We define time by the ticking of a clock, the sun traversing the sky and the accumulation of wrinkles on our bodies. In industry, time is recorded electronically, and the use of time-controlled electronic equipment has burgeoned in recent years as the digital revolution has swept forward. Controlling the flow of data, managing industrial processes and the simple switching on and off of lights and power supplies are now essential industrial elements that we could not live without.
How many electronic timer units are in your home?
They are little devices that we seldom think about, but our lives would be less ordered if it wasn’t for them being in constant use in our lives. Set the TV or Sky Box to record a programme off the TV for later viewing, and you’re relying on an electronic digital timing device, either in the box, the set or through interaction with the transmission point.
You need to defrost something from the freezer to have it ready to use as an ingredient in a recipe you’re putting together – set the microwave timer for the required time to thoroughly defrost the item. If your egg is to be perfect when you take it off the boil, you set a timer; to make sure you do not sleep in late for work, the alarm clock or the alarm function of your mobile phone relies on a digital timing device for it to operate.
Electronic versus mechanical
Mechanical timers are less precise than their quartz-powered electronic counterparts, though they still have a function in industry and in the home. They are easily set up, and the added advantage is they do not rely on a power supply to keep them going, ideal if you’re working with limited resources.
Electronic timing devices are by their very nature extremely accurate and can be used for a variety of tasks. Keeping the bad guys at bay and deterring would-be criminals from targeting your home, they can be programmed to turn lights on and off at pre-set times. On the other hand, there are more complex timing devices that can be set up to control multiple functions in a business premises or home.
Setting up random operating parameters means you can enable multiple functions, such as lights, heating systems, TV sets and radios, to be turned on and off at random times, giving the appearance from outside that there is occupancy when, in reality, there isn’t.
Controlling the flow of data
Internet service providers and data network control managers are constantly using timing devices to manage the flow of data across their networks, and although they may know a thing or two about their network and the hardware on it, they probably know little about timing devices and how crucial they are to their work.
Even gardeners can make use of electronic timing devices, especially if they have a sprinkler system in use. The use of timers and the different applications to which they can be put to use is almost infinite. Do you have an application or a piece of equipment which requires a new, replacement or additional timing device?
Graham Green is a freelance writer and blogger who is a bit of a gadget groupie, and has since learned a great deal about timer devices and the myriad of uses to which they can be put.