Disappointing Beseler foot switch

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by jvarsoke, Apr 29, 2006.

  1. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

    Sep 20, 2005
    After 10month of eBay alerts for anything with "foot" in the subject line, I've finally succeeded in purchasing a Beseler Digital timer foot-switch. These things are far too rare. And people like to pay insane amounts for them ($75+ on several options) for what they do.

    And now, after hooking it up, I'm really disappointed.

    All it does is mimic the "print" button. That is, you can start the timer with the foot switch (and thus turn the light on) but you can't do anything else with it.

    I thought I'd be able to click it again to turn the light off before the time ended, or maybe turn the like on manually (or is it pedually) while it's in the "off" position by toggling the foot-switch. Would have been very helpful for those quick subjective burns.

    Then again, i guess this will enforce a certain amount of accounting on me, so I'll actually know how much each of those burns were in seconds.

    Ah well. Still helpful. Just not as helpful as it could have been.

  2. Denis P.

    Denis P. Member

    May 20, 2004
    Multi Format
    For the amount you mention, you could have bought/made the whole "computerized" darkroom of the type I have.

    It takes an older Palm Pilot with serial cradle (i.e. Palm V or older, if you're willing to use older battery-powered Palm), an electric relay (which does the actual switching on/off), and a cheap guitar pedal (I paid about $14 for mine, new).

    Illustrations and description can be found on my Web site, HERE.

    The only downside I can think of is that the device can time only full seconds - i.e. you can't program a time of 4.5 seconds - it's either 4 or 5 seconds - but I don't find that to be a problem.

    In short, this solution can be hooked up to ANY enlarger, and the wonderful thing with Palm Pilot combined with Fototimer software is that you can "program" a full sequence of e.g. test strips - i.e. 4 exposures of 2-3 seconds, plus a longer final one. Something like 2s. - 2s. - 2s. - 2s. - 14s. for exposure of 5 test strips, then 10 sec. pause (to remove the strip from the easel), then 2 min. in the developer, then 30 sec. in the stop bath, then about 2 min for the fixing - all chained up and automated, with beeps to warn you of the end of each step, and adjustable pauses in between...

    And it also does what you're asking: one press on the foot switch starts the process, and if you want to stop it before it's run its full programmed time, just press the foot switch again.

    It's worth considering if you really require such functionality. Even if you're not handy with soldering (I'm not really good with that stuff), it's not really complicated to do. My total cost was something like $30-$40 (not including the Palm Pilot, which I already had).


  3. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Sep 25, 2002
    Roswell, Ga.
    Multi Format
    My Beseler timer came with the foot switch so I never had your search problem. The timer is now defunct and I'm using a Unicolor clone of it that the footswitch fit also. Best thing I found for it was to put the switch on the other side of the easel so I can start it from either side, which can be handy if you are dodging or burning a print.
  4. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Sep 30, 2002
    S.E. New Yor
    I use an old Kearsarge footswitch that happens to fit my Beseler timer.

    I agree. The ability to turn off the enlarger before the time is up without using my hands is a feature that I miss every time I burn a print.
  5. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    May 10, 2006
    Aurora, IL
    I use a rather expensive setup but not to me as I got everything free from the stuff I do at work except the PC which I already have. I use a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) connecting to the PC via RS-232. The PC functions as the operator interface which calculate the exposure time (in the f/stop timer fashion) and transfers the time setting to the PLC. The PLC does the actually timing and I can program the PLC to response to my pushbuttons any way I like. I actually don't use a footswitch as I prefer a pushbutton station mounted next to the enlarger. About the only disadvantage is that I have to turn the monitor off before I actually do the enlarging. I don't do much in term of dodging or burning in but what I do is printing 4 4x5's on a single sheet of paper. Each negative would need a different time and I don't want to have to change the time in between each print, so I have 4 buttons and I can set the timer to 4 different time and the timer will time the correct amount of time for each of the button. The pushbutton station also have the selector switch to allow me to turn the enlarger, roomlight on or off convieniently.