Darkroom timer questions
I'm interested in finding a ProcessMaster II timer for my darkroom. Does anyone know of a source here in the States? Any thoughts and concerns for this product would be appreciated. Seems like a handy gizmo to have around but not sure if it would be worth the cost, especialy if I have to order it from RH in England.
I just ordered one a week ago from RH Designs and it arrived within a week. Every thing I've gotten from them in the past, the ZoneMaster and StopClock Pro, are well thought out, well engineered and a bargain given their usefulness. They are an integral part of my darkroom work and I believe the ProcessMaster will be as well. You won't be sorry with any product you get from RH Designs and they're an APUG sponsor as well.
My experience with the purchase of RH Designs gear is that cutting out the middleman (or our local one, anyway) made a large difference to price. Our import duties regime starts at a level above the prices of any RH item, so perhaps in Virginia you may not have to pay any VAT or GST; UK VAT is not charged for exports.
The equipment is very good.
Regards - Ross
I have had the StopClock Pro and the ProcessMaster II for many years. They're the best timers I have used in 30+ yrs of bw darkroom work. You MUST get a power adapter for the ProcessTimer. (batteries won't last)
I have 3 products from RH Designs:
Stop Clock Vario timer
Process Timer II
All are excellent and well thought out. They do take a bit of "getting used to" but once you get some practice they become second nature and a natural part of your workflow.
I don't have the power supply for the process timer and have not had any problem with battery life. My only complaint about the products is the somewhat niggly process of getting the appropriate power supply but I think the source of the problem is government regulation which is not surprising.
My other complaint about the Process Timer II is the display. It should show the measured temperature at least to verify that the thermometer is working and to allow comparison to my existing thermometer. Even so, I consider the timer indispensible. I calibrated my processes at 68 degrees to suit the timer and now I try to get the temp close and let the timer adjust. No problems. Also, I think it could be larger to allow more buttons for simpler use and a larger display for the temperature. Oddly, when the time is above 10 minutes, it shows the seconds only in increments of 10. Once the time has counted down below 10 minutes, it shows 2 digits of seconds, e.g. "59" instead of just "5." I have gotten used to this and it is no real problem, but I would pay for the extra digit and temp read out.
Buying in Great Britain and shipping to the US has been no problem. I receive their products more quickly than I receive packages from Oregon. Their communication, when needed, is excellent.
Also, there are no current competitors. I have a Gralab 900, a Jobo process timer 8, used to have a Jobo Multitronic, etc and none are better. I have never used the Zone VI compensating timer but those fetch a substantial premium used.
If you buy just one item from RH Designs, buy one of the enlarging timers. Or for less money, buy an F-Stop timer from Darkroom Automations and the process timer from RH Designs. I think these are indispensible products for a modern B&W darkroom.
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Thanks to all of you for the great feedback. I believe I will give the Process Timer II a go and order one from RH Designs. Thanks again.
I was in a bit of a rush when writing my previous post. To set things straight: I have a ProcessMaster (I), not the new model II. The short batterie life was due to the fact, that once in a while I would forget to shut the unit off at the end of the day, and I do not like the power saving feature, so I have that turned off. And there's nothing worse than starting to run film and then realizing that the battery is low and the display grows dimmer and dimmer...
And Jerold's post reminded me of the flasher, which I need and just ordered.
Another feature that I wish that the Process Timer II had, which might not make any sense, is the ability to be in temperature compensation mode and count up rather than count down. But I have adjusted to the count down with no problems.
Also, I wish the timer had a button to temporarily turn off the display such as when loading tubes.
One feature that I have come to really like without anticipating it is its ability to count up (without temp compensation) after the countdown time has elapsed. For example, if I am doing a batch of BTZS tubes in which the longest development time is 9:50, then the timer will count down to 0 and then automatically start counting up to 9:50 before stopping. So I don't even bother to set specific channels for stop, fix, hypoclear. I just get close enough times using the count up feature.
In a sense this feature already exists; just enable the power save feature and wait 30 seconds or so, and the display will switch off (apart from one decimal point).
Originally Posted by jeroldharter
However we could probably add a third "off" setting to the User Options display menu which already has a "dim / bright" setting. Would that be useful? Adding a separate button would not be a simple matter though!
Low tech solution.
How about a small black cloth to throw on top of the display.