Intermatic vs. Aube light timers - experiences?

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I currently have six Intermatic SS7(c) electronic light switch timers installed in a house. In the years since they were installed, I have had four failures requiring replacement.
In the troubleshooting information (as well in some topics in here), this problem is usually connected with cold temperatures. I live in an area which basically never goes below freezing, and the majority of the timers are inside the heated home, anyway. The one unheated switch, in a garage, has yet to fail.
I contacted Intermatic, and they told me this is a known issue, they are redesigning the SS7's and SS8's, and they're due out in March or April.
I decided to try someone new, and found Aube Technologies. The prices are comparable to Intermatics, and while I haven't found a local dealer yet, I have found an internet supplier (http://www.atlantasupply.com ) which will ship these for free.
Has anyone had experience with Aube switches? Are they reliable? I am looking at the T1034, which has a solar timetable, but I imagine feedback on the regular, T1032 timer would be helpful as well.
While I probably won't go back to Intermatic again, I am looking at the EJ500, which the Intermatic rep told me does not have the flaw of the SS7/8's. Any experience with these would be nice, too.
Thanks for your input. Any other recommendations are welcome, too.
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Were any of these timers used with compact fluorescents?
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No, incandescents only. Why?
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Some Intermatic timers specifically say they can't be used with CF bulbs. Even so, I bought one which was supposed to be compatible, but 3 of them fried over a period of 6 months. Intermatic said "not ready until...", and the "until" kept moving from September to December to ......oblivion. Some of their units also say they must run with a minimum of a 40 watt standard bulb, or the world will end.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Haha
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Well anyway...I need to control a compact fluorescent, and now that fishing season's over and I'm bored, I'm prepared to go through a horror of running a wire from the first floor porch light switch down into the basement, and installing one of those mechanical timers in a grey metal box. Those things don't fail.
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Hmm... I'm planning on getting one of their SS8 timers to control three compact fluorescents. Is this the model you had? If so, did Intermatic at least offer a replacement?
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Just found the instruction sheet - it *is* the SS8. Keep something in mind, though: Intermatic did NOT say these failed because of being used with CF bulbs - they said it was a design problem involving the tiny mechanical switch inside. (When it switches off & on, you hear a "zzzzt" sort of noise - not sure of what's really going on inside).
Lowe's replaced the first one at no charge. The second & third time, I called Intermatic and they explained the situation, finally sending me another model which is NOT designed for CF bulbs. If I were you, I'd call them before wasting a trip to the store and the time it takes to install them. By the way, they were VERY cooperative.
Phone: 815-675-7000
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Interesting - I managed to dig up a web page talking about this problem:
http://www.fifengr.com/intermatic /

Why didn't they send you the same model (one that works, of course)? What did they tell you when they explained the problem? ETA for a fix?

I'm not sure if calling in advance is going to help - the timers are designed to work with CF bulbs, but my concern is whether the timer will be reliable. I guess it's good that there's a warranty. How willing was Intermatic to send you a replacement (did you have to argue with them, provide a receipt along with a blood sample, etc.)?
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Sorry - I wasn't clear about this. They sent me a total of two identical units at no charge, and, by the way, they didn't ask me to return the bad ones. They sent the same ones because I preferred NOT to go back to using an incandescent bulb, and the person I spoke with figured that popping in new ones might buy me some time until they figured out their problem. She said the ones they were sending would very likely die like the earlier ones.
Thinking all this through, it means I went through 4 units. 1 purchased, 1 replaced by Lowe's, 2 replaced by Intermatic. The fiasco began in early 2005. Suggested ETA for a fix was September. But by then, they had sent me a different model, and I'd gone back to incandescent.
I finally asked for a different unit because my wires were getting shorter and shorter. The timers come with stranded wire. I will not use wire nuts to attach stranded to solid - just crimps.
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Just wondering, do you have any voltage flickering issues in your area? I have never used these timers so I am in the outfeild with a WAG. As electronics have progressed, gotten cheaper. The parts are made to tighter tolerances. Voltage fluctuations and poor grounding have been the bane of the industry for a long time. I lost a garage door opener cause of a voltage flicker issue. I since installed a surge arrestor at my electrical panel. Nope I am not saying that this is your problem. Stray voltages do have an effect on electronics. I have ordered from Atlanta Supply and was please with the response I got. Sorry no experience with problems and Atlanta Supply.
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I have to intermatic ones and I will not replace them with intermatic. They failed shortly after they were installed for no apparant reason other than poor design/assembly.
Let the group know if the other brand works.
Rich
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Thanks for the input everyone. That's an interesting URL from Christian. Maybe if this was my first failure, I'd try that repair (usually I love that sort of thing), but at this point, I'm so sick of the whole thing, I don't want to deal with them anymore.
I have always had a replacement provided to me when I took the failed ones back to the electrical shop where I bought them, and they were pretty nice about it, once I went through the "Are you sure you're not doing this wrong, Miss?" battery of questions. On this last one, I am past the one year warranty, so I'm not sure how they'd handle it.
My experience with Intermatic customer service has been very good, and they'd probably be happy to give me a new one. But, like I said, I'm ready to move on. This is in my employer's house, and every time one of these fails, I have to make a special trip out there to fix it, and I'm sure he's thinking to himself that there must be a better solution that I just haven't found....
No experiences with Aube or the IM EJ500? Bummer. Guess I'll have to be the guinea pig.
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Seriously, if any of the applications are in a place where you can install an old style mechanical Intermatic timer (grey metal box), perhaps in the cellar. Do it. Absolutely trouble free, no batteries, no nonsense.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Well, I'm fed up, yes, but I haven't yet reached the point where I'm willing to tackle the "horror" (as you put it) of wiring a new box. And in this house, I won't even begin to tell you the horrors that that would entail.
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Aw come on....just rip out a wall and get those wires in. You can do it. :-) We'll all stop by and watch & drink beer, and offer suggestions.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Aw, come on.... stop treating me like a baby girl. We're talking about six different walls, in six different locations, spread throughout a 6000sf house (which isn't mine). To top it off, these walls are covered in a textured Venetian sand/plaster mix that is basically impossible to patch without looking extremely obvious. This is a place where even pros fear to tread, and while that doesn't always stop me (I'm prone to biting off more than I can chew) I know better than to mess with this one.
Besides all that, a mechanical timer won't solve the problem I have now of having to reprogram all of the timers every month or two as the sunset/sunrise changes. Solar timetable all the way for me!
Oh, btw - I emailed Aube to ask if the T1034 is compatible with compact fluorescents. Got a response today in which the rep (emailing from Honywell... interesting) said to check with the bulb manufacturer and ask if their bulbs work with timers (uh...). He/she also recommended the T1035A (higher max wattage), claiming it was compatible, but warning that a neutral wire in the box is absolutely necessary. I'm not posistive this person knew what they were talking about, but I thought it might be lead for you.
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Hmm... didn't mean to sound so grouchy there.... :P
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Moon phases??? Quick! More ice cream!
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Etch an outline in the plaster very carefully with a tiny Dremel bit, all the way down to the lath, then have your way with it inside the outline. No guts, no glory!

Oh for heaven's sake....put down the remote control and the Bon Bons!

Ask if their bulbs were compatible with timers. Right. There should be a hall of shame web site for answers like that.
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