A time switch (also called a timer switch, or simply timer) is a device that operates an electric switch controlled by a timer.
Intermatic introduced its first time switch in 1945, which was used for "electric signs, store window lighting, apartment hall lights, stokers, and oil and gas burners." A consumer version was added in 1952.
The switch may be connected to an electric circuit operating from mains power, including via a relay or contactor; or low voltage, including battery-operated equipment in vehicles. It may be built into power circuits (as with a central heating or water heater timer), plugged into a wall outlet with equipment plugged into the timer instead of directly into the power point; or built into equipment.
A sleep timer is a function on many modern televisions and other electronic devices that shuts off the power after a preset amount of time. The setting is usually made either from the remote control of the device or the device's menu. They are intended to allow viewers to watch as they fall asleep.
The mechanism may be mechanical (e.g., clockwork; rarely used nowadays), electromechanical (e.g., a slowly rotating geared motor that mechanically operates switches) or electronic, with semiconductor timing circuitry and switching devices and no moving parts.
The timer may switch equipment on, off, or both, at a preset time or times, after a preset interval, or cyclically. A countdown time switch switches power, usually off, after a preset time. A cyclical timer switches equipment both on and off at preset times over a period, then repeats the cycle; the period is usually 24 hours or 7 days.
For example, a central heating timer may supply heat for a specified period during the morning and evening every weekday, and all day on weekends. A timer for an unattended slow cooker may switch on automatically at a time and for a period suitable to have food ready at mealtime. Likewise, a coffee maker may turn itself on early in the morning in time for awakening residents to have fresh coffee already brewed for them.
Timers may do other processing or have sensors; for example, a timer may switch on lights only during hours of darkness, using a seasonal algorithmor light sensor. Combining the two allows a light to come on at sundown and go off at midnight, for example.
An astronomical (or astronomic) timer calculates dawn and dusk times (tracking the sun position) for each day of the year based on the latitude and longitude (or just north/central/south and time zone on more cheaply made ones), and the day of the year (month and date), programmed by the user upon installation in addition to the usual time of day, except in the case of GPS enabled astronomic timers wherein all programming is fully automatic. This eliminates the need for a photocell (which may be repeatedly triggered on and off by the light which it operates) or for repeatedly re-setting a regular timer for seasonal changes in the length of day or for daylight-saving time. This allows exterior lighting like a porch light fixture to be controlled by simply replacing its indoor wall switch, or doing the same for a lamp in a dark interior corner (away from a window) by simply plugging-in a self-adjusting lamp timer.
Time switches can be used for many purposes, including saving electric energy by consuming it only when required, switching equipment on, off, or both at times required by some process, and home security (for example switching lights in a pattern that gives the impression that premises are attended) to reduce the likelihood of burglary or prowling.
Among applications are lighting (interior, exterior, and street lighting), cooking devices such as ovens, washing machines, and heating and cooling of buildings and vehicles.Built-in automatic washing machine controllers are examples of very complex electromechanical and electronic timers cycles, starting and stopping many processes including pumps and valves to fill and empty the drum with water, heating, and rotating at different speeds, with different combinations of settings for different fabrics.
A digital timer switch, also known as an electronic timer switch, seamlessly integrates semiconductor components for precise timing and a digital display format to present timing information in a user-friendly manner. Typically presented as a display panel or digital readout timer, this device offers high programmability, empowering users to customize timing sequences according to their specific needs.
The scope of applications for digital timer switches is broad and impactful. From controlling lighting systems to overseeing the operations of various electronic and electrical devices, these devices serve as versatile automation tools.
The advantages of using digital timer switches are noteworthy. The ability to automate tasks translates to increased efficiency and convenience, liberating users from repetitive actions such as toggling switches or adjusting timers. Notably, these devices promote energy conservation by allowing scheduled operations, thereby minimizing unnecessary power consumption.
In essence, digital timer switches are essential components in modern automation and control systems. By seamlessly blending accurate timing with user-friendly digital displays, they play a pivotal role in enhancing various facets of daily life.
An IoT-enabled time switch is a smart device that allows users to control and automate the operation of electrical appliances or systems based on a predefined schedule. This technology combines the functionality of a traditional time switch with the connectivity and intelligence of the Internet of Things (IoT).
At the core of an IoT-enabled time switch is a microcontroller or microprocessor that manages the scheduling and control of the connected devices. The time switch is connected to a local network or the internet via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or other wireless communication protocols like Zigbee or Z-Wave. This connectivity enables the time switch to be controlled and monitored remotely through a smartphone app or web interface.
The time switch can be programmed to turn on or off a connected device at specific times or according to a set schedule. For example, a user could program the time switch to turn on the lights at a certain time in the morning and turn them off at night, or to activate a heating system at a specific time before the user arrives home from work.
Some advanced features of IoT-enabled time switches include the ability to monitor energy consumption, adjust schedules based on local weather conditions, and integrate with other smart home devices like smart speakers or home security systems. These features allow users to optimize their energy usage, increase comfort, and enhance the overall security of their homes.
In summary, an IoT-enabled time switch is a smart device that combines the functionality of a traditional time switch with the connectivity and intelligence of the Internet of Things, allowing users to control and automate the operation of electrical appliances or systems based on a predefined schedule.
X10 is a protocol for communication among electronic devices used for home automation (domotics). It primarily uses power line wiring for signaling and control, where the signals involve brief radio frequency bursts representing digital information. A wireless radio-based protocol transport is also defined.
A thermostat is a regulating device component which senses the temperature of a physical system and performs actions so that the system's temperature is maintained near a desired setpoint.
A cam timer or drum sequencer is an electromechanical system for controlling a sequence of events automatically. It resembles a music box with movable pins, controlling electrical switches instead of musical notes.
A dimmer is a device connected to a light fixture and used to lower the brightness of the light. By changing the voltage waveform applied to the lamp, it is possible to lower the intensity of the light output. Although variable-voltage devices are used for various purposes, the term dimmer is generally reserved for those intended to control light output from resistive incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). More specialized equipment is needed to dim fluorescent, mercury-vapor, solid-state, and other arc lighting.
A timer or countdown timer is a type of clock that starts from a specified time duration and stops when reaching zero. A simple timer is an hourglass. Commonly, a timer would raise an alarm when it ends. It can be implemented as hardware or software. Stopwatches operate in the opposite direction, upwards from zero, measuring elapsed time since a given time instant. Time switches are timers that control an electric switch.
An electrical ballast is a device placed in series with a load to limit the amount of current in an electrical circuit.
A battery charger, recharger, or simply charger, is a device that stores energy in a battery by running an electric current through it. The charging protocol depends on the size and type of the battery being charged. Some battery types have high tolerance for overcharging and can be recharged by connection to a constant voltage source or a constant current source, depending on battery type. Simple chargers of this type must be manually disconnected at the end of the charge cycle. Other battery types use a timer to cut off when charging should be complete. Other battery types cannot withstand over-charging, becoming damaged, over heating or even exploding. The charger may have temperature or voltage sensing circuits and a microprocessor controller to safely adjust the charging current and voltage, determine the state of charge, and cut off at the end of charge. Chargers may elevate the output voltage proportionally with current to compensate for impedance in the wires.
Building automation(BAS), also known as building management system (BMS) or building energy management system (BEMS), is the automatic centralized control of a building's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electrical, lighting, shading, access control, security systems, and other interrelated systems. Some objectives of building automation are improved occupant comfort, efficient operation of building systems, reduction in energy consumption, reduced operating and maintaining costs and increased security.
A lighting control system incorporates communication between various system inputs and outputs related to lighting control with the use of one or more central computing devices. Lighting control systems are widely used on both indoor and outdoor lighting of commercial, industrial, and residential spaces. Lighting control systems are sometimes referred to under the term smart lighting. Lighting control systems serve to provide the right amount of light where and when it is needed.
Standby power, also called vampire power, vampire draw, phantom load, ghost load or leaking electricity refers to the way electric power is consumed by electronic and electrical appliances while they are switched off or in standby mode. This only occurs because some devices claimed to be "switched off" on the electronic interface, but are in a different state. Switching off at the plug, or disconnecting from the power point, can solve the problem of standby power completely. In fact, switching off at the power point is effective enough, there is no need to disconnect all devices from the power point. Some such devices offer remote controls and digital clock features to the user, while other devices, such as power adapters for disconnected electronic devices, consume power without offering any features. All of the above examples, such as the remote control, digital clock functions and—in the case of adapters, no-load power—are switched off just by switching off at the power point. However, for some devices with built-in internal battery, such as a phone, the standby functions can be stopped by removing the battery instead.
Philips Dynalite is a lighting control and automation system developed in Sydney, Australia by John Gunton in 1987.
Universal Powerline Bus (UPB) is a proprietary software protocol developed by Powerline Control Systems for power-line communication between devices used for home automation. Household electrical wiring is used to send digital data between UPB devices via pulse-position modulation.
An occupancy sensor is an indoor device used to detect the presence of a person. Applications include automatic adjustment of lights or temperature or ventilation systems in response to the quantity of people present. The sensors typically use infrared, ultrasonic, microwave, or other technology. The term encompasses devices as different as PIR sensors, hotel room keycard locks and smart meters. Occupancy sensors are typically used to save energy, provide automatic control, and comply with building codes.
The Internet of things (IoT) describes devices with sensors, processing ability, software and other technologies that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the Internet or other communications networks. The Internet of things encompasses electronics, communication and computer science engineering. Internet of things has been considered a misnomer because devices do not need to be connected to the public internet, they only need to be connected to a network, and be individually addressable.
Load management, also known as demand-side management (DSM), is the process of balancing the supply of electricity on the network with the electrical load by adjusting or controlling the load rather than the power station output. This can be achieved by direct intervention of the utility in real time, by the use of frequency sensitive relays triggering the circuit breakers, by time clocks, or by using special tariffs to influence consumer behavior. Load management allows utilities to reduce demand for electricity during peak usage times, which can, in turn, reduce costs by eliminating the need for peaking power plants. In addition, some peaking power plants can take more than an hour to bring on-line which makes load management even more critical should a plant go off-line unexpectedly for example. Load management can also help reduce harmful emissions, since peaking plants or backup generators are often dirtier and less efficient than base load power plants. New load-management technologies are constantly under development — both by private industry and public entities.
Voltage optimisation is a term given to the systematic controlled reduction in the voltages received by an energy consumer to reduce energy use, power demand and reactive power demand. While some voltage 'optimisation' devices have a fixed voltage adjustment, others electronically regulate the voltage automatically.
Homes typically have several kinds of home wiring, including electrical wiring for lighting and power distribution, permanently installed and portable appliances, telephone, heating or ventilation system control, and increasingly for home theatre and computer networks.
Smart thermostats are Wi-Fi thermostats that can be used with home automation and are responsible for controlling a home's heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. They perform similar functions as a Programmable thermostat as they allow the user to control the temperature of their home throughout the day using a schedule, but also contain additional features, such as sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity, that improve upon the issues with programming.
A staircase timer is an electrical switch used to control lighting on a staircase, corridor or lobby. A single action turns on the lights and they remain on for long enough to ascend or descend the stairs. The lights then turn themselves off automatically.
A twilight switch is an electronic component that allows the automatic activation of a lighting circuit when natural light drops in a given environment. Among a large number of uses, the most common is to enable automatic lighting of streets, roads, highways, roads, gardens, courtyards, etc., when sunlight drops below a certain level.