Kearsarge 503 vs. Gralab 900

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by NER, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. NER

    NER Member

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    I want a new timer for my Super Chromega F Dichroic II. I don't like the Omega timer I have because: (1) it has no digital readout or audible clicks; and (2) at the end of any cycle, the light fades away vs. terminating abruptly. I need a timer with a rating of 1000 watts because I have no power relay, and don't want an extra device on the counter if I can avoid it. The Kearsarge 503 is rated at 1000 watts. I think the Gralab 900 will swallow up to 1200 watts. I used a digital Gralab for years with my 4x5 enlarger and was very happy with it, but I've never used Kearsarge timers. I hear they're excellent. The Gralab I have won't handle the load for the big enlarger. Any thoughts on how these timers compare? What digitial timers are others using for the same or comparable 8x10 enlargers? Any recommendation? Thanks.
     
  2. Jeffrey A. Steinberg

    Jeffrey A. Steinberg Member

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    I have a different model Kearsarge (I think its the 201 or 301--its in storage while my darkroom is under construction).

    I have to tell you its the best timer I have bought. You won't go wrong. The only thing that bugged me was that the silkscreened numbers were not fully formed when I got it. Functionally, its great. I would go with the Kearsarge again.
     
  3. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    I got me a Kearsarge 301 used on ebay, but it was like new, the guy even sent it in the original box. I have to say, it is a great timer, simple and looks to be built like a tank. I dont think you can go wrong with it, if ianything it looks better made than the omega.
     
  4. NER

    NER Member

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    I didn't think anyone would ever respond to this question! Thank you both. I do think the 301 is a good timer, but I don't think it can pull 1000 watts. I believe the rating for it is only half what I need for my enlarger. Am I incorrect in that belief? Thank you again.
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    yep, 500 watts is the max for the 301
     
  6. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    I have the exact same Omega head and use a Lektra TM-8 timer. You can buy one on eBay for under $100
     
  7. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    CAUTION !!!

    i) I believe 1,000 Watts is the minimum for the Omega head you (and I) have. A timer with a rating of only 1,000 Watts may be pushing the capabilities of the unit to its boundaries. I would recommend against this.

    ii) The Lektra TM-8 timer has a rating of 1,500 Watts.

    iii) The Kearsarge timers are great timers. I own a 201 and used to own a 301. I would not pay the extra $$ for the 301 or a more-expensive model.

    iv) You may want to consider buying a contactor from Kearsarge for under $200. It will handle the load from your Omega head regardless of what timer you are using. In so doing, you open your horizon to any timer of any rating, as the contactor is the devicde that handles the load.

    v) The Kearsarge 201 and 301 have provision for a foot switch to turn the enlarger on/off. The Lektra TM-8 timer (as well as other Lektra timers) have provision for two(2) footswitches: one for timing exposure and one for focusing. I find this feature to be extremely useful.

    If I can be of additional help, let me know. If your final choice is a Kearsarge, I can provide you with contact info for twhat I believe to be the only Kearsarge distributor - a really good guy to deal with. Finally, if your choice is a Kearsarge, I recommend you buy new - these units are laboratory-type units and don't take well to a lot of 'beating'. I have seen used units that look great on the outside but do not function properly. Au contraire, the Lektra units are built like tanks and will continue to work in spite of the most hostile environment/treatment they have been put though.
     
  8. JackRosa

    JackRosa Member

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    Norman: I visited your website ... beautiful work!
     
  9. Frank F

    Frank F Member

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    I have a Kearsarge 403. THe only features it offers above the 301 is 10 memory preset locations. For sequential timing ( like in burn in.....).
     
  10. NER

    NER Member

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    Thanks, Jack. I have written you off-line to followup on this discussion.
     
  11. ivansbacon

    ivansbacon Member

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    i am trying to find a copy of a user manual for kearsarge 403. i do know how use it for basic exposures but i would like to program the memory and any other functions i do not know about. i have searched the forums to no avail and i can not figure out how to add a new thread. any info would be appreciated. thanks
    ivan.