switch for DBI safelight

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by kwmullet, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I've probably spent a couple of hours searching around on the net for something I like the best to turn on and off my dark green safelight during development by inspection. Concensus indicates a footswitch, but sloshing around in the dark, spilling unknown quantities of stuff on my counter and possibly on the floor, while running 110vac through a switch on the floor doesn't seem like the height of safety to me.

    I ran across a post (photo.net?) from someone who attached a switch to a block of wood about knee high on their sink leg, and while that seems somewhat safer, what if I spilled something on the counter (got no sink yet) and it spilled down into the swich?

    Right now, I've got one of those cheapie home-depot remote lamp switches that snakes down from the power strip on the ceiling where the safelight is plugged in, and I flip that on and off. Not safe, but operative.

    Here's the weird idea I'm running through the apug discussion gauntlet:
    What if I put an X10 lamp module on the safelight plug, then got a wireless doorbell-type X10 switch and screwed that into my counter? I've got a light switch type kill switch installed on the wall for my overhead power strip, so if someone else's X10 inadvertanly turns it on, or I spill something on the swich and short it out (I could always plaster a baggie on top of it to waterproof it), I would just kill the power from the wall.

    Aside from the above, about the only downside I can see is that response to X10 signals runs about a half second to a second, so it wouldn't be as responsive as a directly connected switch, but it's the best thing I've thought of yet.

    [sidebar: I'm never sure how to gauge cross-disciplinary expertise in a given audience. If someone wants, I'll do the 2-3 paragraph summary answer to "what the heck is X10?"]
    -KwM-
     
  2. bmac

    bmac Member

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  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    Simplest thing I can think of is an old fashioned pull string switch light socket. Mount the socket on the ceiling, put a screw in plug adaptor in it and plug in your safelight. All wires run at ceiling level and the string is made of an insulator. Only downside is having the string slap your face as you walk past it.
     
  4. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Hrm. That might be better/cheaper. Actually, the safelight I'm using with the green filter is a Kodak screw-in safelight, so no need for the plug adapter. I'd just replace what I've got now. Currently, I've got a ceramic socket screwed into the ceiling and wired to an AC plug that goes to the power strip. I'll just replace the socket with a pullchain one. Hopefully, I can find one that is far enough to the side of the socket to clear the rather large safelight. A very minor problem, though, compared to engineering something with X10 (which I found out tonight Lowes doesn't sell) or something that isn't wet-counter safe.

    Thanks for the gray-matter food.

    -KwM-
     
  5. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    No buts...get a footswitch. You need quick bursts of safelight (usually no more than one second in duration for each look), and you need to apply them while both hands are tied up holding a piece of film with nitrile gloves on.

    Here's a link to the one I bought. I'm very happy with it. A wonderfully robust product, a rarity these days.

    LineMaster Treadlite II
     
  6. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Wondered what you were talking about there for a minute.

    We use waterproof switches in my work in some situations. This may be another option. But the hand-free idea is def worth going for it seems to me.

    Brian - have you ever accidentally turned the light on with the Clapper? You know, by shuffling a tray or dropping something?
     
  7. bmac

    bmac Member

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    i dont use one in the darkroom, it was just a bad joke based on US pop culture :smile:
     
  8. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Crikey, glad you told me! had the Visa out ready to go!!! :D
     
  9. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    I agree with Jim. The footswitch is definitely the way to go. You'll need your hands for other things. I have the "Treadlite" switch as well. I bought mine off ebay for $12. I can't imagine a cheaper or better way to do it. How much do you really spill anyway?
     
  10. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I think I found one or two on eBay. The ones I found had a quarter-inch phono jack. If this is what you have, did you just replace the phono jack or did you replace the cable all the way back into the switch with a gauge more appropriate to 110vac?

    I'm now thinking I could get one of these, wrap plastic around it, and put a couple of wire ties at the top to make it safer on the floor by the sink.

    I really don't spill all that much, but sure as shootin', a hose'll burst leading into my print washer, or I'll have some other plumbing problem that'll make me wish I didn't have 110vac coursing through this metal thing on my floor.
     
  11. Photographica

    Photographica Member

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    Talk to your local hardware supplier. There are a number of low voltage lighting controls on the market. There a even "pneumatic" controls available for hot tubs and for use around the swimming pools. Also, you can put your foot or knee switch in a water resitant electrical box if you want. One last thing... electrical codes often state that you should install ground fault interrupters in areas you may have spillage -- very simple to install in a receptical and relativly cheap. Again, the electrical department in a good hardware store will be able to suggest many inexpensive solutions.
     
  12. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Contact the folks at linemaster.com. They're the ones that make the treadlite switch that I use. They make all kinds of switches, including waterproof ones. They can help you find just what you want. Their switches are not that expensive either.

    The switches with the phono jack I'm not so sure of. The treadlite that I bought had a 6' (I think) insulated cord with 3 wires. It's rated 7amps, which is plenty for a safelight. Make sure you get a momentary switch; press-on, release-off.
     
  13. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    Well, fortune smiled today.

    I went into one of the local brick and mortar photo shops (Warehouse Photographic in Dallas) and while I was agonizing about whether to get the 11x14 adjustable easel I wanted or a 20x24 easel that I didn't want but would make things easier for some 11x17s a customer is saying they want, I found myself staring at a linemaster treadlite switch on their used darkroom table. Price: one dollar.

    Here's a listing for the same model someone is selling on eBay.

    So as soon as I get this rewired to do 110vac, I think I'll be in business. It's got a two-prong plug for some enlarger timer on it. I'll bag it up for now, then when I get around to switching from three to five outlets on the wall, I'll also switch to GFI.

    As an aside to the North Texas folks: Warehouse photographic is cutting it's size and staff 50%, and doing most of its equipment sales on eBay. I talked to the woman who found me a used green safelight, and she's one of the ones getting cut. Another digital casualty, I guess.

    This isn't really germane to the thread, but I wonder what would be involved in just moving GFI to the breaker box. Is there a way to make everything on a given circuit GFI?

    -KwM-
     
  14. Photographica

    Photographica Member

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    You can replace the breaker in your breaker panel with a GFI type very easily. Two things: 1. Turn OFF the main breaker before removing the panel cover -- If you're not comfortable installing it, get some professional assistance. 2. Make sure you get the brand name of your breaker box and type before you purchase the GFI breaker -- i.e. Square D, GE, ITE, etc.....