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starry night
08-16-2011, 08:18 PM
These timers were mentioned in another thread but I didn't want to hijack that thread by asking this question:

Do these astro-timers preclude the need for a photocell?

For instance, can they be set to turn on lights at sunset based on your geographical location or time zone and set to turn off lights at a designated clock time?

bcg
08-16-2011, 08:30 PM
Yes, that's exactly what they do.

starry night
08-16-2011, 08:45 PM
Thanks. Still learnin'. I came upon a Nightscape transformer (10 years old?) with an anolog timer that doesn't work. It is hard-wired so I would have to make some revision.

_______________________

Phil

Lite4
08-16-2011, 09:50 PM
I like the astro timers, but couldn't recomend a reliable one to you. I have used the control scape and the intermatic astros. Both with very high short term failure rates (6-12 months). The intermatic is slightly more reliable based on my experience, however I have gone back to good old photocells for all of my basic dusk to dawn operations when the trans is mounted outside. Can anyone recomend a good astro that I could get at least 2-3 years out of?
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-16-2011, 11:00 PM
I like the astro timers, but couldn't recomend a reliable one to you. I have used the control scape and the intermatic astros. Both with very high short term failure rates (6-12 months). The intermatic is slightly more reliable based on my experience, however I have gone back to good old photocells for all of my basic dusk to dawn operations when the trans is mounted outside. Can anyone recomend a good astro that I could get at least 2-3 years out of?
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Sure thing: Use the Aube Ti035 or the Aube Ti070 if you cannot find the Ti035 in your market.

I have also heard some good things about a new Leviton Astronomic timer but have not tried as it is not yet available here in Canada.

Lite4
08-17-2011, 08:54 AM
Thanks James, I do remember you mentioning that one before but I probably did not write it down. Thanks for the tip.

David Gretzmier
08-18-2011, 11:52 PM
Tork has one at my local Ewing distributor that I have been trying for the past few months. works pretty well so far, fairly easy to program. I have a dozen or so intermatics out there over the past year and no failures yet. I still prefer the photo-cell/ digital timer set up, but when the trans is inside or mounted behind bushes, we go astrological.

starry night
08-19-2011, 11:04 AM
I would like to try one of those astrological timers. I'm a Libra so mine would probably always have 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness. :)

________________________

Phil

LLC RI
08-19-2011, 07:37 PM
In the old days, when I used to consult for Sturdy Lantern/Nightstars Landscape Lighting, we used to put out a standard T-101 type timer with a built in photocell. I think it was , or is available in a weatherproof enclosure and we used to put a convenience outlet at the bottom to accept the transformer. This is still a viable and lower cost alternative, the exception would be using a digital timer with a battery back up so that power interruptions wouldn't cause any problem.

On systems where I have that type of set up, I set the clock to go on at 4 pm and off whenever they want. The photocell then governs the lighting operation based on darkness.

I have used some of those newer plug in/pluggable digital astro timers from Intermatic, and although they are a pain to program, they at least offer a simple manual override. The thing with the astro timers is that you might have to fine tune and adjust the preprogrammed sunset times for your area, to provide more accurate operation.


GMG

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-20-2011, 09:53 AM
The nice thing about the Aube Astronomic Timers (I want to check out those astrologic timers too :) ) is that you enter the lat & long into them, they do not rely upon zones which are less accurate.

White Gardens
08-20-2011, 10:03 AM
Does anyone know what Astronomic timer Vista carries and how reliable is it?

I've got a couple of small lighting projects coming up and JDL is my only real local supplier of lighting products and Vista is what they have.

I'm with one of the other posters though, if a photocell would work in open areas then I'm all about just using them.


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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-20-2011, 10:24 AM
I am pretty sure that Vista sells Intermatic timers, which in my opinion are just junk. The intermatic digi-timers consume batteries frequently (and some are CR232 cells that are expensive), use inaccurate zones to determine location, and are not cold weather rated. (The batteries freeze causing more issues)

A good Digi-astro timer is so much better than a analog timer / photocell combo. Fewer issues, fewer call backs, and no hassle for the customer.

White Gardens
08-20-2011, 10:29 AM
Thanks Integra. I like everything else Vista seems to offer and have used their stuff on a couple of small projects, but I might have to look into a better timer for the couple of systems I'm going to install.

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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-20-2011, 10:42 AM
I have not found a decent "plug in" type of astro timer... The good ones are all the in-wall type. Make sure you get an electrician to install any 120V wired device. Or you can order Nightscaping Transformers that come with a handy modular control bay with the Aube timer as an accessory / option.

White Gardens
08-20-2011, 11:17 AM
I have not found a decent "plug in" type of astro timer... The good ones are all the in-wall type. Make sure you get an electrician to install any 120V wired device. Or you can order Nightscaping Transformers that come with a handy modular control bay with the Aube timer as an accessory / option.

Agreed and thanks.

I'm going to at least have to have an electrician come in and install an outlet at one of the properties at least and maybe both. I can do the work, but I don't want the liability and also I'd rather have someone who does wiring daily to fix any problems that arise.


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starry night
08-20-2011, 12:20 PM
I have not found a decent "plug in" type of astro timer... The good ones are all the in-wall type. Make sure you get an electrician to install any 120V wired device. Or you can order Nightscaping Transformers that come with a handy modular control bay with the Aube timer as an accessory / option.

James, Can the accessory Aube astro-timer be put in an older Nightscaping transformer (10 yrs. old) ?

________________________________

Phil

starry night
08-20-2011, 12:34 PM
EDIT to previous post: Sorry, I asked the question before looking at the Nightscaping website myself. Looks like the answer is "yes."

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
08-20-2011, 12:49 PM
Yes. There are a couple of ways to get it. You can order the modular power switch unit complete from nightscaping and simply plug it in to the powercenter, or you can order a blank modular control plate and install your own decora style timer/switch/controller.

Chris J
08-25-2011, 12:55 AM
It's really baffling to me how much of the products others use across the country with great success somehow fail here in North Florida. I've been using the Intermatic astro timer (DT620CL, but that's probably my supplier's model # and not Intermatics) for about 2 years now and I have had so much success with it. I was very leary of it when I first heard about it, but decided to start using it on very local jobs. I am now extremely convinced. I've never found a photocell that is very reliable, so it makes my life so much easier to have an astro that I can actually count on.

Lite4
08-25-2011, 07:32 AM
I've always thought that strange also. I have always wondered if it has anything to do with variances in primary voltages from area to area. Back in Boise, the power company would always run the primary at most residences at about 119-120 volts. Here in Indy all the primary runs between 123-124.5 on primary. Not sure if that little boost in voltage burns out those timers prematurely.
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