Sockets with a timer: types, principle of operation, which is better to choose and why

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Elena Nikolaeva
Last update: April 2019

In the context of the energy crisis, the concept of a smart home, according to which all processes are controlled by electronics, is incredibly relevant. Using devices operating on the principle of time relay, you can easily implement its individual elements.

We will tell you how the socket works with a timer. The article presented for familiarization sets out in detail what types of products the modern market represents, how they differ. Based on our tips, it will be easier to choose a smart device.

For a visual representation of smart sockets, the text is supplemented by video presentations and photo collections.

The principle of operation of smart sockets

Automation of a single function or the process as a whole involves the use of sensors that respond and transmit information on the operating parameters to the central control mechanism. But the acquisition of this expensive equipment can not afford many.

Partially solve the issue of automation and power management helps the installation of turning off sockets.

The method of switching electrical contacts in such devices is based on the fact that when the relay is activated, the conductors are closed.

Depending on the type of model chosen and its technical parameters, a smart socket is capable of setting up two types of programs:

  1. Daily - when the process is limited to a period of time of 24 hours.
  2. Weekly - Provides the ability to program the start and finish of electrical appliances separately for each day of the week.

Any home is full of equipment that may require delayed switching on using a 220 V timer. Timer sockets help solve several problems at the same time, i.e. realize:

  • Electrical equipment management. Including a washing machine, pump, boiler, slow cooker ... Automatically switched on sockets can also be used to turn on the lights and heat up the aquarium, chicken coop or animal shed.
  • Lighting control. The automatic inclusion of music and light will help to create the impression and effect of the presence of home owners in the room, which will help to protect the home from the penetration of uninvited "guests".
  • Agricultural Automation. All processes that do not require direct human involvement can be successfully automated, for example, ventilation of greenhouses, caring for pets, watering plants.

Using smart sockets when installing a dual tariff electricity meter allows you to reduce the monthly payments by 30-40%.

During peak hours at the rates of tariff hours, at which the price per kilowatt of energy consumed is one and a half times higher than the usual one, the consumer will simply turn off, at the same time making electricity consumption at night during the hours of the lowest cost of charging.

Auto backlight on
The socket-timer will help in household plots to automatically start the security device, the backlight of the greenhouse and the lighting of the territory at night

Devices of this type are very relevant for lovers of watching TV late, who often fall asleep in front of the screen. Indeed, in addition to the fact that the included TV will consume electricity continuously for several hours, it will also act as a generator of electromagnetic waves, which negatively affect the quality of sleep.

Dual Timer Socket
The socket with a timer, by the principle of operation, is largely similar to a time relay: after the time interval specified by the program has expired, it closes / opens the contacts

Classification of Timer Outlets

In fact, turning off sockets can not be considered as such in the usual sense. Unlike stationary embedded blocks or patch points, they are more like a block adapter. The device combines both an outlet and a timer.

In the case of such a switch, an output power socket is provided for the ability to connect the plug of the electrical appliance, as well as a plug connector, necessary for powering from a stationary point.

There are two pins on the instrument case, similar to those in the electric plug. Power supply to the output contacts in such devices is not constantly supplied.

Closed Point Switching Point
Programmable switching points, operating on the principle of a relay, are designed to provide connection of both household appliances and professional equipment in 220 V

The main criterion for classifying devices is the control range and the type of wire used. Depending on the method of setting the interval, the switched off sockets are divided into two types: mechanical and digital. Each type has its own strong advantages and its inherent disadvantages.

# 1: Traditional mechanical devices

Models that were released half a century ago worked due to the movement of a mechanism consisting of gears. They were driven by a spiral spring. A mechanical watch works on the same principle.

Modern models are equipped with a pulsed low-speed electric motor.

Mechanical instrument contents
Thanks to a pulsed low-speed electric motor, modern models are less noisy, but more dependent on an external source of electricity

The operation of the devices is based on the traditional mechanical scheme for the organization of control and monitoring of the operation of an electrical point. It provides uninterrupted rotational movement of the disk, under the action of which the contact closes and opens.

The input of software data on the operation of the equipment is set by means of individual key segments installed on the case of the timeline. Each of the keys is responsible for the interval entrusted to it in 15 or 30 minutes.

For a day, the timer can be turned on at least every quarter hour. The number of cycles is limited by the discreteness of the time setting, on average it can reach 96 times per day.

The task of the timer is to organize the supply of electricity to the device when one of the segments is pressed. There are samples on sale in which to disconnect the device, the switching buttons need to be “recessed”, and there are those where the buttons need to be raised.

Circular timeline on the case
Most models of the mechanical sample are equipped with a circular timeline, on the outer contour of which there are a number of switching buttons

Using the position switch, the device can be transferred from the programmable mode to normal. Usually it is installed on the side and equipped with a light indication device.

The control principle of mechanical category timers-outlets identified their key drawback. They cannot be programmed for more than 24 hours. This is due to the fact that the rotation speed of a disk equipped with a contact directly depends on the gear ratio of the gearbox, which reduces the number of revolutions of the pulse motor shaft in one minute.

Theoretically, there are ways to force the executive disk to make a revolution not in a day, but in 48 hours. For example: to do this, increase the number of gears, thereby complicating the gearbox, or increase the diameter of the disk itself. But such an upgrade is reflected in the bulkiness of the device, and therefore is practically not used in practice.

Another significant drawback of mechanical outlets equipped with a timer is the dependence of their executive drive on the normal operation of an external power source.

The dependence of the device on the power source
If for some reason the AC frequency will differ from the nominal value of 50 Hz, then the mechanism starts to “run ahead” or, on the contrary, “fall behind”

Although the dependence of the mechanical device on the mains voltage can be considered as a plus. Even with an emergency power off, the mechanism will still execute the specified program, only implements the task a little later.

How to make a time relay for a regular outlet, is described in detail in one of popular articles our site.

# 2: Electronic digital models

Electronic models have a wider range of programming. The number of variations can reach more than a hundred.

The principle of operation of the electronic model
Electronic type devices operate due to relay circuits, which are controlled by a built-in programmable microcontroller

Programming of the device is carried out by pressing the keys on the block, the number of which can be from six to ten. Monitoring the status of the device and its operating mode is carried out through the display.

The executive motor in electronic models is not dependent on an external power source for the reason that it is equipped with a battery that acts as a backup analogue. The battery is able to provide autonomous operation of the device for 100 hours or more.

In the future, in order to recharge such a battery, it is only necessary to connect the device to the mains without load for 12-14 hours.

Electronic device battery
In a situation of emergency power outage due to the inclusion of the battery, the switch does not notice the difference, in any case, closing the contact for a specified period

Unlike mechanical samples, in which the switching interval is limited by parameters of 15 and 30 minutes, switching on can be programmed in electronic devices with an accuracy of two seconds.

Key softkey functions:

  • "Timer" - to enter and confirm data at 12 and 24-hour operation of the device;
  • "Hour, minute" - setting the time in combination with the “Timer” key;
  • "Week" - selection and installation for the week;
  • "Rst / Rcl" - makes cancellation and restoration of the program;
  • "On / auto / off" - selection of manual or automatic operation mode.

Most models have a “Random” function. The function with a floating lead of the timer allows you to turn on the load of the outlet from two minutes to half an hour in an arbitrary order, thereby simulating the presence of a person in the room.

The inclusion of electrical appliances connected through the device is not tied to a specific time, which can confuse “observers” who are trying to find out if there are people in the house.

There are models on the market that support installation, as well as storing off / on modes for individual days of the week. For example, the TM-22 model of the Feron company.

Competent selection criteria

In almost all products of this type, the load capacity is 16 A with a frequency of 50 Hz for an alternating current of 230 V. But some negligent manufacturers, in an effort to save money, use low-quality disconnecting devices. In them, the conductors are not designed for a large starting current because they differ in a small cross section.

Device break contacts
Sockets-timers of dubious production should not be used to control one and a half kilowatt water heaters and other consumers of high power

When choosing a socket with a timer, you should focus on a number of parameters:

  1. The maximum programming time or the range of time intervals.
  2. Accuracy of the device clock and the maximum time error limit when performing switching operations.
  3. Discreteness of setting the switching time (the parameter can be from two seconds to half an hour).
  4. The load capacity of the device (what are the maximum permissible switching currents).
  5. The maximum number of switching programming per day.

All technical specifications are registered in the passport to the product. Note that the active and reactive load of equipment connected via the switch must not exceed the values ​​specified by the manufacturer in the documentation attached to the outlet.

Example: when a heating device with a power of 5 kW is turned on, the current strength will be approximately 25 A, which will be detrimental to a 16-amp socket.

Each of these outlets is endowed with parameters that provide the necessary level of protection. On sale there are models equipped with dust and moisture repellent housingequipped with protective covers and curtains.

Duration of Start Intervals
When choosing a model, pay attention to how many and the duration of the on / off intervals they are designed

When planning to use switches outdoors, you should choose products with a waterproof case, the IP parameter of which is 44, 54 or 65. Be guided by the principle - the higher the IP, the better the protection. Due to the heat and moisture resistant coating of the cases, such devices are able to operate in the temperature range from -10 to + 40 ° С.

Choosing a socket for a home where there are small inquisitive households, it is worth considering the option of acquiring a device equipped with the "child protection" function. Devices of this type are equipped with special valves that prevent direct contact of foreign objects with electrical contacts.

If we focus on manufacturers, the Russian market is most popular with products of leading brands: Legrand, ABB, Berker, Wessen, Schneider Electric.

Options for budget models
From more budget models, it is worth considering products of the Feron Company and Expert brands, which are in no way inferior in quality to European manufacturers

The price range of automatically turning off sockets is wide. The cost of mechanical models starts at 250 rubles and above. Digital automatic sockets-timers will cost from 500 rubles and above.

About smart sockets with remote control and landmarks of their choice, you can read here.

Features of installing turn-off sockets

To program a mechanical outlet, you need to perform a number of manipulations:

  1. Set the current time by rotating the wheel.
  2. Based on the dial, use the segments to set the set time for turning on the device.
  3. Set in motion and connect the device itself to power so that it proceeds with the implementation of the task assigned to it.

The installation principle of a mechanical outlet with a timer for shutdown is identical.

The process of programming an outlet with an electronic timer is more complicated.

Programming an electronic device
Before using the device, you need to study the instructions for it in detail, because the same purpose switches can be very different in the way of programming

Programming of the device is performed in this sequence.

  1. The device is connected to the network so that the built-in battery is recharged. Charging time varies by manufacturer. It is indicated in the passport.
  2. Activate the inclusion and set the current time and day of the week, as well as the way they are displayed. If necessary, they clear the device’s memory using the “Master Clear” function.
  3. Using the programming system 24/7 set the timer. When setting the on and off time, you can put every day or any other combinations.
  4. To complete the mode setting, press the “Time” key again and go to the display with the current time.
  5. Turn on the power outlet and connect the load to it.

When setting up, you need to make sure that the specified programs do not overlap each other. Otherwise, when setting two mutually exclusive settings, the priority will be that which corresponds to the “Off” option over the “On” setting.

So, for example, setting the power supply in the first block for the period from 12 to 22 hours, and in the second on the same day, but from 15 to 19 hours, as a result, the timer will turn on at 12 days and turn off at 19 pm despite that according to the program of the second block it should work until 22 at night.

In general, setting up automatic outlets does not cause much difficulty. For a more correct operation of the devices, one should only not forget to switch the clock in them to winter and summer operation.

Conclusions and useful video on the topic

Clip # 1. The principles of operation of a daily mechanical outlet equipped with a timer:

Clip # 2. Overview of the popular models of sockets with a timer presented for sale:

An automatic outlet with a timer is an inexpensive and yet effective option for automating the power modes of private housing. The acquisition of a digital device is justified when you really need to set complex switching algorithms and automatically run a weekly program.

When you perform the same schedule daily, you should not overpay, limiting yourself to installing a mechanical device with a daily electro-mechanical clock.

We are waiting for your stories about the experience of using smart sockets. You can write a comment in the block below. Here, please ask questions and share the latest news in the field of outlet production with a timer.

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Visitors Comments
  1. Sergei

    The thing, of course, is wonderful, just do not assume that all electrical appliances in the house must be powered through such outlets. Naturally, they are ideal for organizing street lighting. But for devices with high consumption, it is better not to use them. at least my specimen was heated quite strongly during such tests. It is clear that everything depends on the manufacturer, but then it is better to buy such devices with built-in timers.

  2. Dmitry

    For the third year now I have such a socket at home, and I just can’t find any use for it. I do not breed fish, I do not own a chicken coop or a pigsty. All devices have built-in timers. Programming a washing machine and a refrigerator does not make sense. Simulate your presence in the house? Yes, that’s reasonable. But we are not leaving the whole family for long. How do i use it?

    • Expert
      Amir Gumarov

      From household examples of its use - you can, for example, connect a heater to turn on an hour before your arrival from work. To keep the house warm.

  3. There are actually many applications for such an outlet. We took home a TDM socket timer TRE-01-1MIN / 7DN-20ON / OFF-16A. I often forget to turn off the iron, put it on the timer, plug the iron into this outlet and no longer worry that I’m sleeping at home)