astronomicals

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by Mike M, Jan 22, 2008.

  1. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,941

    Okay, I'm popping in those upside down timers in upside down receptacles. What is the transformer wattage max I should avoid going over? 300? 600?

    Feedback on how anyone's success in the field with intermattic timers is much appreciated.

    Also, any word yet on Unique, Cast, Kichler, etc. coming out with astronomical timers (module, built-in, or plug)? I think the intermattic is not very good quality for the amp loads we use, plus it's a little silly when you pop open the trans cover and the timer is upside and impossible to program that way.

    Radio Shack charges 5 bucks each for the battery that fits them, and they take two. This is very humorous, considering intermattic's unit is just over that.
     
  2. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    I used an Intermatic one a few years ago in a Vista transformer... It didn't seem to have an off time setting... sunset on, sunrise off was all it could do as far as I can recall... in fact, I pulled it and I have it in the shed I think... brb..

    Oh well, didn't find it.
     
  3. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,941

    Greg;

    Billy had to explain to me how to set it for a set time off, like 11 or so. It's a little tricky at first. But before you can do anyting, you'll probably need to find those batteries. I checked around retail spots, but only Radio Shack had them on the shelf. It will cost you ten bucks for two energizer batt's repackaged individually in R Shack colors.

    Hey, it's a cool way to tell customers you offer high tech controls that track the sunset for your regional lattitude. It also saves you the cost and potential call backs relating to photocells.
     
  4. SamIV

    SamIV LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 324

    Yea, and they don't work when the batteries die. The breaker tripped on one I installed and was without power for 24 hours , the batteries went kaput.
    I just replaced the whole thing. Just think of all the clocks we have to go and reset when all these batteries start going out. They don't work even tough you have AC power when the batteries die. I just can't understand why someone has not produced an astronomical timer for the LV industry.

    I know James, there is one for the NS trans, but it will not fit in an MDL transformer.


    Burt Wilson
    Accent Outdoor Lighting
     
  5. irrig8r

    irrig8r LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,533

    That's interesting, brcause the way i understand it, the one made by AUbe and sold by Nightscaping has a non-volatile memory... and so far they continue to plug away...though sometimes a little fast (maybe because my line voltage is a little high at about 122 VAC?)

    I find it very easy to program.

    Anyway, that one is available as a stand alone in a stainless steel outdoor box with a receptacle to plug in two transforners. NS calls it an ETC-400.
     
  6. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    Really you should push x10 on smaller houses (I would say 3k ft and less) and upb on larger ones. This provides a clock inside someone can set but it also means they can screw up the program.

    I have had no issue with the astro timers yet. Look at a battery website source for the battieries in bulk. I pop the batteries out when i yank the timers and the back ups i carry in my truck. You should always have 1 or 2 extras stashed under your back seat new and in the package. If there is a battery issue or someother issue swap it and be gone and reset the other one at home.

    Mike I think your forgetting that the mdl transformers your using are relay controlled. Your timer plug is not carrying the full rating of the trans and only the relay current. Its that CLUNK you hear when you fire it up.
     
  7. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,102

    I like the AUBE timer unit much more then the Intermatic unit. It is a bit more expensive, but very stable and easy to use.

    Regards.
     
  8. Mike M

    Mike M LawnSite Bronze Member
    from usa
    Posts: 1,941

    James;

    I owe you for that tip, thanks!! It's a matter of time before Unique and Cast catch up. Nightscaping beat them on that one.
     
  9. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,899

    Forgive my ignorance but I don't understand the attraction of these astronomical timers. I am guessing it is to have the lights come on at dusk and off at a set time?

    Can't that be easily achieved with a photocell / 24hr timer combo? We set our timers to come on at 5:00 and go off at the desired time. The photocell wont allow the transformer to come on unless it is dark. 2 simple 7-8 dollar parts.

    Ok I know you light guys have a reason this is old school and no longer acceptable so let me have it? :hammerhead:
     
  10. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    photo cells are one more thing to fail.

    On the external timers I dont like having more wire and boxes showing on the side of a home than need be.

    no reason someone cant make a compact mdl sized timer with astro capability.

    Advantages to astro... auto adjustment of ON time so weather or external lights wont fake it out..Auto adjust for DST...ASTRONOMICALLY controlled sounds better than timer controlled.

    Astro is a great solution but I agree that there needs to be something done. Perhaps someone should write intermatic and let them know our feedback and see what they are willing to do about it.

    Timex has a timer out too that fits but I have yet to play with it or use it.

    I think just about all my systems from now on will include clocks mounted inside the residence. X10 is pretty reliable for us on smaller homes.
     

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