polysales timer/meter - can anyone help to make it work?

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by Bohngy, Feb 18, 2009.

  1. Bohngy

    Bohngy Member

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    RIGHT! that's it... i've had just about enough of this thing....
    It's a polysales automatic meter/timer - i've got it wired up to my ancient enlarger and safe lamp.. not sure if i've wired it correctly...
    anyway, the enlarger bulb comes on when you switch the unit on (and never goes out)... the timing durations seem to be accurate, but they don't control the enlarger!
    also the safe light comes on when you turn the selector switch to 'time'.

    you might realize that I don't know what i'm doing. could anybody provide some info on how to work this thing?

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Bohngy

    Bohngy Member

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    oooh yeah... it looks like this (picture addendum)
    [​IMG]
     
  3. mwdake

    mwdake Member

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    I can't help with this specific timer but....

    A while back I aquired a Kearsage timer that did the same thing, I was stumped until I opened it up.

    Some previous owner had un-soldered the wire for the enlarger output and soldered it to the safelight output.
    So, when turned on the enlarger and safelight were both on all the time. When I would hit the expose button both would go out.
    I re-soldered the enlarger wire to the correct output and it now works as designed.
    I don't know why someone would wire one this way.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    Most timers sold for photographic use are really industrial timers that have just had a new nameplate stuck on them.

    In a turn-round, it sounds like this Kearsage timer was converted from photographic to industrial use.

    As to the Polysales timer, from the looks of the age of the unit, and the rust on the screw heads, it may not be worth the time and money trying to fix it. Electronics that have suffered water damage are often unrepairable. You can get an old Patterson or some such in reasonable shape and for not much money on ebay.
     
  5. Peter Black

    Peter Black Subscriber

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  6. RH Designs

    RH Designs Advertiser Advertiser

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    Judging by the apparent condition of the unit, and the connectors in particular, I wouldn't recommend persevering with it simply on safety grounds. Those old Bulgin connectors, while mains voltage rated, I don't think have been legal for use in new equipment for years. The combination of sockets that point upwards and liquids that can fall downwards doesn't strike me as a happy one either!
     
  7. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    That's a bit of an odd statement, all the Photographic timers I've ever seen or used have been designed specifically for photographic use. That includes a Rayco timer dating back to 1953/4 in it's design. I've definitely never seen anything that's been re-badged and I still have at least 6 timers.

    Ian
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2009
  8. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    my 2 cents worth - I think it should work this way, based on a similar style Melico unit I own and use, dating to the early 60's for it's design:

    Your unit has two modes- one is a straight timer (Time), and the second is an analyser function (Balance).

    Time operation shoud be straight formward - set the seconds dial for the time you want, hit the expose button, and the safelight power goes off, and the the enlarger button goes off for the amount of time set on the dial. Note that the time dial has a logarithmic scale; this is what gives me the clue to the next functional mode.

    Balance mode puts the thing into an analyser mode. I presume it has a photo sensor - the thin wire coming out of the unit I suspect might be related to this function (The photo sensor you normally set under the enlarged image projected on th base board, usually on the densest part of the negative that you still want to preserve highlight detail in.)

    You make a print for calibration purposes, using the fixed time mode dial, and note where there is a part of the print that shows the slightest detial in the highlights. Dont change the time, enlarger head head height, aperture or type of paper being used. Also develop the prints for a consistent fixed time, agitation, etc.

    Put the unit into balance mode, and put the sensor under the projected image where the slightest highlight detail falls. Don't have any filters in the path when doing this calibration, and subsequnet analysis. Insert filters only after the bridge has been balanced.

    Turn the paper speed dial until the thing is balanced - this may be when one or both of the lights go out; one might be for over balance, and the other for under balance, or perhaps one light tells you that the thing is turned on and the other light will come on or go off at some point when you rotate the paper speed dial.
    My Melico uses a fine tuning indicator tube of the sort found in old tube radios.
    Once the indication of whatever form is found, the unit has 'balanced' - likely a balanced wheatsone bridge for the electrical engineers out there.

    Then, note the setting of the paper speed dial, and don't move it for as long as you are using this type of paper and developer combination.

    Then while in balance mode, on the next negative, or the same negative at a different head height, you put the probe under the area where you want highlight detail, and turn the time dial unti the balance indication happens. Press the expose button, and the right amount of eposure will be given to get the detial in the highlight to the same tone as the test print.

    The negative, if different, may be needing a different contrast range. There can be different effective paper speeds for fixed VC filters, so if the need is past say #3 in Ilford, you may need to double the time after balancing if you initially calibrated on aneg that printed well on #2. If using a dichroic head, I would urge you to test per 'the variable contrast printing manual' by anschel to get the filtration at constant spped settings figured out for your particular dichroic head.

    There are also more advance ways to use the analyser to figure out the contrast range of the negative (ie when the probe balances on dark areas as well as highlights, and how far apart in time that they are (fixed paper speed) or how far apart in paer speed (fixed time)) to guide you to a good filter for the first test exposure.

    There is a good chance that your unit, if mis-bahaving may just be suffering from dried out electrolyic capacitors. They typically poop out from old age after twenty or more years. These can be replaced if you are electronics handy at reasonably low cosy usually. I recently replaced all of the caps in the power supply part of a favourite old stereo receiver for $8, rather than figure out which ones were causing the supply to take a long time to stabilise and power up after turn on.

    Hope this adds some clarity to your situation.
     
  9. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

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    I personally wouldn't use the timer for real but it's interesting to find out how it is supposed to work. You can get good timer quite inexpensively or not using a timer at all. I doubt that the timer is any more accurate than simply counting.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    The meter/timer is quite sophisticated so it must have been made by another company and badged for Polysales, who were a sort of UK version of Spiratone with a smaller range. There catalogue was very interesting.

    It's not Rayco style but it might have been made by Melico.

    The meter timer should have been used well away from the dev trays, anyway any timer can be dangerous near water/chemicals regarless of the orientation of those Bulgin connectors.

    Ironically the outdated Bulgin plugs & sockets & old 3 pin 5 & 15 amp UK mains plugs were far safer and less prone to problems that the current ones, andas for the European ones they are even worse. I've never seen the old UK 3 pin plugs burn out, but it's common with the current ones, and the frlimsy 2/3 pin European ones.

    I'd rather have a solid Bulgin plug than the flimsy DIN plugs :D

    Ian
     
  11. youngrichard

    youngrichard Member

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    Believe it or not I still have a Polysales catalogue dated Summer 1982. I loved those guys. Picture matches your machine. It says "supplied with diffusor, enlarger and safelight plugs" "Easy to use! 1 Adjust paper speed to suit pack (easily determined). 2 With negative in carrier and diffusor in position, place sensor on baseboard and set instrument to balance position which also turns on the enlarger. 3 Adjust seconds knob until neither red nor green LED light is on. 4 Switch to time position , remove sensor and diffusor. 5 Press button and the correct exposure, as indicated on the seconds dial is automatically given. At the same time the green LED flashes at one second intervals as an aid to any dodging and shading needed.
    Price £39.95 Spare enlarger plug for extra enlarger £2.49"
    There you go. Catalogue was full of "must-haves".
    Richard
     
  12. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    It is nice to know my wild assed guess is not so far off the mark. Diffusion analysis is a way to measure the exposure of a scene as well. I usually reserve diffusion for use with my Colorstar when there is an outdoor shot with one no big colour bias, and no obvious spot for metering as neutral grey. It is usual that a general outside scene intergates (ie diffuses) to neutral grey. The remarks for calibrating the paper speed still appear to be correct.
     
  13. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Mike, I have a couple of Philips meter/timers from the late 70's and they were quite sophisticated, you used the probe to measure the negative highlights & shadows and a dial calculator, sepereate indicated the grade & exposure time, it had a paper speed dial that you calibrated. It was very good, but I'd already been printing commercially for a few years so the old dog knew better tricks.

    The Polysales timer may have been similar. Both Rayco & Melico made very good equipment, they made professional timers & colour analysers and went particularly for the burgeoning colour market as it took off in the late 60's. They were the RH Designs / Darkroom Automation of that era and extremely good at what they made, but they didn't have the resources of Durst, Philips etc to compete when they entered the analyser & timer market.

    Ian
     
  14. AlecF

    AlecF Member

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    Well, here I am! Long since retired but happy to answer any questions about Polysales products (if my memory doesn't let me down!).

    Anyway, my best regards to anyone who still remembers me...

    Alec