Variety of Timers

Control Intervals with Timers

3 min read

In industrial electronics, timers are used to control processes within a specific interval using input and output signals. There are two main kinds of timer interfaces—analog and digital. Analog timers with excellent visibility by dial operation and digital timers with precise time control by key operation. In this post, we will review both as well as time relays.

Analog Timers

Analog Timers, also known as mechanical timers, are operated by manually turning a round switch, by hand. They are easy to use, as they simply require the user to turn the switch to the desired minute interval. Once the time is set, the designated operation can begin, and the switch will gradually move towards the “0” to count down the minutes. A light will indicate when the time has elapsed.    

While analog timers are durable, they do require regular cleaning and upkeep, as they do have parts that can be susceptible to physical wear during usage.

Fuji Electric’s MS4S Series Timer displaying a turn switch and a compact body.
Fuji Electric’s MS4S Series displaying a turn switch and a compact body.

Digital Timers

Digital timers operate similarly to analog timers but have a numeric interface on a small screen. They can be programmed to work during a set interval of time. When the desired time is set, the timer will display a “countdown” until the process is complete, or when another process begins.

Digital timers are typically sleeker in design compared to analog timers and require less maintenance and upkeep, as they do not need to be cleaned or regularly inspected for wear and damage. They also provide users with a visual sense of time in a quick, easy manner. Unlike analog timers, there is no need to count how many intervals there are between the 5 and 10 minute marks.

However, setting them is not as simple as turning a dial, as they can have several programmable controls and require some instruction in operating them.  

A defining feature of Omron’s H5CX series is a bright, easy-to-read LCD display.

Timer Relay

A third kind of timer that MISUMI carries does not have a visual interface, as it is used internally and is controlled by electrical signals.

Timer Relays do not have coils or moving parts inside the casing, so they aren’t susceptible to physical wear, allowing them to be used in many cycles. This lack of moving parts also allows for a streamlined response time and noiseless performance.

Along with their simple structure, another advantage that timer relays have is that they use up less power than electromagnetic switches when controlling circuits. However, they do require heatsinks or other cooling systems, as they generate waste heat during operation.

Omron’s H3DT series timer can be installed by plugging it into place like a headphone jack.

MISUMI carries a variety of timers from brands such as Omron, IDEC, and Fuji Electric. Explore the selection here.

About the Author

Lois Sarmiento

Lois Sarmiento has been working in the machine technology industry for over 4 years and is a Product Information Specialist on the Industrial Electronics Team at MISUMI. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Chicago with Cum Laude honors.

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