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Open Letter About A Timer

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

I just sent this email to Woods Industries/Coleman Cable, and thought I'd share my experience with anybody else who cares to read it. I'm in the middle of remodeling my bathroom, and I'm replacing all the outlets and light switches. I thought it would be a good idea to replace the fan switch with an automatic shut-off timer, so I can turn it on when I take a shower and have it stay on for a few minutes after I get out of the shower, then turn itself off without me having to think about it. I like it when things work the way I want without having to think about them. Anyway, here's what I sent them.


After purchasing an Intermatic FD2HW timer and attempting to install it in my bathroom to control the fan, I eventually gave up and instead purchased a Woods 60 minute countdown timer. I wanted to let you know that I have found the Woods timer to be a superior product in every way, except for one.

First and foremost, the Intermatic timer comes with four holes on the sides, and two separate screws. Unlike a standard outlet or light switch, which come with permanently attached screw terminals, I was supposed to screw these in myself. There was no indication on the timer body itself, but the directions indicated that the screws should be installed on the left side, not the right, even though there are holes on both sides. After I had done this, I tried to push it into the electrical box, but it looked like the screws might be sticking out far enough that they could potentially make contact with the box itself - and since it's an older metal box, that would be a problem. However, this problem quickly disappeared as something inside the timer broke and one of the screw terminals fell off.

I tried ignoring the directions and attaching the screw terminals to the right side of the timer instead of the left, where they were not in danger of touching anything, and carefully finished installation. The plastic knob was so tight that getting it to go on was a chore, and it still stuck out at least 1/8″ from the cover plate.

Unfortunately the directions were correct, and after flipping the breaker back on, the fan did not work at all. At that point I decided to buy the Woods timer, which a local hardware store had on clearance for about half what I had paid for the Intermatic timer on eBay. I then discovered that the plastic knob which had been so difficult to get on was nearly impossible to remove; I was barely able to do so without breaking something.

The Woods timer comes with flexible wires attached, which I easily connected to the old stiff copper wires with the included wire nuts and some electrical tape. The included screws that mount the timer to the box are Phillips heads, while the Intermatic timer came with annoying flat-head screws. The plastic knob was easy to attach, and the timer mechanism itself is easier to turn and does not make as loud a ticking noise as the Intermatic timer did.

All in all, a vastly more enjoyable experience and I am quite pleased with the results... but I did say there was one problem:

The only timers the hardware store had in stock are light almond, and I wanted white. Could you please send me a white knob and cover plate for a 60 minute timer? Let me know if you can do this, and I'll provide my mailing address.

Thank you!

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