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View Full Version : Anyone having issues with Intermatic Astrological Timers?


JimLewis
10-02-2012, 01:44 PM
I've been installing these on every lighting install for the last year and a half or so. But I've started to have some call-backs this year. And each time I went by to check it out, the time on the timer is off by about 10-15 minutes. Why would these timers not be keeping good time?

Just curious if it was something anyone else was experiencing.

starry night
10-02-2012, 02:26 PM
After reading your post, I had to go outside and check the one on my own home. It's about two minutes slow in 4 months since installation. (Maybe I wasn't so careful when I set it.) I've installed several of the Intermatic Astronomical timers this year and so far haven't had any calls.

The Lighting Geek
10-02-2012, 03:53 PM
I've been installing these on every lighting install for the last year and a half or so. But I've started to have some call-backs this year. And each time I went by to check it out, the time on the timer is off by about 10-15 minutes. Why would these timers not be keeping good time?

Just curious if it was something anyone else was experiencing.

We quit using them due to numerous call backs. We tried GE & Intermatic. Google the model number and you'll see quite a few complaints.

starry night
10-02-2012, 04:06 PM
Tommy, Was this recently that you had the callbacks? Just wondering if the product may have been improved in the last year.

JimLewis
10-02-2012, 04:23 PM
I'm curious what the call-backs were for too.

What are you using now then, for compact Astro timers? the GE models?

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 06:13 PM
Why use a compact astro timer? We use the dual outlet green astro timers on budget installs. 2 watch batteries a year we replace during spring service call. No problems in 3.5 years of using them. I have gotten away from inside transformer timers. Will use upb app modules from time to time. But even then we try to use a upb switch inside the home that powers transformer receptacles.
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Steve Atkinson
10-02-2012, 06:18 PM
Guys,

Have you considered using the Simply Automated DKIT-05? Contains a UCS master timer and two plug-in relay modules that go in place of the timer in each transformer.

Timer keeps very accurate time, has astronomical feature calculated by zip code, backup battery, and will run up to 99 different timed events. Extra components can be added for advanced control of other lighting, appliances, or electrical circuits.

Costs more than a standard timer, but it gives the client many more control options when the control source is not within the transformer.

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2012, 06:24 PM
The only intermatic timers we have had any success with have been the ET series, but they are not for those with thin wallets. All of the in-wall or plug in astros by intermatic are nothing but a pain in the butt, but I won't go on too much as my competition seems to like them. Carry on... :laugh:

INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2012, 06:26 PM
Steve, you should also advise people that they will need a phase coupler with the Simply Automated system. Expecting UPB to be really reliable without a phase coupler is a bit of a gamble.

Steve Atkinson
10-02-2012, 06:32 PM
I have seen it work reliably without, but you are correct it may be needed.

Testing at my house here in the country, 2200sq ft, 2-phase panel, about 160ft to transformer on the pole, no need for phase coupler. In the city with typical street grids of houses, no need. But I just finished helping with a large country home that had a main panel and 3 sub-panels. Needless to say phase couplers were definitely required.

Anyone considering making SAI a regular part of your work, PM me and we can cover specifics.

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 06:38 PM
Well if timer and app modules are on same phase in a single panel home then your in the clear
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2012, 06:50 PM
Yes, "if" is the key here... If they are not on the same phase then you will need a phase coupler to ensure reliability.

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 06:54 PM
Yes your right James but it does take all of 5 minutes to open the panel and swap a breaker to the spot above or below
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INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting
10-02-2012, 07:02 PM
IF you are a licensed electrician, and IF the panel is wired such that it is easy to do, then yes you are correct. IF you are not an electrician the LAST thing you should be doing is going into a panel to do anything. Doing so does nothing to promote the professionalism of our industry and your operation.

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 07:09 PM
Oh im with you on all of these ifs james. I just assume steves clients are professionals and knows these things. If hes pushing upb to joe the landscaper then he has bigger problems then phase a vs b
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JimLewis
10-02-2012, 07:21 PM
Guys,

Have you considered using the Simply Automated DKIT-05? Contains a UCS master timer and two plug-in relay modules that go in place of the timer in each transformer.

Timer keeps very accurate time, has astronomical feature calculated by zip code, backup battery, and will run up to 99 different timed events. Extra components can be added for advanced control of other lighting, appliances, or electrical circuits.

Costs more than a standard timer, but it gives the client many more control options when the control source is not within the transformer.

Sure, I've considered it. But an intermatic astro timer costs me about thirty bucks. What would the Simply Automated system cost me? 10x that???? Maybe more?

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 07:28 PM
Contact Steve lets not get in a price battle over internet
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JimLewis
10-02-2012, 10:27 PM
I'm not looking for an exact price. I'm aware of how much the Simply Automated systems cost. My point is they're not really anywhere close to the same price range as a timer. With the control unit, astro. outlet, and phase coupler (not to mention labor for all these and the possibilty of needing to hire an electrician for the phase coupler) - this option really isn't in the same price range, at all.

Don't get me wrong. I really like the Simply Automated systems. Really clever stuff. And I like Steve as well. The new stuff they have out is a huge improvement over the stuff that had last year. But I am not sure this is really a suitable replacement for a $30 timer, that's all I'm saying.

S&MLL
10-02-2012, 10:31 PM
Try the external intermatics like i said earlier ive had no issues with them
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Steve Atkinson
10-02-2012, 11:18 PM
Thanks Jim for the kind words.

A final note and I will finish this thread off.

For $30.00 one gets one timer for one transformer.

For about 10X as Jim observed, one gets a baseline megatimer and receivers to create a system with great capabilities for the client.

Two very different product applications.

Enough Said. Thanks.

JimLewis
10-03-2012, 03:58 AM
Try the external intermatics like i said earlier ive had no issues with them
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You're talking about this one (http://waterheatertimer.org/images/HB800RCL-200.jpg) ?

.

S&MLL
10-03-2012, 03:38 PM
Should i be seeing something? Im also on my phone if thats the problem
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Braphael
10-03-2012, 06:04 PM
I've been using the Intermatic DT620 for nearly two years now and have seen the timers lose an average of 10-15 minutes per year. Other than that, they have worked flawlessly for my clients. Overall, I'm quite happy with them.

JimLewis
10-03-2012, 08:25 PM
Ok. Good. Then I'm not crazy. You're experiencing the same problem. That's good confirmation. Thank you.

Bill, I'm curious. Do you ever use the outdoor unit? The one I just posted below? As near as I can tell it's essentially the same timer. Same programming and everything. Just a different shell. I wonder if these have the same issue being 10-15 minutes off.

JimLewis
10-03-2012, 08:27 PM
Should i be seeing something? Im also on my phone if thats the problem
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It was a hyperlink to the photo. Here's the actual photo. Can you see this?

http://intermatic.com/~/media/Intermatic/Images/Timers%20and%20Time%20Switches/Plug-In%20Timers/Outdoor/HB800%20Series/HB800RCL.ashx?mw=200


Is that the one?



.

S&MLL
10-03-2012, 09:04 PM
It was a hyperlink to the photo. Here's the actual photo. Can you see this?

http://intermatic.com/~/media/Intermatic/Images/Timers%20and%20Time%20Switches/Plug-In%20Timers/Outdoor/HB800%20Series/HB800RCL.ashx?mw=200


Is that the one?



.

Couldnt see hyper link from droid.


Yup thats the one. 2 receptacles on bottom for 2 transformers or if you do holiday lighting. Just keep small screws on the truck. They keyhole slots are very small

Braphael
10-03-2012, 09:10 PM
Jim,
I haven't used the outdoor version as of yet. I recently upgraded a halogen lighting system to LED and the customer has an outdoor version mounted in his garage controlling the transformer. I'll ask him if he has noticed any loss of time, but I doubt he pays much attention to it. He doesn't live there full time.

JimLewis
10-04-2012, 11:24 AM
I've used that model that I posted above about 10 times over the last few years. Seems to be pretty good. I have 3 of them installed at my house. Two on lighting transformers and 1 on my water feature.

I never really thought about the two outlets on the bottom much. Are those controlled by the astrological timer as well? So the Christmas lights would come on and off at the same time as the outdoor lighting system? That's kinda cool. (Although we don't install Christmas lights).

starry night
10-04-2012, 11:46 AM
OK Jim, so how is that you used the "outdoor" one sometimes and the DT-620 other times? It has been my understanding that the batteries in the "outdoor" one could not take freezing temperatures but that the DT-620 does not have that problem because of being in the transformer case where it is enough warmer.

JimLewis
10-04-2012, 12:41 PM
OK Jim, so how is that you used the "outdoor" one sometimes and the DT-620 other times? It has been my understanding that the batteries in the "outdoor" one could not take freezing temperatures but that the DT-620 does not have that problem because of being in the transformer case where it is enough warmer.

Yes, that's right. Those are the ones I'm using.

Freezing really isn't a big concern here in Portland. Rarely happens.

S&MLL
10-04-2012, 01:10 PM
Yes, that's right. Those are the ones I'm using.

Freezing really isn't a big concern here in Portland. Rarely happens.

Both outlets are controlled by timer.


As far as freezing James is about the only one to have to said to have problems. But then again its :canadaflag: and who knows what those guys do up there.



I change the 2 watch batteries every spring. No issues so far. Plus if the client does feel the need to mess with a time I would rather have them use the outside model............ Any reason to let them in your transformer is just a reason for them to touch something they shouldn't