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Sir Sparks
Sir Sparks, President/Owner/ Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2532
Experience:  US State Certified & UK Electrical Contractor for all electrical fields/disciplines
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I have a GE Smart Digital Timer and it only works on Manual.

Resolved Question:

I have a GE Smart Digital Timer and it only works on Manual. I programmed it according to the instructions, but the upper left of the screen always shows "Man". How do I switch it to "Auto" ?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Sir Sparks replied 3 years ago.

Sir Sparks :

A Master Electrician here to help. I am a double qualified; USA & UK electrician. Please give me a moment to formulate a reply.

Sir Sparks :

Please give me the part number of this timer

Sir Sparks :

Also has it ever worked to your knowledge?

Customer :

I don't have a part #. It is a bit of an older vesion of the GE Smart Digital Timer # XXXXX Very similar but the inside panel is a bit different. There is no "clock" button.

Customer :

It has worked for a while, but out of control. I would come home in the afternoon to find it on and wouldn't come on at the programmed time. Weird...

Sir Sparks :

very often people make a mistake installing these GE smart timers. The fact is that most model 3's require a neutral and a neutral is not available in most switch boxes. There will often be a white wire present in the box but this is NOT a neutral. This causes problems and additionally GE timers are not reliable in the long term. A fellow expert here actually had a recorded converstaion with a GE rep who admitted these timers had problems but declined a replacement if more than 12 months old.

Customer :

I see...! If I was going to purchase a new one to replace it; is there a more reliable one you could suggest in a similar format?

Sir Sparks :

I would strongly suggest you change out your timer for an Intermatic ST01 series if this is an in wall timer. Additionally this one does not require a neutral connection which in the GE rep's own words were "House neutrals cause problems"

Sir Sparks :

We get this same issue with GE in wall timers here probably hundreds of times a year.

Customer :

Is this "Intermatic" timer available in most hardware stores, (Home depot) ?

Sir Sparks :

Home Depot sells it in two styles = 7 day and 7 day astronomical. Cost about $20 to $25 US

Sir Sparks :

I think it is ST01A and ST01AC not sure which is which

Customer :

OK. I guess that's the best solution. It has all the components in the box for installation?

Sir Sparks :

Yes everything you will need

Customer :

Sounds good! Thanks.

Sir Sparks :

GE states your problem is due to fluactuations in the neutral current of bad home wiring. I think that is TOTAL BS. They have a bad product.

Sir Sparks :

Thank you for using Just Answer

Customer :

OK then. With the fee I am paying today, will I be able to ask more questions if I need to when I install the new one or does it cover just this one instance?

Sir Sparks :

Normally it is just this one question but if you have questions related to this question (ie the install) then just come back to me and I will answer at no additional charge.

Customer :

O.K. Thanks for your help and have a good day!

Sir Sparks :

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX on "accept" if you are happy with my answer.

Sir Sparks :

Sorry I missed that

Sir Sparks, President/Owner/ Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2532
Experience: US State Certified & UK Electrical Contractor for all electrical fields/disciplines
Sir Sparks and 2 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Sir Sparks replied 3 years ago.

Thanks to fellow expert Mike the below is a transcript of that online Chat with a GE rep;

 

GE Smart Timer This is a copy of a Chat with GE tech services on a failure. 10/22/2010 Matt> Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX can I help you today? Mike> I have 2 smart timer and the displays are blank - dead battery? Matt> It's a possibility; We have seen where too much static/noise in the house wiring can cause damage to switches using a neutral wire. Switches using neutral wires are fairly new and there isn't a filter yet to stop the switch from being affected Matt> I only mention that because it was 2 of them and we haven't had many issues with this timer other than installation questions Mike> If damaged will they be replaced - no charge? Mike> They worked fine for a year. Matt> These timers only have a 1 year warranty from the original date of purchase, so unfortunately they would just need to be replaced. Mike> That's not good. If there is a design problem with noise, shouldn't the warranty be extended? Matt> Our warranty can't cover outside elements I'm afraid. The issue isn't with the timer, it's the static/noise in the house wiring, there isn't anything that can fix that issue on the timer. We are currently looking for a way to make a timer without a neutral wire for houses with older wiring but there isn't one currently on the market and it will be sometime before they are. Mike> Are you still online? Mike> OK I guess the only solution is to get a timer not requiring a neutral connection - correct? Use an Intermatic Timer that doesn't require a neutral connection.

Expert:  Mike G. replied 3 years ago.

GE Smart Timer

This is a copy of a Chat with GE tech services on a failure. 10/22/2010


Matt> Hi, my name is XXXXX XXXXX can I help you today?
Mike> I have 2 smart timer and the displays are blank - dead battery?
Matt> It’s a possibility; We have seen where too much static/noise in the house wiring can cause damage to switches using a neutral wire. Switches using neutral wires are fairly new and there isn’t a filter yet to stop the switch from being affected
Matt> I only mention that because it was 2 of them and we haven’t had many issues with this timer other than installation questions
Mike> If damaged will they be replaced - no charge?
Mike> They worked fine for a year.
Matt> These timers only have a 1 year warranty from the original date of purchase, so unfortunately they would just need to be replaced.
Mike> That's not good. If there is a design problem with noise, shouldn't the warranty be extended?
Matt> Our warranty can’t cover outside elements I’m afraid. The issue isn’t with the timer, it’s the static/noise in the house wiring, there isn’t anything that can fix that issue on the timer. We are currently looking for a way to make a timer without a neutral wire for houses with older wiring but there isn’t one currently on the market and it will be sometime before they are.
Mike> Are you still online?
Mike> OK I guess the only solution is to get a timer not requiring a neutral connection - correct?

Use an Intermatic Timer that doesn't’t require a neutral connection.

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