Digital time switches are versatile and functional pieces of equipment used for the control of ventilation, heating, lighting and watering of gardens in commercial and residential applications that require the programming of the operation according to a daily or weekly schedule. They’re incredibly reliable, precise and durable, and feature on/off cycles that you can choose from in a 24-hour timeframe. Unlike conventional time switches, which use clock hands, digital time switches feature a numeric display. Additionally, they can feature different motion sensors that can turn lights on and off, depending on the time of day. You can program the motion sensors so that they don’t have to be turned on all day, and thus, save more time and energy. However, keep in mind that digital switches are typically more expensive compared to their conventional, analog counterparts.
There are two basic types of digital switches – weekly and astronomical. An astronomical time switch is location-dependent. In other words, the timer needs to know your precise location so it can manage your light fixtures and devices based on the time of day properly. On the other hand, a weekly digital time switch can be preset a whole week in advance. This means that these switches aren’t time-dependent and they’ll only control your devices depending on how you’ve set it. Both switches are easy to install – all you need are a few screwdrivers, connectors, wire strippers and some pigtail wiring.
You can easily fit a digital time switch in a regular wall switch box. Most models come with wire leads that can be directly connected to circuit wires with the help of a wire connector. Unlike their analog counterparts, digital time switches don’t have a neutral wire connection. Some models come with screw terminals that need to be connected with the circuit wires, while others have wire leads that can be connected to the circuit with the help of wire connectors. In most cases, there are 3 wire leads – ground (green), LOAD (blue) and LINE (black). Digital time switches also come with LED screens, making them extremely easy to use. All you need to do is push the buttons on the screen in order to set the time of the day, then you can program the on and off cycles based on your specific needs.
The process of installing digital time switches is similar to installing a regular wall switch or wiring a single-pole dimmer switch. Keep in mind that you have to make sure the circuit that powers the switch box is off before you even start. As briefly aforementioned, you’ll need the following tools – a screwdriver, wire connectors and strippers, and pigtail wires.
The first step is connecting the ground wires. Depending on whether the time switch has ground screw or wire leads, you may have to either find the circuit grounding wires inside the circuit box (if the switch has wire leads), and then use a wire connector to attach the grounding wire to it, or you’ll have to use grounding pigtails to connect the switch to the circuit grounding wires (if the switch has a grounding screw).
Next, you’ll need to connect the LINE wire lead, which you’ll need to use a wire connector to do so. Connect it on the switch to the hot wire that’s coming out from the power source. If your time switch model features screw terminals and not wire leads, you’ll need to connect the feed circuit wire onto the terminal screw. Once you’ve connected the LINE wire lead, it’s time to connect the LOAD one. You can do so by connecting it to the circuit hot wire leading to the appliance or device that you want the time switch to control.
Once you’ve connected all the wire leads, place them inside the box carefully and push the switch into the wall box. Then, attach the mounting straps and the cover plate to complete the installation process. Lastly, program the switch based on your needs with the help of the manufacturer’s directions.
The applications of digital time switches are numerous – you can use them to power pumps, motors and even hydroponic systems. But that’s not all – you can also use them to regulate air-conditioning systems and lighting fixtures. That being said, they can find use in both commercial and residential applications. For instance, if you’re a store-owner, you can use astronomical models to automatically control the window lighting of your store. Automated lighting systems can provide you with power and thus, money saving benefits by turning the lights on only in the evening, when it’s dark outside. Of course, you can also use the time switch to turn the lights off every day when the sun rises. Buying a digital time switch won’t break your bank, and you can save money using one in the long run, regardless of whether you need it for your home, store, factory, company, both outdoors and indoors.