How to build 12 Volt Lamp Dimmer
Here is a 12 volt / 2 amp lamp dimmer that can be used to dim a standard 25 watt automobile brake or backup bulb by controlling the duty cycle of a astable 555 timer oscillator. When the wiper of the potentiometer is at the uppermost position, the capacitor will charge quickly through both 1K resistors and the diode, producing a short positive interval and long negative interval which dims the lamp to near darkness. When the potentiometer wiper is at the lowermost position, the capacitor will charge through both 1K resistors and the 50K potentiometer and discharge through the lower 1K resistor, producing a long positive interval and short negative interval which brightens the lamp to near full intensity. The duty cycle of the 200 Hz square wave can be varied from approximately 5% to 95%. The two circuits below illustrate connecting the lamp to either the positive or negative side of the supply.