I'm thinking of buying my first Variac. I see there are some on Amazon with varying prices. Any suggestions? (I'm in the USA).
i got a “vintage” genrad variac on craigslist, 40 bucks. superb quality. can’t imagine that a modern import would be as reliable.
nope. fully functional finished unit. built like a tank. my understanding is that if the variac is rated for more than the mains fuse on your amp, you are safe. example, 3 amp fuse on amp, 5 amp variac is adequate.Assume that is the uncased, uncorded, unmetetered salvage variety. The cased, cabled, and metered ones are getting a lot more expensive!!
Also... I would welcome feedback from the TPG experts on my understanding that if you are using a variac to RUN an amp... a 10 amp model might be warranted... and in fact, a bucking transformer like the brownbox or amp maniac would be better.
Conversely, if your using a variac on your workbench... a 5 or even 2.5 amp model is probably adequate b/c you won’t bring the amp up to full power under those conditions anyway.... it’s just warming the amp up for testing purposes. And this is really the intended/ideal use of a variac.
have I interpreted what I have been reading accurately? What did I miss?
i got a “vintage” genrad variac ... can’t imagine that a modern import would be as reliable.
Genrad = General Radio = the company that coined the trade name "Variac" now used in the same way as "Kleenex" or "Xerox."nope. fully functional finished unit. built like a tank. ...
indeed. it’s one impressive piece of equipment. 40 bucks.
+1For such applications, I find my light bulb limiter far superior to my variac.
I rarely use the variac except to correct for low/ high line voltages or to simulate "vintage" power. Get a line meter that displays V and A to adjust the line and also monitor the current. Pretty soon you get a feel for a correctly operating amp by watching the current during power on-standby-idle.For such applications, I find my light bulb limiter far superior to my variac.