Intermatic vs. Aube light timers - experiences?

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I wasn't going to reply to this originally, because we're veering off topic, but to explain a bit...
About the plaster wall, you've misunderstood. It's not an old plaster-and-lathe wall, it's 10-year-old, regular sheet rock. The problem is, on top of the sheet rock is a Venetian plaster finish--a layer of colored plaster and sand--no paint. So whatever cuts are made into the wall, this isn't just a spackle-and-paint job. This wall texture, basically the real version or what many "faux" finishes are meant to imitate, is not the easiest thing to apply in the first place, but it is next to impossible to repair. Most professionals who specialize in this type of finish won't even consider repairs--they only redo entire rooms (and to the tune of thousand of dollars).
As for the solar timetable issue, remember this is not my house, and I don't plan to work for these people forever. Asking them to change the timers themselves is beyond their preferred level of involvement.
So, sorry for the thread-jack, there, but I couldn't help it. Now, to finish things off, I'll ask for some off-topic help: if anyone knows of a good Venetian plasterer in the San Francisco area who will do repairs, send me a PM! :)
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On 9-Dec-2005, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Are people getting that stupid or lazy? If they pay me $5,000 per visit plus transportation, I'll come change the timers for them every time they want. That will relieve them of this horrible burden.
Sheeesh!
Mike
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wrote:

It's a lotta work, Mike. Hard work. Lotta work. And, if you had to use a toothpick to push the tiny buttons on those timers, you could poke your eye out.
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I wasn't going to reply to this originally, because we're veering off topic, but to explain a bit...
About the plaster wall, you've misunderstood. It's not an old plaster-and-lathe wall, it's 10-year-old, regular sheet rock. The problem is, on top of the sheet rock is a Venetian plaster finish--a layer of colored plaster and sand--no paint. So whatever cuts are made
into the wall, this isn't just a spackle-and-paint job. This wall texture, basically the real version or what many "faux" finishes are meant to imitate, is not the easiest thing to apply in the first place,
but it is next to impossible to repair. Most professionals who specialize in this type of finish won't even consider repairs--they only redo entire rooms (and to the tune of thousand of dollars).
As for the solar timetable issue, remember this is not my house, and I don't plan to work for these people forever. Asking them to change the
timers themselves is beyond their preferred level of involvement.
So, sorry for the thread-jack, there, but I couldn't help myself. Now, to finish things off, I'll ask for some off-topic help: if anyone knows of
a good Venetian plasterer in the San Francisco area who will do repairs, send me a PM! :)
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On 14-Nov-2005, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

That's the one I used. Yes, you have to have all three (hot, neutral and ground) in the box - it isn't a simple two-contact switch. You can't get it to work otherwise. I bought it because it could handle flourescent lights (or motors etc) with high loads. He does know what he's talking about.
Mike
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I assumed the three-wire part was true. The part I'm iffy about is the "check with the bulb manufacturer" bit, making me wonder what the real story is on handling *compact* fluorescents. (I already knew about regular fluorescents, which the T1034 is capable of handling as well.)
However, when I went to install the switch today, I noticed a blurb on the back of the packaging which refers directly to compact fluorescents, and answers my question better than the Aube rep:
"Total load must be at least 40W when using compact fluorescent lights. For loads less than 40W use Aube's T1033 or T1035."
So there you go, Doug, or anyone else looking to use compact fluorescents with one of these. If you've got 40 watts of CF bulbs wired (quite a bit, I know), the T1034 (or T1032) will work. Otherwise, you'll have to go with the T1033/5.
Since I'm using all incandescents, I easily surpass the min load, so the T1034 is fine. The install today was uneventful. Programming interface is okay, but I don't really like it as much as Intermatic's. There are also fewer programming choices than you find with the Intermatic, such as the "auto random" feature. On the plus side, the unit is flush with the wall plate, and generally less conspicuous. Still, I'd say that as a whole, I think I prefer the Intermatic so far, aside from the whole, break-after-two-months issue.
As for whether the Aube will win out on that front, only time can tell....
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

But, what if there's no neutral in the box?
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

I have been using the non-solar version with CF's and it works fine -- I had checked with Aube before to confirm.
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From Aube's FAQ (www.aubetech.com):
"Can compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) be used with Aube switches? Aube's TI032-3W and TI034-3W have a 40 W minimum load-the total load when using low-watt bulbs must be at least 40 W. For loads under 40 W, use Aube's TI033 or TI035."
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I am using the TI035.

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I just picked up a TI034 and am using it with CFL bulbs without problems (I have three lights on that switch, so the 40w minimum isn't really a problem).
My only complaint with the Aube solar switches is that they turn on the lights right at sunset - it'd be nice to be able to turn them on around 20 minutes after sunset (around here there's at least 20-30 minutes of twilight when it isn't really dark).
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On 11-Nov-2005, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I have used Aube, but my experience is limited to two units and only for a relatively short time (I sold the house I used them in). I had no problems with the units, FWIW.
Mike
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com says...

I actually have one of the EJ500's controlling some indoor lights, and would consider it for my outdoor lights except I want to use compact fluorescents, and the EJ500 doesn't work with them (it says so pretty clearly in the instructions and on the box). Other than that, it works quite well. Unlike the SS7 and SS8 timers, it's completely silent, and doesn't require a AAA battery. It does have a watch battery in it to maintain settings during a power failure, though. It works exactly as advertised, and hasn't failed on me yet (it's about a year old).
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Oh, I guess I should mention there are a couple of other comanies making similar switches.
I found them in this thread, which brought me to this forum in the first place.
http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_frm/thread/9639924629463be5/79da96b689931c2d?lnk=st&q=EJ500C+fries&rnum=1&hl=en#79da96b689931c2d
The links for the switches are
http://www.grasslin.com/pdf/et724.pdf http://www.smarthomepro.com/1122.html
The Grasslin one appears to be the same as the Aube. The Leviton I've seen, but I really don't like the interface. Thought someone looking here might find these useful, though.
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http://groups.google.com/group/alt.home.repair/browse_frm/thread/9639924629463be5/79da96b689931c2d?lnk=st&q=EJ500C+fries&rnum=1&hl=en#79da96b689931c2d
Gotta be careful, though. Some of these little toys lose their program if there's a power failure. Some even become stupid if the light bulb burns out. Unbelievable. You might want to check the web sites for downloadable instruction manuals before buying.
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The problem I've had is that those models won't work with compact fluorescent bulbs, and are more comparable to the Intermatic EJ500 than to the SS7/SS8 timers.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Yeah, I always check manuals online before buying, now. Best way to find out what you're gonna get. In fact, I just looked again at the manual for the Aube unit, and was shocked to find this:
http://houseonhawthorne.com/TI034.jpg
Now, if the world ends, I'll know what probably caused it....
But seriously folks, thanks for the feedback on the switches. I may try posting this in the alt.home.automation forum, as well. As for my own experience, I've now decided to do my own testing. I just got the Aube switch I ordered in the mail, Intermatic is sending me an EJ500 to replace the failed SS7, and I'm going to try the repair recommended in Christian's link. I'll install all three, and see how they do.
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I love it! :-)
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I've also had a lot of problems with these Intermatics. I have gon through 3 different EJ351C's, an SS7, an SS8, and now I am on m second SS8 unit. They last anywhere from 6 to 14 months, and then w get the dreaded "No Op" failure error msg. I am getting really tire of replacing these $&%#*@& switches
On the other hand, it's great to know that others have had simila problems. I was beginning to wonder if I did something wrong in th installation or if there was something wrong with the building' wiring
Please let us know if someone finds a better replacement out there
Thanks
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

I installed about 5 Aube 600W timers in my house. I like them a lot better than the Intermatic for the following reasons: - They sit flush with the switch and look like regular Decora switches (other than the LCD window) as opposed to the Intermatics which stand quite proud and have a goofy clear door and visible buttons
- They have a built-in rechargeable battery to hold time during a power failure as opposed to the Intermatics which require you to change the battery every year or so
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