Sunday, May 29, 2022

The 3 generations of timer switch plug used in my household

Timer switch plug is a kind of gadget that can easily convert a normal wall socket into programmable timer socket. 

I have been using it for quite a long time, from one generation to another.

Some scenarios of using timer switch plug include:

  • To supply electric power to TV and audio-visual devices in the morning, so that they are well standby to be turned on instantly, and to cut off the power at mid-night.
  • To switch off the air purifier when you go to work, and to switch it on when you back home.
  • To turn on the light at night, and turn off in the morning.
  • To turn off the wall charger power 2 hours after charging.
  • etc.
Here are some photos of the 3 generations of them (front view, side view and back view):

Surprisingly, all the 3 generations are selling at almost the same price in the market now.

The 1st generation only support programmable timing interval of 15 seconds time period, and you can decide during that particular 15 seconds it should be turned on or turned off by toggling its key position to be up or down.

It will rotate and repeat its setting every 24 hours. It has no clock to keep track on the actual time. In the event there is a power blackout, it will stop rotating, and therefore after the power resume, its setting will be offset and you might need to readjust its setting.

The 2nd generation, a digital one, is more advanced. It has an internal clock, powered by an internal rechargeable battery, and its programmable period is up to a week.

With this capability, and its programmable timing interval of 1 second, it is possible for you to set it to turn on and turn off at different timing for each day in the week.

The 3rd generation, a smart plug which I am using now, is even more advanced. You need a mobile app (either Smart Life or Tuya Smart) to control it.

The smart plug connects with the corresponding mobile app via 2.4GHz WiFi network that is connected to the Internet. There is a gateway server in the cloud that link it to your mobile app.

One mobile app can be used to control multiple smart plugs.

Scheduling the time for it to be switched on and switched off is a basic function, available in the app.

On top of that, the smart plug also has the capability to monitor and record down the electric power consumption of the devices attached to it.

Together with the sensors in your handphone accessible by the mobile app, it is possible to program for scenario-based automation, such as:
  • Turn off when you are away (your handphone detected location is leaving the smart plug)
  • Turn on when you are back (your handphone detected location is near to the smart plug)
  • Turn on/off at sunrise/sunset, which will be on different timing during different season
  • Turn on/off when it rains (it can get the weather information from your phone)
  • etc.

It even can integrate with some voice control assistants, including Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, IFTTT, etc. so you can actually speak to your voice assistant and ask it to be turned on/off with your voice command.

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