My fountain turns on at the wrong time!
The lights come on too late!
Why can’t this fountain just stay running at the same time every day?!
Are these things you say or hear regularly? Most of the time it’s a simple problem that can easily be fixed! Unfortunately, when you open a fountain panel it can be daunting with all the wires and the sweet hum of electricity pulsing through the panel.
Most of the time the reason the fountain is not turning on and off at the same time is that there has been a power failure and the timer now needs to be reset. This simple resetting of the timer can become more difficult depending on the timer in your fountain. There are three main types of timers for fountains: Digital, Analog, and Solar Eyes.
The digital timer is the easiest and most dependable to use for time control. They can have several settings for on and off for the fountain, so timing is precise. Digital timers use both battery power and main power, giving them less of a chance to go offline. Digital timers do have some drawbacks such as a battery life of a few years, with the upside that they give you exact timing with little to no human error mistakes during set up.
Analog timers usually only use main power. It has the most potential to have improper time setting after a power outage. Analog timers can have multiple time settings, but you can’t be as precise on the exact time if you are trying to incorporate lights. This is because there are usually 15-minute intervals or no markings at all, forcing the operator to guess as to what times are being set. Analog timers are cheap but do have downsides with timing and power failure issues.
The solar eye is a power regulator designed to turn on or off the fountain depending on the time of day and the presence or absence of light. The solar eye is only active when it is bright enough to engage the mechanism and then deactivates once it gets dark. If the weather changes frequently and/or cloudy days are common, this will also cause intermittent power to the fountain and lights. Each fountain is different and when mixing solar eyes and timers you can run into issues such as:
- Getting the exact time of the fountain to turn on and time when using the solar eye is nearly impossible as the seasons’ change
- With some fountain brands, the main timer must be on for the solar eye to engage. This means the lights can’t be on without the fountain running – not a huge deal, however, some communities want just the lights on at night for security purposes
- Solar eyes are fragile and can easily be broken (accident or vandalism), causing the fountain to stop due to no power
- They can be covered, tricking the technology into night mode, this can cause the lights to be on constantly without knowing for days – possibly affecting power usage and utility costs
- Solar eyes have the potential to add more complex repair needs that end up being significantly more expensive and costly depending on the complexity of fountain panels
Overall, keeping it simple is the best course of action. For a few more dollars up front, one can get a good panel with digital timers for both the fountain and the motor. This upgrade usually comes with a better-quality metal panel and superior internal components. Having a good waterproof panel can save long-term repair costs and make your fountain last a few years longer.