Enlarger Timer

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by poppers, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. poppers

    poppers Member

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    Can someone recommend an enlarger timer to use with my Leitz Valoy II enlarger. I live in the UK so any models that are available in the UK. Also what should I look out for in a timer, are some features more desirable than others?

    Kind regards
    M

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  2. miha

    miha Member

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    You know who makes the best timers in your country, do you? :smile:
     
  3. poppers

    poppers Member

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    I've no idea I'm afraid.

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  4. Kjuba

    Kjuba Member

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  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    You are gonna a lot of replies, you know. My recommendation for printing, because I use one and it is fantastic IMHO.

    Gralab 300

    Plug in the enlarger and the printing safelight. One switch changes from enlarger bulb to safelight. If you turn the timer knob is changes from safelight to enlarger automatically. Large glow in the dark face for easy viewing and does not fog paper in my experience.

    For film processing I have four of those old red Kodak timers. And I'll buy more. My own little OCD thing.
     
  6. miha

    miha Member

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    It's rhdesigns, so Kjuba was right.
     
  7. poppers

    poppers Member

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    I think the RH designs timers will be out of my budget.
     
  8. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    If you can wait until the weekend, send me a PM - I've got a couple of basic timers going spare.
     
  9. miha

    miha Member

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    Look for a Paterson or Kaiser timer then.
     
  10. poppers

    poppers Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I'll have a look around. I'm a novice trying to piece together a basic/temporary darkroom hence the RH designs is a bit expensive for my needs at the moment.
     
  11. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    I don't have any recommendations for but I would recommend against the Gralab 300 clock-face style timer. I currently use one for my enlarger.

    1. It is very hard to be consistent. It doesn't click between seconds (no steps) if you know what I mean (at least mine doesn't).
    2. Again, consistency & exactness is hard because the enlarger turns on while you are winding the second hand forward. Normally I just twist it as fast I can but when I need to be really exact I work the enlarger power switch and the focus/enlarge knob on the gralab and try to turn both on the exact same time.

    3. I definitely like my Gralab way better than not having a timer. But if you can get something digital or with knobs rather than a clock face I think you'll have a better time.
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The Gralab 300 came in a variety of flavours. Mine has a separate switch to start and stop the timing cycle. So on mine I switch it to "stop", set the time, and then switch it to start.

    At the end of the timing cycle, the power goes off (and the buzzer goes if you forget to turn it off).

    Just use the switch off, set time, switch on again procedure from there.

    It does definitely work better though if you use longer exposure times.
     
  13. pstake

    pstake Member

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    If you need cheap and indestructible, go for a gralab 300. No frills but that's what I used on my Valoy II and I still have it as a backup.

    Pretty much anything by Gralab is going to be good quality.
     
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  15. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    It is surprisingly difficult to find used Gralab timers in the UK - for instance, the only ones on eBay recently are from the US, which means they will be 110V of course; and shipping/insurance can add up too.

    Brand new, I believe they are in the region of $200. Not "cheap"
     
  16. pstake

    pstake Member

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    Yikes! Well, I guess we are lucky here in the US because we happen to use 110V, and there are a lot of them around, are therefore inexpensive and shipping is domestic. But they are heavy so shipping to the UK would probably be prohibitive.

    If you're going to spend $200, you may as well go for an RHdesigns. Or just roll the dice with something on ebay. I did that once and got a unicolor electronic timer that works great. It cost me $30 shipped.
     
  17. poppers

    poppers Member

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    Is it advisable to get one that also switches on and off the safelight?
     
  18. miha

    miha Member

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    I leave the safelights on. I see no reason to switch them off as the printing itself only represents about 10%-20% of the total exposure time under the safelight.
     
  19. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

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    And that switch is separate from the Focusing switch that turns the enlarger on without starting the timer? Because that would be a nice feature to have. I hope mine has it and I'm just missing it.
     
  20. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    Most likely in the UK are Paterson, Philips or Kaiser timers. In general, all timers will have a switch for focus/timer -- at least I've never seen one which doesn't . . .

    Forget getting anything clockwork, on grounds of precision and repeatability. They may have been tolerable when new -- but thirty years later, after decades disused in a damp shed, not so good.

    There are electronic timers with one dial, for example Durst TIM, but these might be tricky to set precisely at the bottom end of the range. Ideally you want something that you can set in tenths of a stop and for small enlargements (and hence short exposure times) this will mean precision of well under a second. A useful and practical style has three dials, one each for tenths, whole seconds and tens of seconds. Other models have a switch for "x10" while using one dial, hence two time ranges on one control, which can also be an adequate solution.

    The switching off of the safelight when the focus-switch (and also timer, usually) is active comes from the historic use of enlarging-meters which are sensitive to the safelight as well as the actinic light of your enlarger, therebye giving a false reading and requiring the safelight to be off during measurements. Probably you have no enlarging meter so this feature is not required at the moment. In the future use consistently made contact-prints as your enlarging meter, instead of another gizmo.

    In "the olden days" many started off with a simple on/off switch in the enlarger cable and counting ticks of a metronome, or "one thousand, two thousand etc", which can also work perfectly well if you can avoid short exposure times.
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You really want an f/stop timer if at all possible. There are several to choose from including free (if you can solder) - see my signature.

    Failing that, an electronic timer, not an inconsistent mechanical knob.

    Failing that, a loudly ticking clock. I printed for my first year with a loud clock and a table on the wall listing 1/4 stop timing increments. I would take the ticking clock over a gralab any day.
     
  22. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I think it was Bob Carnie who noted that any timer that needs an instruction manual is wrong for the job.

    I would add that any timer that measures more than 1/10 of a second is equally useless.
     
  23. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Kaiser electronic timer goes till 1/10 of a second. For a beginner it will do good job. You can learn f-stop printing with that.
     
  24. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    another one to look out for is a Durst Labotim. Simple electonic unit that goes 0.1-9.9 secs in .1 increments then 10-99 (I think) in full seconds.
     
  25. Rick Jones

    Rick Jones Member

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    LPL ET-500 used with my Valoy II for some 5 years. After going through about 5 timers in the last 40 years the ET-500 finally meets all my needs. Foot switch is mandatory for my way of working. LED display, brightness control, audible count down (on/off), times 0.1 to 99.9s or 1 to 999s, enlarger and safelight outlets and relatively small size for my limited space. Available as 220-240V 50/60hz. Timer can be turned off mid cycle with foot switch - handy during burns.
     
  26. momus

    momus Member

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    I'm glad that Martin mentioned the metronome, as Ansel Adams used one of those. His stuff looks pretty good. I don't do small enlargements, so I use an old Simmon Omega Audible Repeating Timer (see blurry photo below), and it works well enough for me. I have a native distrust and dislike for all things digital, and/or electronically complicated. Of course, I also wear a wind up watch and have a TV antenna, so what do I know? The watch keeps excellent time. About every month it gains a few minutes. My TV and computer monitor are CRT too. The image quality is better.
    small one.jpg
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2013