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Timers... mechanical or digital?

  • Mechanical

    Votes: 20 45.5%
  • Digital

    Votes: 24 54.5%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was curious what all you use for timers. I have tried digital a few times and both of the units failed in a matter of months (and niether had battery backup and ceased to work after a power outage), so I switched to mechanical. Was alot cheaper and more reliable - just that after a power outage you had to reset the time position to go back on the original schedule. But since most of our outages are like a few seconds or maybe a minute, I have only had to reset them a couple times.

I am starting up a couple new tanks with multiple lights, co2, autodosing, etc. etc. and will probably need like a dozen timers. So looking for suggestions on a good reliable unit that can be had for cheap. I am not opposed to digital, but would want the batery backup if I went that route. Any suggestions?
 

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I bought my digital timers at costco just after xmas a few years ago. They came in a 4 pack and where like $30. Battery back up and never failed me yet. I am looking for more at costco... and am still waiting.

Cheers, Whitepine
 

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I'm in the same boat... two different light timings plus lunar lights need timers. In the past I used those big square mechanical ones but I would need 3 more.
 

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if your appliances go off and on at the same time, just plug a power strip into one timer and you get 6 "timed" outlets.

any electrician type want to comment on the safety of this? my timer is plugged into a gfci outlet. (the gfci trips if the lights fall into the water--don't ask how i know). im not overloading either the power strip or the timer. i have my lights from two tanks (168 watts) and co2 solenoid (5 watts?) on it. thanks.
 

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I've got..1, 2, 3, 4..yeah 4 single outlet digital timers, and one dual outlet outside digital timer (it was on sale for less than an indoor single when I went to get a new one for my CO2). I've had atleast 3 of them for over a year, all have battery backup, no failures.

Milesm, the unit or the documentation that came with the unit should say how much of a load it can hold, in amps or watts. Just add up the load of what you want to plug into it, and as long as it doesn't exceed that, you're fine. The one I have in front of me right now is rated up to 300W, more than enough for the 55W bulb its turning on and off.

Jon
 

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I have both. Five mechanical timers and one digital. They both work well for me. I have had a harder time finding timers that fit the three-prong cords. It seems like the cheaper timers do not usually accept three-pronged cords.
 

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Where to buy them? I'm trying to avoid the Coralife Unit
Home Depot has the three pronged ones for 8.99(?). At least thats what I think I saw last time I was there. They're mechanical but I've never had a problem with them. I think they are made by INTERMATIC(?)

I've tried a couple of digitals and didn't like them. I have 8 of the Home Depot ones currently and they work GREAT!

Ed
 

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if your appliances go off and on at the same time, just plug a power strip into one timer and you get 6 "timed" outlets.

any electrician type want to comment on the safety of this? my timer is plugged into a gfci outlet. (the gfci trips if the lights fall into the water--don't ask how i know). im not overloading either the power strip or the timer. i have my lights from two tanks (168 watts) and co2 solenoid (5 watts?) on it. thanks.
Light ballasts may have a current inrush that excedes the wattage rating on the timer when the light is first turned on. This could cause a timer fail before it's rated life even though the load seems to be below what the timer can handle. I've had a couple of timers fail on me and I suspect that was the cause.
 

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I have mechanical just because they where around the house. They work great. Haven't had a problem and thats been a year now on the 55g and about the same maybe a bit longer on the 10g.

You could also look into the multi outlet timers that are marketed for outdoor use.

Haven't tried digital ones yet.

-Andrew
 

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Only use 15 amp timers/controllers (usually 3 prong) with your main lights. Using a light timer designed to turn a lamp on and off (usually 2 prong) is asking for trouble. Spending $20 for a quality digital timer, IMO, is money well spent. I use Intermatic heavy duty digital timers (3 prong) for main lights. Intermatic Consumer Timers, Security, Photo Controls and Home Automation - Indoor Timers - Digital Timers - DT27C I use Intermatic digital timers (2 prong) for moon lights. Intermatic Consumer Timers, Security, Photo Controls and Home Automation - Indoor Timers - Digital Timers - DT121C I have several of each with no issues, and having a battery backup is very beneficial with 20 tanks.......DC
 

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skeletalmachine: i've used two timers in the last 15 years; replaced the original one only because the tick-tick-ticking of the timer's clock became too loud, as loud as media bombs.:icon_smil

diablo: i also have been using the grounded timers from intermatic. no problems.

jon nub: yes they are rated at 15A or 1700+ watts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
(the gfci trips if the lights fall into the water--don't ask how i know).
:hihi:

Good to know your gfci worked. And yeah, I'll need seperate timers for many things. Every timer I have used is 3-prong. And about the gfci, I picked up a few last time they were on sale for a few bucks at harbor frieght tools. I do plan on wiring up a gfci outlet and branch of that for all the devices. Speaking of grounding, I see they sell ground probes to put in the aquarium, is this something that actually could work to prevent an electrical mishap, or would the gfci work without need for the aquarium ground?
 

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Only use 15 amp timers/controllers (usually 3 prong) with your main lights. Using a light timer designed to turn a lamp on and off (usually 2 prong) is asking for trouble. Spending $20 for a quality digital timer, IMO, is money well spent. I use Intermatic heavy duty digital timers (3 prong) for main lights. Intermatic Consumer Timers, Security, Photo Controls and Home Automation - Indoor Timers - Digital Timers - DT27C I use Intermatic digital timers (2 prong) for moon lights. Intermatic Consumer Timers, Security, Photo Controls and Home Automation - Indoor Timers - Digital Timers - DT121C I have several of each with no issues, and having a battery backup is very beneficial with 20 tanks.......DC
I'm with DC on this one. The DT27C Timers are money well spent. :proud: They'll run pumps too without a hitch. They are about $18 here at Lowes and HD.
 

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Only use 15 amp timers/controllers (usually 3 prong) with your main lights. Using a light timer designed to turn a lamp on and off (usually 2 prong) is asking for trouble. Spending $20 for a quality digital timer, IMO, is money well spent. I use Intermatic heavy duty digital timers (3 prong) for main lights.
Buy 5 or 6 of these and you might as well have bought a Neptune controller. you get temp and can also set it up for ph. will control up to 40 devices via a direct connect and/or x10 wireless. I love my AquaController Jr.. it runs my nano reefs lights, heater, chiller and lights on two other tanks and the co2 too.

Cheers, Whitepine
 

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Whitepine, With the Neptune Systems, do you still have to buy the X10 modules to plug into? If so, are they about $13.00 - 20.00 each?

BTW, I do like the previously mentioned Intermatic 3 prong Digital. I did have one fail, but Home Depot replaced after a little "discussion" since I couldn't find my receipt. I use four of them on two auto water change rigs. They are easy to program.
 

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you can get 5 x10 modules(3 pin) for like $50 Here.

you know that x10 is out of seattle.. right? You can also set up a computer controlled interface for a lot less than the neptunesystems controller if all you want is on and off.
start with This and add the X10 3-Pin Appliance Modules (AM466) from above. You now can control 5 outlets from your computer anywhere in your house.

Cheers, Whitepine
 

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I use several Intermatic DT17C for my lights. I tried the DT27C, but they are just a little too big, which occupy too much room on the power strips I use. I never had any issues with them as well. The reason I like them is we had rare instances of short power outages. It was a PITA to adjust a couple of timers to the same time, so I decided to get the digital timers with battery backups. Now if I could only find a timer that I would never have to set the time, it would be great. Then all the timers would be synchronized.
 

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I recently changed all of my timers for lights and auto dosing to digital grasslin. A couple of them have started to fail, although they have a backup battery they are not holding their programs.
 

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I recently changed all of my timers for lights and auto dosing to digital grasslin. A couple of them have started to fail, although they have a backup battery they are not holding their programs.
Are the batteries dead? Sometimes "new" timers have spent batteries in them......DC
 
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