From: Bogdan Karasek on
Hi all,

I recently acquired a GRALAB 505 digital timer and 560 foot switch to
replace my GRALAB 300 analog timer. The reason I switched was that I
wanted to have the use of a foot switch (my third hand) when I am doing
dodging ot burning. I can set up my burning/dodging equipement in my
two hands and set the timer off with the foot switch something that I
could not do with my analog 300. In short, a foot switch seemed like a
good idea to solve a difficulty. Unfortunately, this has created a
nuisance. On my analog 300, I could switch from focus mode (enlarger
light on) to safelight mode with the use of the one toggle switch in the
upper right hand corner. One switch and I could go from one mode to the

With the digital 505, I find that I have to use two switches to go from
one mode to the other. In the upper right hand corner, there are two

Safelight on ----- OFF----- Timer

Enlarger on ------ OFF----- Timer

If I want to focus, I first have to turn the Safelight OFF, then I have
to turn the the Enlarger on. And of course, once I have finished my
focusing, I have to set the Enlarger switch to Timer and use the other
switch to turn on the Safelight so that I can place my paper etc, Then I
have to set the Safelight to Timer and then use the foot switch if I am

Compared to the 300 with the one toggle switch for focus/safelights and
push button on top to start the timer (and at the same time shutting off
the safelights), the 505 seems to be overly complicated; too many
switches to move around.

The question is, am I doing something wrong with the 505 and creating
needless actions or is there a simpler way of doing this on the 505
which would be comparable to the analog 300. I don't have a manual for
the 505.

If I am doing something wrong, could some kind soul set me straight and
explain the correct procedure for the 505?

Thanks for any help.


Bogdan Karasek
Montr�al, Qu�bec bogdan(a)

"I photograph my reality"

From: Nicholas O. Lindan on
"Bogdan Karasek" <bkarasek(a)> wrote

> With the digital 505, I find that I have to use two switches to go from
> focus mode (enlarger light on) to safelight mode [I don't like this]

If, instead, you had purchased a Darkroom Automation f-Stop
timer you could go from focus mode to expose mode with just
the footswitch:

Tap switch: start exposure
Tap switch while exposing: pause exposure, enlarger off/safelight on
Tap switch while paused: resume exposure
Hold switch down while exposing or paused: cancel exposure

Hold switch down: focus mode, turn enlarger on
Tap switch while focusing: end focusing

And, you would have:
o f-stop timing, exposure control that makes sense
o dodging, including multiple dodges - like dodging one area
for 1 stop and another for 1.5 stops
o burning in stops, as many as you want
o progressive burning - unlimited burns within burns
o burns and dodges track changes in base exposure:
dodges and burns are always +/- stops over/under the
base exposure
o Automatic test strip timing with any starting
exposure and increment per strip.

For a lot less money than you spent on the 505 & footswitch:

$159 for the timer, $29 for the footswitch.

And then there's the enlarging meter, and how it works with the
timer, but that would take pages and pages of explanation.

> 505 seems to be overly complicated; too many switches to move around.

Gralab timers are designed for general industrial use. You are
controlling your enlarger with a timer that's really designed
for controlling a baking oven. They put a different decal on
it and presto: now it's an enlarging timer. Of course
it doesn't work the way you want.

Nicholas O. Lindan, Cleveland, Ohio
Darkroom Automation: F-Stop Timers, Enlarging Meters
n o lindan at ix dot netcom dot com