sunrise

An Early Review of Biobrite's New Sunrise Controller

Back in April (2011), the old SunRizr and SunUp controllers became difficult to find online. With these out of production, there wasn't really a good alternative for people who wanted a dawn simulator that could control an existing lamp (rather than a built-in lamp). Biobrite has just started selling the "Sunrise Controller", which will hopefully prove itself a worthy replacement. At a quick glance, I'm happy to report that the Sunrise Controller actually includes several features (snooze, backup audio alarm, and power back up!) that were missing from earlier controllers.

Because it's so new, there's not much information available yet (as of this writing, there are only 2 reviews at Amazon, both are 5-stars). I normally don't like to write about products that have so little information available, but given that Biobrite is a solid company that's been doing this for awhile, I'd like to provide a little information on this alternative for people that need a controller for a lamp. This page will be updated as more information becomes available.

Note: The Biobrite Sunrise Controller does NOT include a lamp - you must supply this yourself.

Caveat: In the past, sunrise controllers were recommended for situations where you needed a brighter light than what you typically get with a sunrise simulator. This controller (per the Amazon page) is limited to 75-watt light bulbs. And, you'll want to avoid CFLs. They typically don't handle dimming well, and may die altogether, if you try to use them in a dimmable appliance.

See the Biobrite Sunrise Controller at Amazon.com...



Models

There's currently only one model of Sunrise Controller available:

    - Biobrite Sunrise Controller



Concerns

- Lamp Restrictions: You must use a 75W (or lower) light bulb. Previous lamp controllers would not work with fluorescent lamps, CFLs, energy efficient bulbs, low-voltage bulbs, or any lamp connected to another dimmer. It's likely that this controller has the same limitations (I will confirm if I can find a definitive statement.)

- FM Radio Sound Quality: A common complaint of most dawn simulators is that the sound quality of the radio is rather poor. Because this product is so new, and has so few reviews, I don't know how the sound quality will be. Given what I've seen on most other dawn simulators, however, you should be aware that there's a good possibility that the sound from this controller will not be extraordinary. It should, however, be good enough to wake you up.



Features


The controllers we've looked at in the past were extremely basic devices that were limited to just controlling the light. I'm happy to report, the newest controller actually acts much more like a fully functional dawn simulator.

- Adjustable Sunrise and Sunset Times: You can select how long it takes to fully brighten/darken. Options: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes.

- Backup Power: You're covered for short power outages. I haven't seen a specification on how long the controller lasts without power, but it's good to know that a short power flicker in the middle of the night won't wipe out your alarm settings.

- Backup Audio Alarm: The backup audio alarm is helpful to make sure you get up when you need to. (This is one of those "must-have" features for most of us.) You can choose to wake up to a beep or to the FM radio.

- Security Mode: While it's not spelled out, "security mode" *usually* refers to having lights turn on/off randomly throughout the day, to give the impression that you're home while you're away on vacation. This isn't required for an alarm clock, but is a nice feature if you travel often.

- Snooze: No details yet on how it works, but no alarm clock would be complete without a snooze funtion. Thankfully, this controller has it.

- FM Radio: FM Radio with 3 presets. More would be nice, but 3 is better than none.



User Comments


"This SunRise clock plugs into my favorite bedside lamp, so I can use a bulb of my choosing that is bright enough to wake me AND bright enough to read by. It has a nice quality radio and loads of features that are easy to program and use. The display is very cool, and easy to read with large digits. "
- user on Amazon.com, 2011



See the Biobrite Sunrise Controller at Amazon.com...