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Thread: MA-51T for heating element?

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2018
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    3

    MA-51T for heating element?

    Hello,

    I installed an MA-51T in a bathroom as a timer for a towel warmer. MA-51T is for incandescent loads up to 5A or ~550W incandescent and the towel warmer is only 150W. From all I can tell, an electric towel warmer with a heating coil should not behave any differently than an incandescent light source.

    Unfortunately, after a few uses the timer stopped working. The internal LED light is dead and it does not turn on the towel warmer anymore. I tested the t warmer and it still functions, so the problem is the timer.

    Should this timer principally work for a heating element (within its Amp specs of course) or am I doing something obviously wrong here?

    Thanks, Chris

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    1,368
    I'm shocked that it worked at all. I would think the MA-T51MN (with neutral) would be a better choice. However, since neither are rated for the load type, I would not recommend it.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  3. Thanks Julia K. thanked for this post
  4. #3
    Authorized Lutron Contributor
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    108
    Hello Chris_W,

    Thank you for your post!

    Our engineering team has confirmed the MA-T51 and the MA-T51MN are not rated for towel warmers/inductive loads. They do not function the same as incandescent or halogen bulbs. We would not recommend using any of our timers with your towel warmer.

    Our best recommendation would be to reach out directly to the towel warmer company to see what controls they have tested and approved to function with their device or use a mechanical switch.

    Julia K.

  5. #4
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2018
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    Julia, thank you for the reply. Would you mind checking with your engineering team again because I donít think towel warmers are inductive loads. There is no motor or fan component. It is purely a resistive load. From Wikipedia:

    ďThe incandescent light bulb is a commonly-used resistive load. Resistive loads are typically used to convert current into forms of energy such as heat. Unlike inductive loads, resistive loads generate no magnetic fields. Common examples include most electrical heaters, and traditional incandescent lighting loads.Ē

    So in that regard a towel warmer with no inductive load, only resistive load should actually be very similar to an incandescent bulb.

    Thank you, Christoph

  6. #5
    Authorized Lutron Contributor
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
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    108
    Hello Chris_W,

    Our engineering team has confirmed:

    While I agree with the customer that most heaters are resistive loads which should not have cause the Lutron product to fail, this particular towel rack is more than just a heating element. It has a thermostat built in so it's a little more complex. It also specifically states in the instructions that "The towel rails must be connected to either an on/off switch (like a light switch) or a 7 day/24 hour programmable timer." https://ambaproducts.com/wp-content/...tion-Guide.pdf The MA-T51 is an electronic timer (solid state switching) while most 7 day/24 hour programmable timers are mechanical (relay/contact closure switching). The mechanical timers are getting their power for the timer from either a neutral connection or pure mechanics, while the MA-T51 relies on getting it's power through the load. Depending on how the thermostat in the towel rack is working it could easily be making an open circuit which would cause the MA-T51 to stop working.

    Hope this helps,

    Julia K.

  7. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    3
    Hello Julia,

    Thanks for checking again. This explanation does make sense. Iíll need to look for a different product then.

    Thanks, Christoph

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