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Old 03-05-2004, 04:05 PM
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Timing lights? is quality a big issue?

I'm looking at getting an el cheapo timing light and was wondering if there is a big difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones. I'm not looking at getting one you can adjust the timing stuff on, just a normal timing light.

is there any issues with flash intensity, accuracy, or anything else i should be aware of?

Thanks a bunch guys
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Old 03-05-2004, 04:13 PM
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Dude, Harbor frieght gots those adjustable ones for like 25 bucks. Campared to my dads SNAP ON was exactly the same. Its not as durable but it works as long as you dont drop it.
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Old 03-05-2004, 04:17 PM
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For just flashing and & reading the little white line, any light will work. Quality comes into play when you start looking at the dial back degree setting lights. This has been discussed on this board a couple of times and opinions cover the entire spectrum; some swear by the expensive lights and some swear at them! Ditto for the el-cheapos. My personal preference as an amateur who uses a tool like this maybe once a year is try the el-cheapos first. 99 times out of a hundred the Harbor Freight rip-off version suits my needs perfectly and I saved enough to buy a couple more tools. If it doesn't work, HF has always given me a no-questions-asked refund and I bought a name brand item, usually made in Taiwan just like the HF one! No lose situation. Sure, if I made my living with the tool, I'd call on Snap-On or Mac but that ain't my situation.

I have had my HF dial back light for about 5 years and it works great. Accuracy seems fine, don't know what to compare it to but engines I tune with it run strong w/ no problems. Prior to that I had an el-cheapo HF flash only light for about 10 or 15 years. I'd still have it except it laid on hot headers and melted one too many times and finally was not close enough to the shape of a timing light to use anymore!
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Old 03-05-2004, 05:15 PM
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I use a Snap-On timing light at work and a no-nonsense Craftsman timing light at home. They both get the job done, the Snap-On just has extra features.

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Old 03-05-2004, 06:05 PM
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I have one of the Harbor Freight (cheapo) timing lights. When checked against my friends Snap-On light, it reads two degrees higher (all the way up to 38 deg) so I just remember the correction when using my light.
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Old 03-05-2004, 06:13 PM
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The Sears/Craftsman timing lights are cheap, and they are one of the most accurate lights on the market.

Last edited by lluciano77; 03-05-2004 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 03-05-2004, 09:11 PM
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You get what you pay for.
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Old 03-06-2004, 01:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4 Jaw Chuck
You get what you pay for.
but am i paying for quality, the brand name, options, or functionality?
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Old 03-06-2004, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dubz
but am i paying for quality, the brand name, options, or functionality?
Sometimes a little of each...

Quality - sometimes this is as subtle as the ability for a tool to withstand an accidental drop, how long it will last, etc. My Snap-On light has been knocked around pretty good in it's life and still works great. My Craftsman light at home I am way more careful with and gets used much less, and continues to work fine. I have experienced the biggest quality issues with multi-meters. I have had a MAC digital multimeter for years (probably a Fluke Meter sold by MAC) that has fallen off of fenders, been dropped, etc. and is almost bulletproof. At home I have gone through quite a few cheap meters like Sun-Pro, Actron, etc. and they don't seem to last. One drop and they are done. It's like a cheap DVD player versus an expensive DVD player. They both play the DVD, provide a clear picture, but the expensive unit will probably last longer and have many more options (which is another topic).

Brand name - Well we all know with anything in this world you pay for a name. Many times this is for good reasons, sometimes it isn't. I pay extra when I buy a Snap-On chisel set but I know as long as I don't lose them I will never buy them again since they are lifetime warrantied if one breaks. When you buy a brand name you are buying that companies reputation.

Options/functionality - This is where you find most of the differences in cheap versus expensive. This also varies greatly depending on what you are talking about (hand tools, electronics, etc.). Case in point, the DVD player I already mentioned. I needed to buy one for my kids room so they could watch movies in there room. Not wanting to spend allot of money on something they might break anyway I bought a cheap one at Wal-Mart. They love it, it plays the movies fine, and that is all it needs to do. On the other hand when I needed one for our living room I wanted allot of features so I bought an expensive one. They both play DVD's and provide a beautiful picture but my good one has a fiber-optic output to my surround sound receiver, a ton of optional features, DTS decoder built in, etc., etc., all stuff my kids don't need on their little tv. Neither has broken yet so we will see how long they last. Similarly, my Craftsman timing light is simply a point and shoot timing light. Not nearly as fancy as my Snap-On timing light, but with a little care she still works fine.

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