Digital Timer - New Products

Discussion in 'Landscape Lighting' started by INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    I have come across a couple of new Digital Timer products that you guys might be interested in. Both are Astro/Solar type digital timers and both relatively new releases from leaders in the Timer segment.

    Aube has a new unit out and they have been my go-to astro/digi timer for some time.

    Intermatic has a new plug-in timer too. Vista has adopted this unit as an accessory for their transformer line. However, my experience with Intermatic plug in timers has not been all that good. I find they seeming chew through batteries for some reason, and often they have produced products that are not rated for deep freezing conditions. indoor timers/digital timers/dt620cl.aspx

    Have a great day.
  2. David Gretzmier

    David Gretzmier LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,646

    I have used the outdoor version of the white intermatic in My christmas biz last year. Although I like the dial, it is very hard to train folks how to program the unit. instead of on or off, you have to think of an on event or an off event. they may give you the option of on at dusk, but then you really have to jump through hoops on this unit to have it turn off at anything but dawn. After trying on 4 different units, I gave up.

    And yes, the batteries on all of last years units have been dead up to this point and require battery replacement. they do last a Christmas season.
  3. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    We put a bunch of DT27 timers out there when they came out and it was a mess. Not only did you have to flip the plugs in the mdl transformers to get the timer in (plug was on wrong side of timer) but the batteries really didnt last. Small watch batteries. I really preffer a timer with something bigger like a AA or something with a bit more capacity.

    When you would go to purchase new batteries they would cost about the same as you paid for the timer. I do have about 2 dozen out there operating fine.

    good luck with the AUBES so far besides 1 location and the EC just found a intermittant short at that location last week so we will see if the timer holds its program now. If not it is getting an ABT.
  4. Alan B

    Alan B Sponsor
    Male, from tampa, fl
    Messages: 447

    Guys, thanks for the info.
    1. Its amazing how most digital timers seem to be plagued with complicated programming (a la VCR). The last digital timer we carried (and I gave up on due to all the calls we would get regarding programming questions), was digital and had batteries, but wouldn't work until you first plugged it in to an outlet. Most people, including myself, open the box, put the batteries in and start to program. On this unit nothing would work and you'd think it was broken. Then I learned that even if it had the batteries in, you had to plug it into an outlet first before programming. If anyone finds a simple, reliable plug in digital timer--let me know--I'd love to carry it.
    2. David, strange that the batteries would wear out when they are there just for back-up in case of a power outage. That's too bad. Also with Malibu getting out of the lighting business, is Intermatic cutting back on timers or going to keep the timer business going?
    3. James--Thanks for the Aube info. It looks like a nice unit. Most of our customers are looking for a simple plug in (aka inexpensive and simple), but I'm going to look into the Aube. How reliable is the solar/photocell? Traditionally they tend to have somewhat short life spans and it being built into the Aube unit means you can't replace just the photocell--whats ur experience with the solar module on the Aube?


  5. Lite4

    Lite4 LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,187

    This is the very reason I just use a photocell for basic operations. I will put in a manual timer if necessary, but not very often. Most customers just want dawn to dusk operation. Other than that, I have been pleased with the flexibility of the ABT system for varying stop times.
  6. JoeyD

    JoeyD LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,933

    We went to an external digital timer that you plug into the 120v outlet and then plug the transformer into it. It is also made by intermatic and has worked really well for us over the last year. I dont think we have had many if any failures and returns. I will get specs.....
  7. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,180

    the OLD MDL timers that were avalible from CAST and Kichler when used with a photocell were very reliable. They used an AA battery for the backup.

    I have dozens out there with zero issues. Then MDL changed the timer inside making it unreliable.

    If the client seems like a nosey type and likes to play with things they should just leave alone sometimes its easier to just go with the old school dial type and a photocell. Almost anyone can figure em out.

    A dist emailed me about another timer they just started carrying... I want to say it was intermatic too but it has plugs on both sides of the timer.
  8. INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting

    INTEGRA Bespoke Lighting LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,102

    Alan, it is not a solar photocell as you might be thinking... you enter your lat & long and aday of the year into the timer so it knows where you are on the earth, then it adjusts its on time to dusk automatically. they are known as astronomic or solar time switches as they are based on the cycle of the earth around the sun (sol)

    The intermatic unit uses rough zones and is not nearly as accurate as a result.
  9. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    I've walked homeowners through reprogramming some of the 20 or so Aube switches I've installed over the phone and it was easy. And the reprogram was to change the off time, not any problem. As opposed to most of the Intermatic digital timers and switches I would have to make a physical visit to change them, because the homeowner couldn't quite figure it out even with me trying to walk them through it.

    Also the Aubes are all line voltage powered, as oppsed to some of the Intermatics using a battery to power their relay, ensuring a return visit within my warranty period.

    Just my $.02 worth.
  10. sprinkler guy

    sprinkler guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 223

    It could be. I buy some electrical stuff at Home Depot, so I'm in there all the time. They did a clearance on all of their Intermatic plug-in and wire-in timers and switches over the last few weeks. Last week they put up a new display that is all GE timers and switches.

    As a side note, they still carry plenty of Malibu lights. That business can't go away soon enough.

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