Communal stair lighting astro timer clocks
Getting a few enquiries about problems with communal stair lighting astro clocks and questions on why they fail. Below is a rundown on the reason why and how they operate.
What are the main problems with astro clocks
- Age:–The clock on the right looks like it should be in a museum . I have found around 50% of the current stair astro clocks are electro mechanical. They are between 40 to 70 years old. Also, there are first generation digital models fitted around 25-30 years ago. Both types are starting to fail.
- Why they fail:-– Well, because its down to wear and tear along with constant use over a long period. The first generation of digital models are failing because they can no longer retain their settings after a power failure. Also, it is usually after a power cut that highlights problems with the clocks.
How a Astro clock works
- Misunderstanding on how they work:–A lot of people think they are just a standard time clock. This is not the case they are set up to track the sunset and sunrise times of the Edinburgh area. They also switch the lights to 50% operation at midnight as an energy saving mode that extends the life of the tubes.
- Digital replacement models:–There are 2 different types of stair lighting systems. So the Astro clocks have to be programmed to comply with EDC,s stair lighting specification that includes energy saving modes.
- How do I know my clock is not working:– If you go to the BBC weather site and type in Edinburgh as a location you will see the sunset and sunrise times. This should give you a rough idea if the clock is working ok
Why can’t I do it myself
Can I fix this problem ? :– This is not a good or practical idea as there are safety implications to think of with regards to electrical work. What if I think my clock is not working :— I would have to complete a survey of the stair. This is free of charge where you get a condition report on your system with costs and options. Beware of handymen and also stair cleaning firms:- I have had to fix a couple of Astro clocks and lights after the local handymen and stair cleaning firm had looked at them. Leaving the customer with 2 bills. The apparent logic is anyone can change a bulb and there is not a lot of the workings of a timeclock. In addition the customer should confirm these guys are insured and competent for this task. The thing is an Astro clock is not the same as the standard timeclock.
Examples of Astro clocks via my Twitter feed