Well, I finally got around to trying out the wiring diagram I sent a while
back. I'm sorry that it didn't come out too good(actually, it was a mess
:)). IT WORKS! I don't know if its is something to get that excited over,
but I'm happy, sort of.
I'm not going to try to make another drawing, so here goes a description.
I used a 2 bulb magnetic ballast, two yellow wires jumpered to two sockets,
four(2 blue, 2 red) to the other two. I think that this is a standard
configuration. Anyhow, the dimmer switch is run in parallel with a bulb, one
wire from the dimmer switch to one of the yellow wires, the other wire from
the dimmer to one of the blue or red wires.
When the dimmer is off, the bulb acts as normal. When the dimmer is
turned on, the bulb dims smoothly with no noticable flicker or other side
effect. The biggest problem is that it only dims one bulb. The other bulb
actually got a bit brighter and stopped its occasional flickering. I'm using
a cheap ballast from a shoplight ($8 for light and bulbs). In order to dim
both bulbs I would guess that one would need two dimmers. I don't see how
this can hurt ballast, since the ballast doesn't care where it output is
being used. As for the bulbs, I don't have the foggiest idea, though my
guess would be that it shouldn't hurt them since you can by electronic
ballasts that are made to dim.
This isn't a perfect solution, though it is pretty cheap ( I like that
:)). I can't make any long term statements about it, and I won't in the
future since I have no need for it. I'm just curious.