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  1. #1
    yeknom02's Avatar
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    Simple Timer Alternatives

    Hi all,

    First of all, let me say that I am not looking for an enlarger timer. I have a Patterson 2000 digital timer that works wonders. No, instead I am looking for a timer that I can use while doing my tray processing. I recently visited a darkroom that had a Gralab 300 (standard issue in student darkrooms, of course), which made things so simple! Anyway, I currently use a smartphone app for timing my develop/stop/fix processes. The problems are that it can be cumbersome to set, and more importantly, the light is not truly "safe." You can easily see some blue light in the room. And, of course, it drains my phone's battery.

    I would try getting a Gralab 300, but it's bulky for my purposes, and expensive. All I'm looking for is a timer that I can (a) see in the dark, (b) set quickly and easily, and (c) not take too much of my very limited space. Things like a buzzer would be neat, but unnecessary. I'm thinking that since I'm not trying to control the flow of electricity with it, there's got to be something cheap out there I can use for simple timing. Does anyone have any recommendations?
    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST
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  2. #2

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    I use a simple wall clock with a second hand. The dial is large and white so that it is easily seen with the safelight. It is positioned over the trays at eye level.
    A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.

    ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  3. #3

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    I use kitchen timers with large LCD display. The LCD is not back lit in any way but I can clearly see the reading once my eyes get accustomed to my dim safe light. I had these for two years and I like them. I put each in a small ziplock bag to protect it from water. My first one died because of water damage.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000W4MYI
    Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?

  4. #4
    BetterSense's Avatar
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    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-...0900W/14913172


    Works great, use to time all my tray development.
    f/22 and be there.

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch View Post
    I use a simple wall clock with a second hand. The dial is large and white so that it is easily seen with the safelight. It is positioned over the trays at eye level.
    +1

    The battery operated clocks are the most flexible.

    One warning though - avoid the clocks with a red second hand, especially if you have red safelights.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    Rick A's Avatar
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    I have a handfull of digital timers purchased from Dollar Tree for (you guessed it) a dollar each. I set each one for a specific task, start it and wait for the beep to signal the end of that operation. I dont need to see them in the dark, I know where each is by feel to start and stop.
    Rick A
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  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    One further point - if you are looking at the digital timers, make sure you get one that permits a one button re-set to the previously set time.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8

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    I use a Gralab 450 for my enlarger timing, and I have two Gralab 300's mounted strategically, hung on the wall. One is within arms reach of my developing tray, the other next to my Jobo CPP-2.

    Before I got the Gralabs, I used a variety of inexpensive mechanical or digital kitchen timers of the sort that others have mentioned. I found that the mechanical ones that you set by turning a dial are easiest to set quickly, but most of them can only be set to one minute intervals. The digital ones require you to push a button repeatedly to set the time.

    There are some digital ones that count up just by hitting a single button. Those are very convenient because you don't have to set a time, just start the count up and keep an eye on it.

    I have a hard time seeing most of the digital ones with LCD in the dark. Some have higher contrast LCD screens. If positioned so your safelight reflects on them, they are easy enough to read.

    Wall mounting a timer makes it easier to use. I have dropped a couple of the small handheld kitchen style timers in the dev or fix tray while setting them. Some of them survived that, others did not.

  9. #9

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    Also, you may be able to find old Kodak darkroom timers on ebay. They are generally very inexpensive.

  10. #10
    PDH
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    I now use 2 wall mounted graylabs, but I still have a working LED wrist watch with a timer funcition from the 70s, when I lived overseas I used this watch to time all my paper development, not water proof so I just set it on shelf that I could see it. I have not used in years, wonder if I still find a battery? A kitchen timer will also work if it has glow in the dark hands or a good audio such as a bell or buzzer.

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