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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I've become annoyed at the quality of the timer I've been using for my lights. It's really inaccurate and the time it's set to seems to "drift" off of the correct time by an hour or more within a week or two of my fixing it. I looked at about 5 places in town (home improvement and discount stores, mostly) and couldn't find many that looked much better. About 90% of the ones available everywhere here aren't grounded (ie, are only for two-pronged cords) so I don't have much selection for ones that I can plug my PC lights into. I basically chose the one I have because it was the only grounded one I could find that was cheaper than $20. I don't recognize the brand it is.

It's also really noisy sometimes (noiser than my filter) and it's starting to drive me crazy because my tank is situated directly across from the foot of my bed. This is actually the main reason I'm dissatisfied with it.

So is there any recommendation on good brands that don't have these problems? I'm okay with buying a new one since I can just press this one into service on lamps when I'm out of town. I'm considering just getting one of the all-digital ones...but I'm afraid that might reset if the power ever goes out momentarily when I'm out of town since that happens a good bit here. Anyone have a digital one that has battery backup or something?
 

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I found this nice grounded timer at my local hardware store a few years back, and I found it to be quite accurate. An added benefit is that it was rated for outdoor use.

The only disadvantage is that these kind of timers will cost a quite bit more than your normal ungrounded timers. Try looking in your local hardware stores (Home Depot, Rona, Lowes, etc) for a timer meant for outdoor use
 

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Radio Shack sells a timer that works by sending signals through the house wiring to turn on or off "modules" that plug into wall sockets and have sockets themselves. You set an on itme and an off time, plug the module into the wall, and plug your tank lights into the module. The signals turn the module on and off at the set times. It is accurate to the nearest minute. The only noise is a clunk! when the signal makes the module connect or disconnect. The timer can operate up to 12 different modules, and each module can have one or two on and off times set.
 

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I'm not sure whether there are any issues with X10 technology in the circumstances of a power cut (black out). It strikes me that this is an interesting high tech approach to the problem, but one with which I am leary of using.

I find timers an irritating issue. I need three: one for lighting; one for CO2 solenoid which comes on 2 hours before lights and goes off 2 houra before lights out; and one for aeration (one some tanks I like to aerate overnight with a small airpump).

The Coralife Power Center provides an interesting on/off timer for 4 appliances (one set of sockets comes on while the other set goes off). But it is noisy; experience speaking here. I have one a few meters away in the office. If it is installed inside a cabinet, the noise is almost undetectable.

Other than that, in New York City lighting stores stock a number of good quality grounded digital timers - all completely quiet. They range in price from USD10-35. Check out a specialist lighting store (I have not noticed a good range in places like Wal-Mart or Home Depot).

Andrew Cribb
 

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I have found the Intermatic 7 Day Heavy-Duty Grounded Digital Timer DT17C fits my needs. It is a little more expensive then the non digital models. Features include a battery backup so settings are not lost in the event of a power outage and it is grounded. I've had no problems running up to 4 400W MH bulbs off one circuit thru this timer.

Pricewise I picked up my last batch form Home Depot for apprx $18 ea.
 

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I have the same one as gnatster and IUnknown. I use it for my lighting and CO2 solenoid. It rocks. Bought it at Lowes, I think.
 

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I use the Intermatic timer as well. The one issue I've noticed though, is that once the original backup battery dies, the entire timer dies. This has happened several times. Anyone know of a cure?

TW

BTW, they make a three-way molded plug-multiplier that is 'T' shaped where each end of the 'T' is a female plug, with the male connecters out the top. If you plug one of these in next to a timer on a powerstrip, it is just tall enough that you can plug another timer into the top plug and nest the second timer above the timer that is directly plugged into the powerstrip. Lets you get more timers on a single powerstrip.
 

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Pineapple said----I'm not sure whether there are any issues with X10 technology in the circumstances of a power cut (black out). It strikes me that this is an interesting high tech approach to the problem, but one with which I am leary of using.
I assume that "X10 technology" refers to the Radio Shack timers. I have found them to be reliable. The timers have a place for a 9 volt backup battery that preserves the time and all the settings during a blackout. If the battery is run down, all the settings and time are lost during even a brief blackout. It does not take very long to reset the time and the on-off settings. When the power returns the timer stays at whatever state it was in when the power failed (on, or off). If you need accurate timing, this is the only way to go. I use the timers to operate the air pump that empties bags of 4% CO2 into my tanks. The timing is critical here so that the timer turns the pump off just as the bag reaches empty.
 

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TWood said:
I use the Intermatic timer as well. The one issue I've noticed though, is that once the original backup battery dies, the entire timer dies. This has happened several times. Anyone know of a cure?
I have noticed that the timer will stay on as long as it is plugged in (this is after the batteries have died). OF course the only problem is if the power goes out for more than a minute, you lose all settings.

I think the timer is great. Got mine at home depot. THe batteries for it are pretty inexpensive to replace also.
 

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HeyPK,

Thank you for the input. Certainly, it looks like an interesting system. I am dithering between low- and high-tech....

Andrew Cribb
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks guys, I found one of the Intermatic timers and it's blissfully silent and accurate (since it's digital, of course). Now if only I could find one that doesn't block multiple outlets on a power strip...but I guess that's asking too much. Anyway, it's a huge improvement...
 

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TWood said:
I use the Intermatic timer as well. The one issue I've noticed though, is that once the original backup battery dies, the entire timer dies. This has happened several times. Anyone know of a cure?

TW

For the little bit that the batteries cost compared to the frustration associated with the effects of a dead battery, I use this system: Each year when daylight savings time comes around in the spring, I change the batteries in all of my devices (watch, address book, two aquarium timers, etc.) I use daylight savings time changeover as a reminder because of my failing memory.
 

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I have the Ingraham digital timer (it was the only one available at Wal-Mart) and that's been working very well.

Another alternative for a 3 prong non-digital timer is an outdoor timer. I picked one of them up since I couldn't get a digital at that time, and it's been keeping very good time. A couple of bonuses are that they have a short cord so you don't chew up the space on your outlet or strip, and they have a waterproof cover so there's no danger of water accidentally getting splashed in the electrical components.
 

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Walmart (here in MA at least...) has an inexpensive polarized (3-prong) completely silent timer for about $15 bucks if memory serves. The brand is General Electric, and it can be set by 1/4 hour intervals. It only has one outlet, though, so I've installed a 3 way outlet adapter. Most flourescent fixtures use quite little wattage compared to just about everything else around the house that you can plug in, so piggybacking the plugs through a single outlet should not be any issue. Hope it helps.

-joe
 
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