Enlarger bulb/timer problems

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by EthanFrank, Dec 10, 2011.

  1. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    Hi, APUG. I'm in a bit of a pickle.

    First off, my darkroom is extremely cold. I have a space heater that I use when I'm printing, otherwise it is absolutely freezing in there. It's a concrete room beside the garage, not well equipped for Canadian winters. I have no idea whether the temperature is the cause of the following problem:

    My "IC Enlarger Timer" appears to be dead. There is a 5A fuse that is easily accessible - maybe I should start here? I'm not quite sure how I would go about that, though. I haven't used the darkroom in a bout a month, and it appears the timer was left on.

    Also, my Omega D3 bulb seems to have gone...I can hear a filament rattling inside. Seems like a pretty standard bulb, "Sylvania 221 115-125V" - I assume there isn't anything special about this bulb, and that there's nothing I need to keep in mind while replacing it?

    If anyone can offer some advice, that would be great. It's an expensive time of the year, I'd rather not have to buy a new timer.

    Cheers.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 10, 2011
  2. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    New enlarger lamps can be purchased from B&H or Adorama. Standard household lamps will not give even illumination. As to the timer, the fuse is a good place to start. If it has blown, and you need a new one, Radio Shack or even a hardware store may carry them in the specialty items. You may want to consider keeping an oil filled space heater, set on low for the times you are absent, should keep everything from freezing.
     
  3. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    Thanks, Rick. This one is in Canada so I can avoid the high shipping costs from B&H and Adorama - seems right! http://cancart.net/khbphotografix.com/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16381&category_id=266

    I've never even taken a good luck at a fuse before today, but I can hear something rattling inside the timer's fuse. I assume this is a pretty definitive sign that I need to replace it...? My apologies for the dumb question, I have little common sense when it comes to electrical repairs.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    If the safelight turns on when you turn the timer on then it probably isn't the fuse. If the safelight doesn't turn on then try plugging the safelight and enlarger into the AC wall plug - if they both turn on then the fuse should be replaced. If one or the other doesn't turn on then try replacing the bulbs as needed - then try the timer again. It is also possible the enlarger lamp cord has gone bad. Some enlargers have lamp switches on the lamp cord, at the base board or at the motor box - be sure the switch is turned on.

    If the enlarger and safelight light up on their own, and you have put in a new fuse then the conclusion is the timer has gone bad. The timer is probably 40 years old and it's demise should be expected. There are plenty of used timers available on ebay for not much money. I would stay away from the Beseler timers - reliability isn't their strong suit. The old dial GraLabs and Time-O-Lites are indestructable. If you are going to buy a new timer then you may as well buy an f-stop model - they are cheaper than most new digital timers.
     
  5. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    To try everything separately was my first thought. The safelight turns on when plugged into the wall, but not the timer (red status light does not turn on, won't turn on safelight etc), and the enlarger won't work when plugged into the wall either. Seemed like a strange coincidence for both the enlarger bulb and timer fuse to go at once, though! But that must be what happened.

    The switch on the enlarger was certainly set to ON (although I flicked it back and forth a few times to be sure). This was a working darkroom that I was away from for a couple weeks. When I went in to try and print today, I discovered the problems.

    I can hear filaments rattling inside both the enlarger bulb and timer fuse, so they must both be gone...

    If the timer must be replaced (I really hope this isn't the case) then I think I'll have no choice but to buy an old dial timer like a Gralab...the digital ones cost much more than I can afford at the moment. The f-stop timer looks fantastic, though. One day :smile:
     
  6. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser

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    Sometimes when a bulb blows it can cause a surge which takes the fuse out as well, so no coincidence!
     
  7. sly

    sly Subscriber

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    My fuse just went (for the first time ever) a few days ago. I bought 3 for $5 at the Source (used to be Radio Shack). If you were closer, I'd just give you one.

    My darkroom is also attached to the garage. About a month ago changed from a space heater to an oil heater kept on low when I'm not in there. Huge difference in the comfort and usability of the darkroom. Highly recommended. Put it on your Christmas wish list.
     
  8. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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  9. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    I'm not sure about your timer, but the older Omega timer had the relay coil energized when the enlarger lamp was OFF. So, if you leave the power supply switch on and plugged in, the SCR in the timer eventually fails. So, with those, always make sure you turn the power supply switch "off" when not in use.
     
  10. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    Makes sense! Thank you :smile:
     
  11. EthanFrank

    EthanFrank Member

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    Thanks for the thought, Sly, but you're pretty far away :tongue: I found some on eBay that are only located an hour away (no time to drive out and pick them up!) but then I'm really in no rush to print; I can wait a week.

    Oil heater looks like it'd be a perfect addition to the darkroom. It's 2 degrees Celcius in there right now. :wink: