatres (movie houses) across North America, Holiday Inns, Board Rooms, Restaurants, Museums, Art Galleries, Science Centers and many more.

Famous Players Theatres, Rocca Theatres, Ontario Theatres, Odeon Theatres, Odeon Cineplex Theatres, Plitt Theatres, United Artists Theatres

These are just some of our customers that come to mind, I apologize if I left some of you out (this is what happens when you get old) Some of you will remember me by name (Tony Lautenbach) I trust we shall meet again. Ash-Stevenson as it now called after the merger two years ago.

Knock Knock who's out there....

Oh by the way, you may run across some copies of our dimmer out there, too bad they can't put a five year warranty on their product. I attribute that to just poor copies, I feel good that they weren't able to glean / copy the reliability aspect of the dimmer, otherwise we might have some real competion.

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Why don't we advertise

Many of our customers are not new to this game, and we give them credit. They all have shopped around for the best price, and have gotten just that. The best price and that's all they got. We at Ash-Stevenson Inc. take pride in being able to provide our customers with a reasonable price without sacrificing quality, we could never offer a FIVE YEAR warranty with our dimmers if we didn't believe in the fact that they would last that long. Well let me tell you this, these dimmers will last 3 TIMES that long. Our dimmers manufactured in 1974 are just beginning to be replaced in 1997. We have improved on the 1974 design time and time again. We only know and predict that they will last 3 to 5 times as the early designs.

The customers that have been using our equipment for the last ten to twenty years wouldn't switch if you paid them.

We let our customers do what comes naturally, boast about " look what we have", or as many have just kept it to themselves.

It slowly gets out, and the word spreads.


Who is Ash-Stevenson ?

Ash-Stevenson Inc. was formed by the merger of a Division of McNicol Stevenson Ltd and Stanley Ash Theatrical Decorators, during the summer of 1995. Diversification into a single entity. Both companies have been in business for more than a quarter century. Manufacturing has increased dramatically over the past two years. But we have not let up on our quality control. Alex Stevenson is the President of the company and is in almost daily. He is not an unreachable person and will gladly help any of our customers.

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What is Static voltage suppression ?

Many of you have experienced a static shock when you are walking over a carpeted area. Static is built up in your body and as soon as you approach an item that is grounded, the static built up charge gets discharged through the item you are touching. A high voltage discharge in the order of 10000 to 50000 volts can damage electrical components if they are en-route to the grounding path. This grounding path can take many intricate routes and can severely damage many things.

What we have employed in our dimmer front ends, is akin to a lighting arrestor and it traps these static bursts of discharge energy and will dissipate them harmlessly to ground. Many of our competitors in the past have come and gone because they didn't anticipate damage to their electronic circuits in this fashion. We on the other hand have not only anticipated this problem, but have for many years provided protection against this type of damage.


What is the difference TRIAC'S vs. SSR Blocks ?

There is a difference, that difference is the temperature rating of each type of device. TRIAC'S are typically rated at 80 degree maximum (Celsius). SSR Blocks are rated typically 120 degree Celsius. This is why we employ both types of devices in our dimmers. The TRIAC'S are used in the lower power handling dimmers up to 3000 KW and for the 4000 KW units and up SSR blocks are used. Other than the SSR Blocks are normally three times the price of TRIAC'S. Both devices serve the same purpose.

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Integral push button controls

This refers to a set of control push buttons that are mounted on the auxiliary bump card and are accessible on the dimmer itself. Full UP/DN/P1/P2 & P3 can be selected right on the dimmer.

Power up preset select (discontinued)

Motion detector interface (discontinued)

Photo cell control - light sensor (discontinued)

Remote control stations

Up to four secondary breakers

Each dimmer regardless of size can accommodate up to four secondary circuit breakers.

The standard combinations that come with each size dimmer are as follows:

TEC8112-1.8Kw dimmer Primary 15 amp breaker no secondary breakers - load 1200 watts max.
TEC8112-2.4Kw dimmer Primary 20 amp breaker 2 - 15 amp secondary breakers load 2000 watts max
TEC8112-3.6Kw dimmer Primary 30 amp breaker 3 - 15 amp secondary breakers load 3000 watts max
TEC8112-4.8Kw dimmer Primary 40 amp breaker 4 - 15 amp secondary breakers load 4000 watts max

Should you wish to have 20 amp secondary breakers in place of 15 amp breakers, we should be notified at time of order.

The full capacity of the dimmer value for maximum rating is set by your local hydro inspection authorities and ETL Testing Labs. Generally this is set to 80% capacity of the dimmer. This is the safety margin they like to see.

Power up to a predetermined Preset level

The dimmer can be wired to (wake up/power on) to a given preset by adding a power up modification to the P1,P2,P3 or DN terminal inputs. A diagram can be found under Dropdown Menu Drawing Layouts/ Drawings / Files Miscellaneous as a PDF document.  The changes can be added by any qualified technician.

Bump override stations

This refers to a set of control push buttons that are mounted on the auxiliary bump card and are accessible on the dimmer itself. Full UP/DN/P1/P2 & P3 can be selected right on the dimmer. This card provides the bump override button as well on the dimmer.

Individual external bump override controls can be mounted in the managers office or local security station or be activated by dry contact closure from a fire alarm annunciator panel. ( 5# 18) are recommended to each (bump) override station. The fire alarm interface is recommended to be hooked up to the two terminals marked FIRE and not the bump card, this ensures that it cannot be cancelled in an emergency.

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Emergency override - Fire Alarm

This is a function of the Fire alarm annunciator and the bump override station/card. The fire building alarm annunciator will/can be directly connected to one or numerous dimmers (groups). There are provided terminations for a dry contact closure (this is a normally open relay contact that closes during a fire alarm in the annuciator panel) this then provides full control voltage overriding the current setting of the dimmer and bringing it to a full one condition as long as the fire alarm signal is given from the annunciator panel. The previous state of the dimmer setting being preserved and restored after the fire alarm is over.

The bump override fuctions much like the above with the exception that projection automation can cancel the override (just in case someone forgot to disengage the override prior to a performance) or it can be cancelled manually at any control station. This feature is usually used as a managers function to bring up the house lights for work being performed in an auditorium. This could be the cleaners switch (in a janatorial closet) for turning on the lights without having to gain access to the projection booth.

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Remote preset indicator stations

Individually mounted Ash-Stevenson # 9921 (single gang) stations are available (faceplate only) back box supplied by others. These are currently available in single gang configurations, multi gang stations are available on special order, allow 6 to 8 weeks lead time.

Approvals - ETL @ CETL (CETL translates to Canadian Electrical Testing Laboratories)

Our equipment carries the ETL certification recognized all over North America and some other countries. ETL is part of the Inchcape testing group recognized in most major countries around the world. We don't say our product is approved in all countries, but carring the ETL seal of approval weighs heavily in our favor for getting approvals world wide with the minimum of fuss. So far special approvals have not been nessesary for places in South America, Europe & Asia. Our 240 V AC version has performed very well even in places where the power is very poor.


Copyrights 1995 Ash-Stevenson Inc. All rights reserved.

All documents and images published at this site are the property of Ash-Stevenson Inc.and/or Automatic Devices Company or any company that Ash-Stevenson Inc. represents. No part of these documents may be reproduced or transmitted in any form (other than from this original World Wide Web server for the sole purpose of inclusion in specifications), specifying Ash-Stevenson Inc. as the distributor and installer for the companies represented. For no other reason shall any of this information disseminated without the express written permission of Ash-Stevenson Inc.

This page last updated 01/07/04 by webmaster.

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