Remote safelight suggestions needed

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Pieter12

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It is a room with partitions and a tub surround and a cupboard that the enlarger and cart needs to be partially in.
A safelight near the enlarger doesn't illuminate the tray areas and doesn't effectively illuminate the paper cutter.
The safelight that illuminates the paper cutter and tray areas also illuminates near the enlarger - I need it to turn off while I am focusing and dodging and burning during printing.

2 safelights.
 

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Craig

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This one has a remote to turn on and off wirelessly, but it's not automatic - and a lot more expensive.
 
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MattKing

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There are lots of smart phone enabled plug switches which will do something similar.
Ones like this:
But I can't use the enlarger timer to control that.
 

mshchem

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There's got to be something that signals to a remote outlet when it is powered up and a receiver that syncs to the signal and stays on while receiving the signal from the source.

We need to all noodle this. Kinda like a wireless buzzer it only buzzes when the sending unit is energized.

Obviously you want your hands free to dodge and burn, and be able to see what you are dodging.
 

momus

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In my previous darkroom I used a red bulb from Freestyle that was screwed into a pole lamp w/ a piece of Ruby Lith taped over the frosted part of the lamp. Couldn't get any simpler or cheaper, and I loved that I could easily move it around.
 

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Sounds like a relay type of scenario. However, that requires wires. I'm old enough that wireless bluetooth remotes are beyond my capabilities.

Someone may chime in with something.

Is there any way that wiring could be run that won't be tripped over or otherwise be in the way to wire the safelight to be turned off/on by the timer? I'm sure that someone can come up with something.

I work in industrial electronic/machine controls, material handling equipment (Kardex/Remstar or Raymond). Everything is done direct wired, most ethernet or comm bus. Let me think on this and see if I can come up with something.

Matt King, didn't you work in industrial woodworking sales? It seems to me that there was a company that made an inductive pickup that when a machine was turned on, the dust collector was turned on. Not the typical handheld remote, but something that had an inductive pick up. Primarily for smaller shops. It's been too many years for me to remember.
 
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Tim Stapp

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Hear me out. I use X10 but it’s not “fast” so I wouldn’t rely on it for what you’re trying to do.

But here’s the solution:

Flap, string and pulleys.

Run a string to a flap that covers your safelight when you want it covered and opens it when you want the light.

In my darkroom I have a computer running CompnTemp in the rafters behind some Amberlith but you could have a safelight there.

Tied at the end of the string is an X10 remote that I use to turn on and off the white light.

When I lift the string and put the remote in the pocket I made in the curtain… the flap drops and I can use the timer to develop film. With the flap open I can time prints.

View attachment 327205
I designed something similar for dust collection for a customer. Rather than string, it was flat steel stock. Opened one shutoff, closed another. All in an attic space above his shop. While not to code (running dust collection in an attic space is a no-no, hobbiest or commercial as he was) it worked.
 
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This is for a room that I can't modify/drill holes/tape things around the baseboard - thus the need/want for something that works remotely.
I wonder if @Nicholas Lindan has encountered a solution in his enlarger timer manufacturing journey?
 

Tim Stapp

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Sorry, too much wine this evening :smile: Anyway, there has to be a resolution to your problem. I'm fairly new to the darkroom world, but I can visualize your problem. There has to be a fairly simple solution to your issue.

As I said prior, let me think on this. What I mean by this: I have a very good (best)friend that is a custom woodworker. A few years ago, he had a job that involved a young couple that purchased a retired firehouse in Lansing, Michigan that they were turning into a residence. The homeowners wanted doors to cover the 9' tall x 14' opening that the firetrucks used. Stipulation: weather tight to Michigan weather and no visible hardware. No garage type doors, because that would encroach upon the residential space.

Architect and general contractor said; "It can't be done." My friend Steve said "my buddy TIm will find a way.

After weeks of thought and meetings with the owner, I designed a door system that met his needs. His only concession was to allow a deadbolt lock for security purposes. Link shown here: https://www.custommade.com/9-0-x-14-0-douglas-fir-bi-fold-garage-doors/by/theplaneedge/,

Something will come to me. Give me time. Unless, someone comes up with a better solution.
 

Nicholas Lindan

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I wonder if @Nicholas Lindan has encountered a solution in his enlarger timer manufacturing journey?

Amazon - "remote light switches." The ones with a key chain dongle or a remote control might be convenient. Didn't see any that work as slaves to another outlet - not sure there would be much demand over the remote control models.

You could build a relay 'thingy' that would simulate button presses for the remote control. But I think that would be well past the point of diminishing returns.
 
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Craig

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Matt, just for my clarity, do you want the safelight to go off when the enlarger is turned on? Any reason it can't stay on all the time?
 
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Matt, just for my clarity, do you want the safelight to go off when the enlarger is turned on? Any reason it can't stay on all the time?

When it is on, it makes it more difficult to see the image on the easel, which makes a number of things more difficult:
1) adjusting magnification and cropping at the easel;
2) focusing;
3) dodging and burning.
For the first two, I can leave the enlarger on, so it isn't hard to step/lean across the room and manually switch the safelight off, and then later back on.
But for the third step, it is a challenge, because if I leave the safelight on until I'm set up to start the exposure, it is hard to see the image to do accurate burns and dodges, and if I leave it off it is a bit challenging to position myself to accurately start the exposure, plus the difficulty of getting across to the switch to turn the safelight back on after the exposure, for the purposes of moving the print from the easel to the trays.
Amazon - "remote light switches." The ones with a key chain dongle or a remote control might be convenient. Didn't see any that work as slaves to another outlet - not sure there would be much demand over the remote control models.

You could build a relay 'thingy' that would simulate button presses for the remote control. But I think that would be well past the point of diminishing returns.

It is the "remote light switches" that made me think it would be possible.
 

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I need some help finding something that I expect exists out there, but I've not been able to locate.
In my temporary bathroom/darkroom, there are only two power outlets, and they are somewhat separated. In one corner, I place my enlarger and timer, on a rolling cart.
My safelight is great - a 16' red LED rope light that is mounted up against the ceiling. It is over top of both the counter and the tub/shower enclosure, where the trays reside. Onre end of the safelight is within a short extension cord length from the power outlet across the room from where the enlarger is. I currently have a switch on that cord.
My problem is that I would like to have the safelight controlled by the enlarging timer, which has a power outlet for that purpose, but I have no practical way of running the safelight power cord to that corner of the room.
Does the following item exist:
1) "a "base" unit that plugs into the enlarging timer's safelight outlet, and
2) a "satellite" unit that plugs into the other wall unit, and has the safelight plug into it, that turns the safelight on and off when the timer tells the "base" unit to turn on and off.
I wondered if there might be something that is mains powered and designed to remotely control outdoor lights or somethin similar.
I don't want a smart phone controlled switch - I want the enlarging timer to do the controlling.
Cost is important. If it isn't cheap, I'll stick with manual operation of the switch.
Any suggestions?

Matt,

I have been looking for exactly the same thing (same reason and application) and so far have come up with nothing.

If you find something, please post it, I promise to do the same.
 

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When it is on, it makes it more difficult to see the image on the easel, which makes a number of things more difficult:
1) adjusting magnification and cropping at the easel;
2) focusing;
3) dodging and burning.
For the first two, I can leave the enlarger on, so it isn't hard to step/lean across the room and manually switch the safelight off, and then later back on.
But for the third step, it is a challenge, because if I leave the safelight on until I'm set up to start the exposure, it is hard to see the image to do accurate burns and dodges, and if I leave it off it is a bit challenging to position myself to accurately start the exposure, plus the difficulty of getting across to the switch to turn the safelight back on after the exposure, for the purposes of moving the print from the easel to the trays.


It is the "remote light switches" that made me think it would be possible.

Is there a reason you couldn’t have a second small safelight closer to the enlarger that would be connected to the timer?
 
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Is there a reason you couldn’t have a second small safelight closer to the enlarger that would be connected to the timer?

No reason.
I could probably mount one to the top of the column.
But I would still need to move back and forth across the bathroom/darkroom and do the manual turning off and on of the other safelight - sometimes more than once per print if I'm having to use the paper cutter. I'm trying to avoid that.
Matt,

I have been looking for exactly the same thing (same reason and application) and so far have come up with nothing.

If you find something, please post it, I promise to do the same.

Thanks, and if I can, I will.
 

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It's weird, all the components that could be used to implement this idea seem to exist, possibly using WiFi or BlueTooth, there just doesn't appear to be higher level modules to fully implement a plug and play system. Possibly a receiver and transmitter built with those Arduino/RaspberryPi type of modules could make it happen with a relay at the receiver and some simple sensor at the input, but that's a lot of work and expense to get there.

(Maybe one could even perform surgery on a slave flash trigger!!!)

My darkroom vent fan is on the other side of a cinder block garage wall. I was contemplating running a hunk of cable out but then discovered the X-10 folks make a duplex receptacle with one spigot straight through and the other controlled by X-10 relay. Mounted a mini-controller on the darkroom wall with double side foam tape and voila, no need to drill through cinder block. Howsomever, I am not aware of any gizmo to sense the state of an AC output and signal a controller.
 
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I think switching AC outlets are so old school that no-one thinks anyone needs to use them any more to trigger anything remotely.
 

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IMO, the simple way to do this is to use a wired extension cord and an electrical cord floor cover to reduce the trip hazard, like this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Legrand...r-Floor-Cord-Protector-Black-CDBK-5/205485211 (Or just search for "electrical cord floor cover," you've probably all seen these things.)

A problem with trying to use the switched outlet to control a second switched outlet wirelessly is that the transmit device you would plug into the enlarger timer needs to issue the switch command nearly instantly after being powered on. I'm sure a few tenths of a second would be good enough for enlarging work. But the idea of plugging some little device in, like "get an Arduino, plug it into the timer, and then have the Arduino issue a wireless command to the wi-fi controlled switched safelight outlet" ... forget it. You could easily spend a while hacking such parts together and then discover that the time lag to boot the processor and negotiate the wireless connection is noticeable and intolerable. There's a reason people use wired control for reliable connections.
 

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the time lag to boot the processor and negotiate the wireless connection is noticeable and intolerable.

It's neither.
I've built several wireless devices this way, including a remote controlled preamp; any button pressed on the remote starts the microcontroller which latches its power on, sets up wireless communication with the amplifier, issues the command, receives feedback on the success of the command (if within range), blinks an LED and turns itself off. The only thing delaying the stuff is the blinking of the LED which needs to be long enough to be visible. Otherwise the whole afford could easily be done within 10 milliseconds or so.

TLDR: a microcontroller will be plenty fast enough to make no noticeable delay whatsoever. It doesn't take any fancy one either; it is also true for the cheapest, slowest and simplest controllers.

Indeed, this is the solution I would implement, but I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone without experience building microcontroller circuits. There's a significant learning curve involved. Now that is a significant delay.
 

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Matt, buy one of these and screw it into your ceiling light fixture, plug the safe light into it. All you need to do then is turn on the light, pull the chain to turn off the room light and the safelight stays on. When you're finished, pull the chain to turn the light back on and then hit the wall switch to turn everything off.
 

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A problem with trying to use the switched outlet to control a second switched outlet wirelessly is that the transmit device you would plug into the enlarger timer needs to issue the switch command nearly instantly after being powered on. I'm sure a few tenths of a second would be good enough for enlarging work. But the idea of plugging some little device in, like "get an Arduino, plug it into the timer, and then have the Arduino issue a wireless command to the wi-fi controlled switched safelight outlet" ... forget it. You could easily spend a while hacking such parts together and then discover that the time lag to boot the processor and negotiate the wireless connection is noticeable and intolerable. There's a reason people use wired control for reliable connections.
If actually doing it I would be inclined to set up the transmit end to be powered ahead of the enlarger timer (heh, one could even implement a new enlarger timer with the microcontroller) so the transmit end was always ready and just sensing the safelight receptacle output with a plug (and some signal conditioning -- and maybe an opto-isolator). But those worries would be superceded by the amount of "engineering" required to put together a complete system and package it to look respectable and be reliable (and handled in the dark).
 
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