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  1. #1
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Time-O-Lite Discovery

    I take care of the teaching darkroom for a university. I have been having the enlarger bulbs blowing on me right and left on one of my banks of Beseler 23C enlargers for the past couple years. Sometimes several a day, then a long break. I was buying the bulbs 24 at a time several times a year. I had our electrician to put a voltage recorder on the curcuit, etc.

    But I think I discovered the problem this morning. I checked all the Time-O-Lite timers (Masters and Pros) and found one that throws about 400 to 500 volts back into the supply line just as it shuts off. So if someone on the same curcuit has their enlarger light on while this beast shuts off, it might be blowing the bulb with the power spike.

    Now the timer is engraved HSC and then a inventory number. The university changed its name from HSC to HSU in 1973...so this beast is at least 35 years old. I suppose it is amazing that it still works at all after 35 to 40 years of constant use (I have others of the same vintage that still work fine, and the back-up timer I put in its place is of the same vintage).

    Any electricians out there that might confirm my suspecions about the timer? The way I measure it was to put the timer on a two out-let extension cord. Plugged in the timer to one of the out-lets and put the meter's probes in the other...and watched the needle jump from 110V to about 500V as the timer shut off.

    Vaughn

    PS...the next question is if it is worthwhile to send it back to the factory to be repaired ($75 to $100 is the average repair bill, as per the company).
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  2. #2

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    I have the same timer as a back up.Stumbled on a digital (pardon the lingo) Gralab last summer.Fantastic.
    IMO it wouldn't be worth your while to have it repaired.Maybe bronze it as a keepsake for it has served you well.

  3. #3

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    Here's the Gralab.

    Paid $15.00 at a yard sale.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Gralab.jpg  

  4. #4
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Our other timers are Beseler Digital timers...they are alright, but I have to send them in for repairs regularly. We have 19 enlarger stations, 125 to 150 students per semester, and besides the class times, about 75 to 80 hours of open darkroom time a week. Those buttons get pushed a lot! And often with wet fingers.

    I am afraid the Gralab digitals would not hold up to the punishment.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  5. #5
    ath
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    The timer might not be defect, it might just be the way it works. You might want to put an overvoltage protector / supressor on the powerline of the enlargers.
    Regards,
    Andreas

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    I am afraid the Gralab digitals would not hold up to the punishment.
    They are surprisingly tough, we had one in my highschool yearbook darkroom and it never gave any trouble. Considering how cheap they can be bought these days if it lasts 3 years and then you replace it, its probably cheaper then changing bulbs.

  7. #7
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    I nailed one of those timeolite timers to the wall of the studio for timing polaroids. Great for that.

    For the darkroom the Beseler Audible Repeating timer is hard to beat.

  8. #8

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    What kind of heads do you have in your Beseler 23? I think the high voltage surge is not coming from the time-o-lite but rather the 23C which has a power supply.

  9. #9
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Ath -- I checked all our Time-O-Lites...it was the only one that sent a spike of high voltage back into the curcuit...I don't think it is suppose to do that (and I don't want any computer equipment on the curcuit either! LOL! The other Time-O-Lites gave no indication of any spike of any size...no movement of the needle of the voltmeter. But your idea of putting surge protectors on the enlargers is an interesting one. If the problem continues without the spiking timer on the curcuit, I'll give it some thought...though 8 surge protectors would not be cheap either.

    Dpurdy -- that is actually the Beseler timers we have. Good timers but the print buttons fail eventually in a teaching darkroom -- pressed too hard sometimes hundreds of times a day! And occasionally the contacts of the knobs used to set the times fail. And they are also $75 to $100 to repair.

    Vaughn
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  10. #10
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    You could go old school and get a metronome. When I was in school at Glen Fishback in the 70s they had one Beth and Thomas metronome (you wouldn't want two) for the darkroom. Tic Tok Tic Tok Tic Tok. Everybody counts the seconds. To this day I count the beeps on my Beseler Audible. No one complained about the tic toc in school, but it was annoying that one guy would hum a tune in time.

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