Timer malfunctions and workarounds

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by BobF, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. BobF

    BobF Member

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pikes Peak
    I have been using a besler digital timer that only goes up to 10 seconds as the x10 function gives erratic times so it is unusable. I like this timer as it has a foot switch and metronome function so I use it anyway.

    Small enlargements can usually be done in less than 10 seconds but 11x14 from 35mm can take multiple 10 seconds exposures plus whatever burning time. As I have gotten used to this odd system I find that I NEVER change the timer and always use muliples of 10 seconds. For less than 10 seconds I use the metronome and a dodging card to completly block the unneeded time.

    I have learned to like this system better than changing timer settings and it occurs to me that many others may actually do the same. I think I read the saint Ansel did something similar.

    But--- Am I missing something in that 3x10 seconds does not add up to 30 seconds continuous time? I have been assuming that any error is absorbed by my personal system as long as I am consistent. Right??

    If anyone knows how to fix a besler I wouldn't mind having a workable unit even if I won't use it.
     
  2. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,745
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fred Picker always set his timer at 3-seconds. He made multiple exposures at 3-second intervals. He liked doing it that way.

    While three 10-second exposures is different than one thirty-second exposure (for instance), as long as you are consistant in giving three 10-second exposures, it's what is right for you and your method.
    juan
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,981
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Juan:

    That's and interesting comment. I was never sure if 3 - 10 seconds was the same as 30 seconds.

    I use a lux timer and I wonder if that is the same thing, since bulb warmup etc shouldn't be a factor.

    Anyone know?

    MIchael McBlane
     
  4. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    hey Bob, I wonder if this is a common problem among the beseler enlargers as my x10 switch also does not work.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,920
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    we use Picker's method and i have run test just for fun. 3 x 10 does not look the same as 30 sec. This is not to mean that one is better than the other ( i don't want to get into a P*****g contest over which system works).
    My feeling is that timers may or maynot be completely accurate. Unless you take a stop watch in and check each timer who cares. Consistency is the important element. My students use the same work station to help control the variables and enhance the opportunity to maintain consistence work habits.
     
  6. BobF

    BobF Member

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pikes Peak
    Do you mean quantitatively or qualitatively? I guess what I was concerned about is perhaps a difference in contrast using VC papers as we are dealing with two different emulsions. If others use this method then I guess its good enough.

    Jeremy
    I also wonder if this is a common problem. I bought this one as owners seemed to report fewer problems than with other digitals. Oh well, even with it's x10 problem I still like it better than my previous two clockwork types.
     
  7. noseoil

    noseoil Member

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The trouble with multiple exposures stems from the bulb cycling at each exposure. The bulb must heat up and then cool down on each subsequent exposure. The more small exposures are made, the greater the error if you try to equate the multiples in terms of a long exposure. If you use multiple exposures normally, this is not a problem because you already have a working system.
     
  8. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    it's because of this I've been looking for a metrolux or zone VI timer recently.
     
  9. Jorge Oliveira

    Jorge Oliveira Member

    Messages:
    614
    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Location:
    Brazil
    Shooter:
    35mm
    In the late Barry Thornton's site there's an article re test strips and multiple exposures.
    He stated clearly that a set of small exposures do not add to a long one.
    It's paper relared, and not lamp related.

    Jorge O
     
  10. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,745
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Also, I should add that Picker used a Zone VI cold light head that had a sensor inside. The sensor connected to the timer - it actually timed the light output so that each "3-second" exposure put out the same amount of light.

    Fred frequently said "Same is the same and different is different." I wondered sometimes if he was being far too picky.

    I don't think it matters much what you do so long as you develop a consistent procedure, get good results, the follow that procedure. Although, if you are printing a lot of prints from a given negative, you can run into inconsistent light output. Fred said that problem is what led him to have the Zone VI head developed.
    juan
     
  11. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I think Juan is close to the answer here. I know for a fact that those mechanical timers are not accurate under 5 seconds. I have seen that. I have used Picker's method in the past and now I don't. I think Picker was selling timers. I think doesn't make any difference if you are consistent with your methodology.

    lee\c
     
  12. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  13. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have one of the cold light stabilizers that Horowitz developed with Fred Picker's input and guidance on what was needed. I haven't used it in some time since I no longer use a cold light head. I did find, however, that cold light sources are subject to light stabilization problems that other light sources are somewhat immune to. The cold light stabilizer worked very effectively to solve these fluctuations.

    If one is only doing "one offs" of prints it is unlikely that these fluctuations would be noticeable...Make a couple of dozen of an image and one quickly notices a difficulty in arriving at consistency.

    I disagree that Fred Picker was only selling timers. In my opinion,from the Zone VI products that I used, they represented departures from existing methods and products and that these departures represented improvements. As such I still consider them representing good value.
     
  14. JHannon

    JHannon Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have that same Beseler timer( audible/auto-repeating). I had to re-solder several connections on the X10 switch to get it working. It is mounted on the PC board and I guess the connections get stressed over time. It was a simple fix for me because I am a Electronic Technician.

    You may want to have someone good with a soldering iron open the bottom cover and check those connections.

    I believe the difference between several short time exposures Vs 1 total is called the "intermittency effect". It is mentioned in Fred Picker's book. I sometimes have to shorten the total time a bit because it seems darker than what is seen on the test strip and it's series of exposures..
     
  15. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,128
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2002
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've read it so many times it must be true :smile:

    When evaluating test strips I take this into account and deduct an arbitrary amount (usually 1 sec), then deduct a bit more for dry down (usually another 1 sec)... while doing the final test enlargement, I might change my mind again...

    On timers... I used to use a mechanical (Novex) that repeated times (whatever length) accurately, but was not accurate (ie. 10secs on the dial wasn't 10secs, etc) The problem was compounded when you did you test strip at say 3secs and decided you liked the 4th segment... now is that 3x4=12 (ignoring the above factors) or something else... (which it was). I now use a digital (Durst Labotim) and the difference in ease of use is huge. If I print something I've done previously, I'm pretty confident of the exposure times I've recorded in my notes.

    However, if what you're doing now works for you, stick with it.
     
  16. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I disagree that Fred Picker was only selling timers. In my opinion,from the Zone VI products that I used, they represented departures from existing methods and products and that these departures represented improvements. As such I still consider them representing good value.

    I did not say that they were bad products. They were certainly ahead of the time. I still use several zone vi products in my darkroom and in the field.

    lee\c
     
  17. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Member

    Messages:
    166
    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    North of Cal
    I also have a bit of electronic knowledge ( and perhaps a skill or two :unsure: ) and have fixed a EPOI time with erratic behavior. There is what is commonly called a RC circuit inside for each time increment.

    Simply put this is a capacitor (10 cent item) and resistor (another 10 cent item) together. Over time the capacitor can be a problem.

    A competent techie at a fix-it store should be able to repair this quite quickly. I am just not sure if the capacitor bank (group of capacitors) would be available. Might be worth having somebody take a quick look and offer an estimate on the repairs.

    Kind Regards,
     
  18. BobF

    BobF Member

    Messages:
    205
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pikes Peak
    Thanks Greywolf & Jhannon, your suggestions sound reasonable except for my electronics illiteracy. As to a "competent techie" I used to know several and I'll have to scare one up for this. If I have to pay for repairs I think I'd rather go Jeremy's way and save for a metrolux.

    I still wonder about changes in contrast as the on/off cycle length will change the color spectrum of the bulbs light which might cause a contrast shift. I'll have to daydream about how to test for this but my guess is that for my purposes it is a non-problem.
     
  19. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The x10 switch is the only thing wrong with my beseler. The reason for saving for a metrolux is the ability to save multiple times in memory, I'm thinking this might make it easier to split-print. Then again, I might just save up for the RH Designs timer. Who knows, I don't :smile:
     
  20. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Jeremy,
    As you know I have a Metrolux II timer and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. I have used several timers before and this is by far the best timer I have ever used. Granted I have not used RH Designs set of timers but I have heard that they are excellent. But with the Metrolux II you can buy realatively cheap acc that will allow you to have a small densitometer and a shutter checker. You can get a probe that fits in the head of a cold light that will adjust for voltage fluxuation and if the cold light starts to get to warm. It will make the timer count slower or faster. www.calumetphoto.com

    lee\c
     
  21. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,981
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Lee:

    I also have the Metrolux II. Since it does not measure seconds but lux units, or units of light, then I don't think that 3x10 or 30 seconds would be any different.

    Fred Pickers unit was a Zone VI and it also was a lux unit and thats why I don't think he had any differences with the 3x10 vs 30 either.

    Where the differences come into play, in my opinion is bulb warm up in the timers that measure strickly seconds.

    Michael McBlane
     
  22. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    HI Michael, the Metrolux has a function on the left side that allows for real time if I am correct. It looks that way to me. It is just below the Lux I and Lux II lights and right above the calibration light selection.

    I have no disagreement with your other statements and the 3 second deal is really not important if you use Lux in my opinion.

    lee\c
     
  23. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    HI Michael, the Metrolux has a function on the left side that allows for real time if I am correct. It looks that way to me. It is just below the Lux I and Lux II lights and right above the calibration light selection.

    I have no disagreement with your other statements and the 3 second deal is really not important if you use Lux in my opinion.

    lee\c