* Prices may differ from that shown
My husband and I work random shifts on random days and sometimes this means that our home is left empty throughout the day or night. As we have a cat and also tropical fish we like to ensure that there is always a light on at home during the evenings so that our home has the appearance of one with someone inside both to potential burglars and for our cat.
In the past I found that my cat would seem unsettled and a little grouchy if I came home during the night or in the morning and this was improved greatly when she had a lamp on in the lounge with her as she didn't have to squint when I opened the door to come home and turned the hall light on. This might seem like a small thing but coupled with the want to deter potential burglars from trying to force the door I decided to leave a lamp on during the evening hours to make it appear as if someone is home.
Mechanical timers are widely available of course for the purpose but I actually purchased this Masterplug TM24 one. The reason that I have these particular ones is that I was able to pick up 3 from Robert Dyas in a multipack for just £7.99. This is very reasonable and has allowed me to use one for the light on our tropical fish tank, one for a lamp in the living room and one for a lamp in our bedroom. These are available separately for about £5.00 each which is reasonable enough for effective it is but I do love a multibuy bargain!
This timer is quite simple to look at and use really. It is basically a large plug with a plug socket on the front bottom of it and then the actual timet part itself. There is also a sliding switch on the side too. The timer on this is a 24 hour one of course, as the name suggests, with numbers from 1 to 24 with black lines to represent each 15 minutes. The middle of the timer does not move and has an arrow on it so that you can move the outer part clockwise as needed to set it to the current time, then to choose the actual time that you want the timer to come on you find the corresponding times and then you press down the little black clips behind the time, the timer will then be active when it hits the beginning of the black section and when it reaches the end it will shut off again and turn off the appliance that is plugged in to it. The sliding part on the side of this timer is then slid in place to turn on the timer. You will want to plug this in to the wall, turn on the timer, turn on the lamp and turn on the plug socket that the timer is turned in to. Of course if you use your lamp without the timer then the lamp will need to be turned back on again to ensure that the timer can work successfully. There is a light to allow you to see that the timer is turned on also which is always good.
I found that to set this up I needed to do it rather than relying on my husband because he said that the black segments were too fiddly and small and so I ended up doing it with my more lady sized hands. This is simple and quick to set up and if I need to make any changes then I have no problems at all doing that. I would definitely rate this 5 out of 5 stars as it is simple to use, if a tiny bit fiddly for the larger handed person, and it works. The timer always turns on the appliance or lamp as needed at the required time and it always turns off too. I don't have any worries about this causing a problem while I am out of the house and I like knowing that my cat is not sitting at home in silence and darkness. This alone makes it worthwhile for me but we also use one with our fish tank to keep the light on for a set amount of hours and during a set time. This works very well for us and I have nothing but good things to say about this mechanical timer. I really like the peace of mind that comes from using this product as I like knowing that my home looks like it has someone in it when I am not there and that my fish have the light that they need.
When there is no one in my house due to some reason or another, either away on holiday, late back from some form of meeting or another, family days out or even the dreaded visit to the in-laws, I like to try and make it look as though there is actually someone in my house, and not a burglar either, (although the dog wouldn't have to be fed for a while if a burglar got in...so that could save on pet food!!)
Anyway, to help me achieve this mystical matter of things like switching a light on when I'm miles away from my house I have invested in what are called 'Timer Switches'... I have tried training the dog to flick a switch on and off at certain times of the day but I can't get the watch to stay on his leg so he forgets what time it is... so it's timer switches...
There are plenty of timer switches on the market, some costing almost as much as my annual home insurance premium, whilst other only cost a few quid, and it is the latter of the tow that I have chosen to use to help keep the lights on in my house, even when there's no one at home... (people say that about me sometimes but I don't know why..?)
One particular timer switch I have been using for a bit now is a simple looking and even simpler to use one called the Masterplug TM24 mechanical 24 hours timer, which is so simple to use that even a monkey could set it going.
What does this timer look like...?
It's a rectangular shaped device about 75mm wide by 130mm deep and about 200mm high, so it does stick out of the wall socket a fair bit.
It looks pretty straight forwards. On one side there is a standard plug that goes into a household plug socket. Then, on the other side there is the timer controls themselves, which consist of a dial with numbers imprinted onto it and a three pin plug socket below this.
The timing dial has a series of numbers on them which represent the time in a 24 hour clock style, with the hours of 18 to 6 having a black line over the tops of them. This represents the dark hours from 1800 hours, (6pm) to 0600 hours, (6am).
Then there's a curved arrow on the inner dial, although this is technical not a dial as it doesn't turn around, but this shows the only direction that the dial can turn. Then, also on this dial, there is also a little triangle that is where the timing part of the other dial should be placed, according to the actual time it is.
What about using it then..?
To set it up you simply have to flick out the black segments according to the time you want, for example, if you want your lamp to come on at 6:00pm and to go off at 10:00pm then you have to flick out the little black segments that are between the 18 and the 22, leaving the other segments where they are. Thus, when the dial rotates around to the 18 the first segment that is flicked out pushes in the little switch and the flow of electricity comes through the device, turning the lamp on. Then, when the last segment passes over the switch the flow of electricity stops and the lamp turns off.
Then, once you're happy with the time settings, you plug in what ever you want on timer into the front socket, then plug the timer plug into the wall socket in your house, and, with the flick of the 'on' switch on the wall socket the timer will start to click happily along, slowly and patiently rotating as a clock usually does.
If you flick the switch on the side of this timer then this will bypass the timer purpose and will act as a 'normal' plug.
How does it actually work..?
It plugs into a socket on your wall, which you then plug a standard plug into it, such as a lamp or what ever you want to come on at a set time. Then you use the little 'sections' which surround the dial to indicate the time you want the device to come on, for how long and when to turn off. Once it is plugged into the mains, and the power is activated, the dial begins to keep track of time with a reassuring, yet quite low, ticking noise to let you know that it is actually working.
Apart from th e ticking noise there is a little red light just to the right of the plug which lights up when the timer is actually in use, be it either when the switch on the side is activated or when the timer segments have 'kicked in'.
If the electricity supply is cut off then the dial stops turning and will have to be turned manually when you want to use the timer next time.
This timer basically works using a simple dial function, with the outside having the little black segments, which are used for setting the timer, whilst the inside dial is used for setting the time. Put them together and you have got yourself a timer.
The black segments pull out when you want the timer to come on, pushing the little catch up which allows the electricity to flow through, and when the segments are pushed in the little catch stays out and the electricity stops flowing.
Plus, if you want the device to remain in the socket you can bypass it by using the switch on the side which turns the device from timer to plug... if you know what I mean.
In life some things should be simple to use whilst being as useful as the air that we breathe, and this particular device is one of those simple yet useful device that most people will use at least once in their lives.
I tend to use mine when I am either going on holiday, maybe even when we're away for a few days or even when we're going to be late back from somewhere, basically, when the house is going to be empty for a while and we want to make it look like there's someone in.
I rather like the little switch on the side, the one that turns the timer action off and allows the device to be basically used as a plug, as it really comes in handy letting me keep it plugged in so that the dial keep turning, keeping the correct time so that I don't have to adjust anything.
And you know there's power going through the timer when the little red light comes on.
It's not at all technical, with no flashing lights and gyrating gizmos, and to be honest it's more guess work than skill due to the fact that getting the exact time is probably never going to happen, although you may get close to it, maybe five minutes either side. But you will get close enough to a time so that what ever is plugged in will come on or go off roughly when you want it.
The way the segments are pulled out means that you can set what ever is plugged into it to come on and off anytime during the 24 hour period that it is plugged in
There are a lot of those little black segments, but I haven't counted them as every time I do my eyes go funny and my brain starts to hurt; there must be about a hundred of them and they slide in and out pretty easily, although if you've got fingers like mine you may knock one or two either side of the one you want a few times before you get the timing you want.
So what about the price for this...well, for this security device which may well put off burglars from entering your home due to the fact that they may think that someone is in..?
Well, it sells for around a fiver, which, considering that your household goods are worth a lot more if your house is in total darkness when a would-be burglar walks passed, is well worth investing in, maybe even getting a few for around your home.
In all, it's ideal for those smaller devices in the home, such as radios, stereo systems and other like those, and my favourite items, which I especially use them for, are lamps, which I like to have coming on at set times when I'm not in so that my house looks occupied even when we're not at home.
We live on a planet where the desire for modern conveniences is seemingly at its highest and yet the resources to facilitate this are ominously diminishing, hence the need for selfless energy conservation. Instant light and heat are twothings that I for one take for granted every day and probably an area in which many of us could lower our energy consumption with a conscious effort and that is where the "Tesco Energy Saving 24Hr Mechanical Timer" comes in. It is a ridiculously simple device that acts as a gateway between your main power supply and any electrical appliance of your choosing allowing you to choose the times that you switch that appliance on. There is a clearly marked switch on the side which allows you to change this device from acting as a timer to being permanently on (and thus redundant but it does save you constantly removing and replacing it) and a neon indicator on the front which lights up a bright red colour to indicate activeness.
How it works is with a two level dial system. The first dial is split up into 24 hours with 15 minute interval markers in between which you twizzle round until the black arrow points to the current time (or as close as you can get since accuracy is a tad difficult given the tiny space between each 15 minute marker). The second dial is attached to the first dial in a stationary fashion and consists of matching blocks to each 15 minute slot on the first dial, so 96 blocks in total which can be set in an up or down position. They are very tiny blocks and fat fingers/blunt nails may cause some difficulty in getting your intended blocks down without slipping to surrounding ones and so it may be a little frustrating if you are searching for precision timings (although, I cannot really imagine a situation when you would need it to be so acutely accurate, perhaps an evil experiment in a secret laboratory where regular bursts of mutating electricity are required to create zombie sheep but you can't be bothered to hang around?). This dial system slowly rotates in a clockwise direction with, as you'd probably expect, a 24 hour cycle time (though I suspect not with the same precision as an atomic clock), and the device simply turns itself on and off as the blocks pass by the black arrow depending on the position you set them at.
The most obvious uses to me for this device (using as many as you want around the house) is to act as a burglar deterrent and having your lights, or maybe TV, or whatever appliances you think best to trick potential thieving sods turn on for however long you want to give your home that lived in feel. I personally use this device during freezing cold winter months when despite one's best efforts to not switch the heating on, the threat of hypothermia is too strong and one must succumb. My room is unaffected by the central heating and remains a constant igloo, so I set this device to turn on my heater about 30 mins before I have to leave my hibernation to get my room toasty warm which makes the start of my day just a bit brighter during those dark and depressing months.
There are a few limitations to this timer - it is not designed to exceed a resistive load (using current conversion to energy) of 13 amps / 2990 watts or an inductive load (using magnetic fields) of 2 amps / 460 watts so it's worth checking the specifications of whatever appliance you intend to control, and also this device is apparently not compatible with high current appliances with heaters or motors in, as well as energy saving bulbs. I'm not too sure what will happen if you try with any of these , perhaps the timer will simply cut off, perhaps a fuse will blow, perhaps there will be a catastrophic fire or perhaps nothing, but I felt wary enough to avoid committing accidental arson to actually put this to the test. My advice, err on the side of caution. Another issue is, though fairly light, this device is pretty bulky in nature (D = 12.5cm, H = 20.5cm, W = 7.5cm) and if you are using it in a plug bank it can be a squeeze to get a plug to fit in next to it, and I'm not sure it's possible, even if you do manage to get the connectors to fit in the socket enough to actually work, not to expose some of the pins which would be a bit of an electric shock hazard if you're careless, so a bit of a nuisance if socket space is limited.
On the plus side, this device, although very simplistic, is very reliable and does exactly what it says on the tin and turns itself on and off just as the blocks dictate it and I have no cause for complaint in that respect. I have had occasion to switch this device to its permanently on state, more recently when it was so cold with the snow and I needed heat to live, and even after hours of use this device stays nice and cool, with just a little hint of heat around the socket area, so I would feel comfortable leaving this device...umm...to its own devices whilst you were out without fear of house destroying conflagration.
So, at £5 or under, this is a cheap, reliable and handy device for energy saving / burglary preventing purposes, but can be quite fiddly in setting and adjusting your timings - hiring a small child with tiny fingers may be your best bet. The alternative to the mechanical option is a digital one which is more expensive at around £12 with the "Owl Digital Plug In Timer" as an example (so mass buying would be better with the mechanical), but it is less bulky width wise at 5.7 cm compared with 7.5 cm so you may have less issue with neighbouring socket space, digital will be more accurate than mechanical blocks so you can be more accurate with your timings if so required and you can have, in this example, up to 9 different programs meaning you won't have to fiddle with tiny blocks to adjust your program. A useful, reliable device, and despite the annoying way to program with tiny blocks, I'm happy using the mechanical over digital as I'm a cheapskate.
==Masterplug 24 Hour Mechanical Timer==
With these dark nights seemingly getting darker and earlier, there is one thing that I really don't like happening and that is coming home to a dark and empty house. Of course it being in the dark means that no one is home and everybody knows it, which is another thing I really don't like.
So with this in mind I knew that I needed one of these timers for my plug which would come on around the time that the darkness started drawing in and the time that I would usually put the lights on when I am home. The Masterplug Mechanical Timer jumped out at me on the shelves as not only was it far cheaper than the more modern, and probably more accurate, digital plugs but it was also a name that I recognised and felt it was worth paying the £3 price tag that Tesco had on it at the time of purchasing. Yes, a few more pounds would have got me a basic digital one but I didn't want to pay any more than I needed and if this did the job then that was all I wanted.
The plug itself is very basic and easy to use and even though I had seen these before I hadn't used one but after reading the brief instructions on the backing of the cardboard covering it was easy to understand and I had no trouble at al in setting the hours when I would want the lamp to come on.
The unit itself is basically like a large plug with the three metal pins at the back and a clock type dial on the front. There are little black plastic pegs in a round clock type area on the front of the plug and these can be moved up or down. One black peg on the clock represents 15 minutes so there are a fair few to change when setting times.
When deciding what time I wanted the lamps to come on I chose 3.30 till 11.45 and therefore I needed to push down all the black pegs that run through from 3.30 till 11.45 and this would ensure that the lamp (as long as it was switched on by the bulb) would come on and go off at the right time.
There is still the option to override the Masterplug by just using the on and off switch on the light/lamp that you have plugged into it but you must always make sure that you have turned it back on again in order for the plug to work at the right time.
The plug is a really great little item and I have never had any trouble with using the timer or it not coming on. My mum has a digital one and she is always having trouble with it which makes me think I did the right thing by choosing the older style mechanical one rather than a digital one.
All in all I can't find anything negative to say about this product. It was a relatively cheap and affordable product which works really well and is perfect for this time of the year. I think nothing but a top score of 5 out of 5 stars and a high recommendation is deserved.
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
Many thanks for taking the time to read.
Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timer
Before going on holiday I always set my 24 hour plug so that a couple of lamps come on for a few hours on the evening. The police gave me a leaflet with the slogan, "turn a light on, turn a burglar off." I was quite taken with this crime prevention advice and from then on, I have always used this type of gadget.
*Price and availability*
The Master plug timer costs around £3.99 and I have seen them stocked at Wilkinson's for around £1.99.
*Description and how to use*
The device sticks into your normal three pin UK plug socket. At the front are three pin holes, for you to plug other electric items into the device, there is also a timer face to control the timing. The device works as a circuit breaker and acts as an on and off switch for whatever item you want it to control.
The timer face is a round disc with lots of black segments around the outside. Each small black segment is equal to fifteen minutes in time. These blocks of time represent how long you want the timer to come on for and for what length of time. The inner section has numbers up to 24 and represents the hours in the day. Firstly you need to twist the inner section to the correct time. So if it is 11:30 now, I would turn it to 11 and then half way between 11 and 12. If I wanted the timer to come on at two in the afternoon until 6 pm, I would push down 16 black segments between the numbers of 14:00 and 18:00.
To activate the timer there is an on/off switch at the side of the device. Once this is on, the device will control the appliance and it will not come on until the set time. The on/off switch also means that you do not need to constantly unplug the device if you want the appliance on, it over rides the time delay function. This is really useful as it means it can constantly be left plugged in.
These timers are very useful tools and I really prefer coming home to an empty house with a lamp on. I know that it is not very green, but it makes me feel much safer. Although my instructions are a little complicated above, the device is really easy to set. You can have the lamp turning on and off every hour if you wanted to throughout the night, it a simply a matter of clicking the segments down. There is so much scope for what you could use it for. I have never done this but you could even use it to turn your dryer on in the night so that you are using cheaper electricity for example.
It is really easy to use and easy to set, despite it being a little bit fiddly for cumbersome fingers! My only concern is that the device is quite big and takes over the plug socket area, if you have two sockets you will struggle to fit something in the empty socket as this device is quite big and ugly looking!
For the price, I think these are good value for money and much less complicated than the new fangled digital timers. I have bought my parents a couple of these for when they go away as you can pick them up at such a cheap price these days.
I have in the region of 20 mechanical timers, over half of which are these Masterplug ones, all used to regulate the day/night cycle for many of my pets. I got mine from various places, but the best I have found is a local independent hardware shop where they are sold for £2.49 each. Since I use so many of them this was brilliant, as I've seen them for anything from £4-£7 in many other places. Which is a bit crazy in my opinion, as you can get an accurate digital one for about £7-8.
They are made of white plastic and have a dial with a 24 hour clock on it. Around this dial are lots of little black 'teeth'; it is these that are used to set the times of operation. You push the teeth down until they click, starting at your start time all the way around to your end time. So for example, I use mine generally 8am-8pm giving my animals 12 hours of 'daylight', so the teeth are pressed down from 8 to 20. There are increments of approximately 15 minutes on the dial, which you may find useful, but they are not hugely accurate.
Once you have your times set, you turn the clock face dial around so the small black solid arrow is at the current time, plug it in, plug your appliance into the timer (making sure any inline and wall socket switches are on) and you're sorted. There is an indicator light to alert you of the power status and a large hollow arrow to indicate the direction in which the dial will turn, don't try to turn it the other way or you'll break it!
They work brilliantly, in that they do indeed switch things on and off around the times you set. I have found though that they seem to lose time after a while and need reset to ensure they are operating at the times you want, if specificity is needed. I have put this down to a combination of possibly being nudged (if they are not in an out-of-the-way place), changing the current time accidentally so your set times will be knocked out of kilter as well, and potentially inaccurate counting - for example, a minute by a digital stopwatch may only be 55 seconds or so by the timers counting. I can't say for sure if this is the case though, but it does appear to be with some of mine that are in out-of-the-way, un-nudgeable (it's a word!) places. It's not a problem though as it only significantly changes your settings over a long period of time.
They are also quite bulky - I use them in extension leads, and I can't have two of them next to each other. Luckily though, I can fit another un-timed plug in between them easily (I put aquarium heaters/heatmats or filters in these spaces, as these need to be on 24/7). You could of course use one timer switch to plug an entire extension lead into and all appliances plugged into the extension would be controlled by the one timer, but this is not practicable for all of my setups.
Of course, you can use them in the rather more normal way, for killing power to your appliances to ensure you don't forget to take anything off standby. It also means you don't have to faff around switching off wall sockets; a big advantage as many of your sockets may be behind furniture or such. Just move it once to get this in there and you won't have to worry about it for a while. A really useful tool to help you save that little bit extra through not wasting power.
I have also seen them used to turn lights or the TV on while people are away on holiday, therefore making it appear that the house is actually full and not empty. So potentially a useful security tool as well.
In many years of using these, I have never had one just stop working, or break in any way so I think they are excellent value, especially if you find them for a good price! I couldn't live without my timer switches as it would take me ages each morning and night turning on/off all the pets' basking and UVB lamps. They also allow me to disappear for a few days if needed without having to organise a petsitter for my weird and wonderful crew!
All in all a highly useful product, and in my opinion the few negatives are nothing more than a minor irritation, and not even one that requires immediate attention. In my eyes these are essential bits of kit for exotic animal keeping (particularly large collections), and very recommendable otherwise.
I live in a relatively rough area, and I'm always worried about about going on holiday or leaving my house unattended for a long length of time. Remembering an article I had read that listed interior lights being on as the number one deterrent to burglars, I set about finding a cost effective way to have them coming on and off, without my poor neighbour, already lumbered with my menagerie of pets, having to pop in and out every evening.
When I saw this little device in my local supermarket for less than a fiver, it seemed just the job. A reasonable chunky slightly off white device with a large dial on the front, and a number of small black switches, each representing 15 minutes. There is an on/off switch to one side of the plug, and a small LED that shows whether it is turned on or not at a glance . You plug this device into a normal plug socket, and then plug the advice you wish controlled by the timer, directly into this.
Setting the time was easy,(especially as the product does come with clear instructions) a matter of twisting the dial to the correct time, and then pressing down the little black buttons for the times you want this to operate. The product itself is quite large, and makes using the second hole in my plug socket impossible to use as it obscures it, but this isn't a major issue when going on holiday, as I unplug most appliances anyway.
I actually have five of these - as I live in a two bedroom family home, I thought it might actually look daft to the burglars on my estate, if only one bedroom light turned on and off the whole time I was away. I actually had fun setting up a little routine with the lights - the living room light comes on as it begins to get dark, around 8pm in summer, and stays on until around ten thirty. Meanwhile, at 8.30, approaching my daughters bedtime, I have the bathroom light turn on for around 15 minutes to allow for teeth brushing, and then the television in her bedroom goes on for half an hour.
Meanwhile, back downstairs, at around 9.30pm the kitchen light turns on for half an hour (to mimic cup of tea and a snack time) and at 10.30 the living room light goes off, and the main bedroom light goes on!
Perhaps I have over-thought all this, but I think I did a pretty good job of making the lights mimic my families usual routine, and happily, despite being away for over two weeks, nothing happened to my house at all. An inexpensive, easy to use product that offers great peace of mind - recommended.
On the rare occasions that our house is left empty overnight I like to leave a lamp on in the dining room on the back of the house so that there is some light showing through the front window without it being obvious that the light is on in an empty house! I also leave another one in the bedroom to come on and go off at the normal times that I would be going to bed if I was in the house.
So, to do this I needed a couple of plug in timers and the ones that I chose were the Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timers. I have had mine for some time now so I can't remember how much I paid, but looking on the Internet I find that I could get a pack of three for just £7.99 from Robert Dyas.
What does this timer look like?
The timer is basically a plug at the back with a socket at the front so that it is plugged into the socket in the wall and then your lamp is plugged into the front of the timer.
It is made from strong white plastic and it is about 12 cm tall, 7 cm wide and 2½ cm deep plus the additional depth of the attached plug of course.
Above the socket on the front of the timer is a twenty four hour dial which is the business bit of the timer. Some timers use little pins to show where the power will come on and off which is a bit of a pain as they can get lost but this one has a better design in my opinion.
So tell me about the timer itself
As I said the top of the device has a white dial representing a twenty four hour clock and this measures 5½ cm in diameter. The clock is divided into 15 minute intervals shown by black lines with the hours shown by bold black lines together with numbers so it easy enough to see the times on it.
The centre of this dial is fixed and has an arrow on it which points in a clockwise direction to show which way the outer ring needs to be turned when setting the timer. It also has a solid black arrow pointing at the numbers on the outer dial.
Behind the clock dial is a further black ring of little segments one for each fifteen minute interval of time.
How do you set the timer?
In order to set the timer you first need to decide which periods of time you want the light to be on and find that time on the dial. You then have to press down the little black segments corresponding to that period of time.
For example if you wanted the light on between 9pm and 11pm each night you would find 2100 and 2300 on the timer and depress all the segments between these two times. You can set the timer to come on and go off as many times as you want to within the twenty four hour period. The timer has no facility to change the times for different days - once it is set the timer will come on and go off at the same times every day.
Then you need to rotate the outer white ring until the time level with the solid arrow matches the present time.
The final part of the process is to plug the timer into the socket on the wall, plug the lamp into the timer and switch on the timer, the socket and the lamp.
The timer itself is switched on by means of a sliding switch on the side of the unit and when it is on a little light will be visible on the front of the unit to the right of the socket.
How will it work?
As time progresses the time dial and the ring of black segments will rotate keeping the correct time.
When the depressed segments are level with the current time the lamp will switch on and when those segments pass the current time the lamp will switch back off.
Gosh, this is difficult to explain and I am probably making it sound a lot more complicated than it actually is! Sorry about that, but if you take a look at the picture at the top of this review the explanation should make more sense (I hope!)
How did I find it?
Well, I think it is a brilliant device!
It is a bit fiddly to set as the little segments are just that - little - but I found that using my finger nails to depress the segments solved that problem.
The whole thing does feel a little bit wobbly when it is all set up with the lamp plug attached but I have never had any problems with it coming out of the wall socket at all so that must just be the unusual weight distribution of having two sockets plugged into one another.
As far as I know it always works perfectly although obviously by definition I am not there at the time! Before I first used the timer I tried it whilst I was at home so I could be certain that it was working correctly and when I have been out and have arrived home in the evening the light has been on as set.
The timer operates with 250v - 50Hz and conforms to BS1363 and the instructions say that it can be used to run appliances overnight. I have also heard of people using them to switch on electric blankets while they are out so that the bed is nice and warm when they get home.
Maybe I am just over cautious but I would never use my timer for anything other than my lamp and I would certainly never have an electric blanket switching on when I wasn't there to monitor it in case of any problems!
Well as a cheap burglar deterrent it gets five stars from me and I wouldn't be without mine!
I picked up one of these timer switches for free from the Police stand at my freshers fair 2 years ago and it has been very useful ever since.
It is made of a solid white plastic with black switches on the front to set the time for it to be on and off. There is a small red LED that lights up when the attached appliance is on. On the side there is a small flick switch that can turn the appliance always on or just on the timer mode. It measures 12cm x 7cm x 2cm, has space for one appliance to be plugged in and can be plugged into any standard British plug socket.
I didn't really use this much during my first year as I lived in halls and didn't have to pay for electricity so I could leave a light on without having to think of the bill. As I moved into a house I have used it a lot more as I have to think of the electricity bill now! If I am a away from the house for a few days, I will plug it into my lamp and have it turn on and off during the evening to help prevent burglaries. Whilst I am around, I set it to turn on in the morning when I have to get up so I can see what I'm doing. This is very helpful at the moment as it is still dark when I have to get up and so it saves me from waking into things! The timer can be set to 15 minute intervals of being on or off and it is very easy to set.
To set it, you first set the time by turning the whole dial to the correct time. To then set the appliance to turn on, you press down the small black switches at the times you want. You then flick the switch on the right to the bottom and it is done. It is that simple. At first I found it a bit confusing to use as I accidentally threw the instructions away, however after fiddling with it, it was sorted easily.
Time switches can be bought from most shops now quite cheaply and for the security and uses they can provide they are invaluable. If you are going away for a few days and don't want anyone to know you are gone, then buy a few of these and get them to turn lamps or radios on and off at intervals. An easy way to help prevent burglars.
I will give this 5/5 as it is an excellent gadget that has many uses around the home.
This review may also appear on Ciao under the same username.
Everywhere you go these days, people are talking about saving energy and measuring consumption and energy companies are in the news for raising prices and mis-selling.
Electricity is something we all consume and you can now get a number of different devices to tell you which appliance is using how much electricity. Simplest of all the gadgets are these basic timers which allow you to set fixed times for the switching on and off of appliances. It makes sense to regulate when appliances are switched on and off rather than have to remember when to switch things on and off manually, especially difficult if you're not going to be there.
We bought a set of 3 of these a few months back as 2 of the ones we did have were not working. I got the blame for that because I was supposed to have set them properly before we went away so as to make any passing burglar think there was someone at home. The reality is that these don't help much for that, as any burglar worth his salt will find other ways of finding out if you are in or not. However, if it provides my wife with some peace of mind, then it's worth it to not have her rabbitting on about it all the time.
I paid £7.99 for these in Homebase or one of the other DIY places as I recall, yet I note that these are now available from Sainsbury's for £4.99 for three. Grrrrr!
They are of course quite straightforward to use, yet I suspect many folk mess up by getting the basics wrong:
* You need to set the time accurately, remembering to differentiate between "Night-time!....Daytime!"
* You need to make sure that you have set the on/off intervals as you want them
* You need to make sure that you have set the switch to Timer (there is a manual override as well)
* You need to make sure that you switch the appliance on so that the timer does its job (if the table lamp is not switched on, this little device is not clever enough to walk across and switch it on for you)
My advice to anyone using these prior to going away is to bring them into use the night before you need them to work so that you can be sure you have set them up properly.
I have been using one of these more recently to switch on an oil-filled radiator in our bedroom an hour or so before we generally climb the wooden stairs to Bedfordshire. I do this because,, due to the price of oil, the central heating is used less and unless it's very cold we use the Multi-Fuel Stove in the snug in the evenings and oil-filled radiators in the kitchen and bedroom.
So far I have had no issues with these units but others I have bought from other manufacturers have stopped working in the past, so I shall just have to live in hope.
The Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timer is a handy gadget that enables you to switch near enough anything on and off as long as it can be plugged in to an electrical socket. Having bought a set of three of these I must say they are a very neat little thing to have.
The set of three timers was less than £10 to buy and I think that individually they retail for between £3 to £4 or so. I have seen similar timers for less than this but cannot really vouch for their reliability over a long period of use.
The idea of the timer is that, say you wanted the lamps in your home to be on at a certain time, perhaps to welcome you home in the dark winter months, then you could plug in one of these and set it to switch on your lamps at the desired time. You can use them to switch on and off a variety of gadgets and appliances in and around the home and the workplace too.
Some dish washers and washing machines are able to be set to start their program at a certain time of day or night, but they would be sat in stand by mode even when the wash program ended. By plugging them into one of these timers they could be timed to switch off just after the end of the run program. This increases safety in the home and decreases your energy bill too.
These are really good to have at home and can even be used to switch lights etc on and off whilst you are away, which will give your home a little bit of added security and you some extra piece of mind.
The way you set the timer is really easy. It has small segments around the outside of its round face. Each small black segment is equal to fifteen minutes of on time for the item you want to program. All you do is decide how long the you want the lamp, washing machine, tv etc, on for and select the right amount of 15 minute segments.
To set a lamp to go on for an hour at nine push down the right amount of segments (which for an hour total 4) starting at the correct start time which is shown on the face in the 24 hour clock.
Then just plug the timer into the socket you wish to use, carefully setting the timer arrow to the correct time in 'real' time. In other words if its 4pm when you plug in and set the timer, set the time beside the arrow at 4pm, set the timer program as discussed above and then switch on the socket. It really is as simple as that.
This is one of those items which every household seems to need at some point and it is really important for it to work as you'd expect.
When I was going on holiday over the weekend I decided as many people do, to leave the house with a timer plug so that plants could be watered each day, lamps would come on in the evenings etc. I now have several of these timers in my home.
The masterplug is very easy to use, there is not much to it really you spin the dial to select when the the plug will allow the current and when it will stop. I've had several of these in the past and they can be flimsy and fall apart in your hands but this one seems reliable and will last some time.
Due to its build you can be assured that it will do its job rather than worry about its functioning while away.
This performed as needed without any problems and we now use them for out fish tank and plants and non we have have ever failed.
These are exellent little items, it is good for when you want to go away from home and no allow the burglars to think nobody is at home, they can be set at the time you want them to allow your lights on, they are exellent to time something to come on at a certain time, not just for lamps, they do not cost alot of electricity, they are cheap and economical to run, they are ideal for setting a slow cooker to start at a certain time as sometimes the cooker is on too long if you are out of the house for a long period of time, like I have been known to be, and I used to work 12 hour shifts and I did not need to set this device as my wife was at home but some other people may find it good for that.
I paid about £8.99 for mine a couple of years ago but I think they are a little bit more now, they can be bought at argos, I bought mine from there but they can be found at supermarkets or www.amazon.co.uk.
On the front it has a plug socket to plug your plug into and it has a dial on the front to just move around to the time you want it to start from, it is easy once you have done it once, but sounds complicated.
It comes with all the details of how to do the timings and the recommendations for what can be used with it, it just plugs into a main socket and then your other plug, just goes into the device from there.
It is a nice little device and I would recommend anyone to buy one to keep the burglars at bay and to let other people think someone is at home.
Everyone should have a couple of these around their house. What can it be used for; well for a start I time my heater to come on at a certain time in the morning. My dad uses it to record some of his favourite radio shows, and he also uses it as a security measure when he is out of the house. It can turn the tv on at a certain time or lights to discourage a breakin. They are cheap and very easy to use, they are also quite similar to many oil timers up and down the country which most people are familiar with. They also have a switch that enables you to bypass the timer function and simply have the device turned on or off, this means you do not have to constantly unplug the timer. If you decide to buy this you will buy more and have many uses for it I am sure
Our road has just set up a Neighbourhood Watch scheme and as a consequence we have definitely become more security conscious in our house. After attending a meeting with the local Neighbourhood Watch officer, my husband thought we should get a timer plug so that a couple of our lights could turn on and off even if we are not at home. He went off to the local Focus store and came back with this Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timer for which he paid just less than £10.
Now I'm a bit of a technophobe and my husband has a tendency to put things off, so having bought the timer it actually sat on a kitchen unit still in its packaging for a couple of weeks. Eventually, I thought that 'enough is enough' and surely it could not be too difficult to set up so I thought I would give it a go. Unsurprisingly, I guess, it really was very simple and I actually got it to work just by following a few basic instructions!
The instructions are really quite minimal and are to be found on a small piece of card so don't get rid of the packaging before you have found them. There are only about three things that you need to do. First you need to place the timer in the socket and attach the appliance that you want it to control. IT's important to note that this gadget can only be used indoors though. This is simple to do but the masterplug is actually wider than a normal plug by a fair bit so it can cause difficulties if you want to place it in a double socket because it will probably render the other one useless which is a bit of a shame. Ours is placed in a four socket extension lead and we can't use the one next to it. It would be fine in a single socket though.
The timer face is a round disc with lots of black segments around the outside. Each small black segment is equal to fifteen minutes. You push down the segments to show when to start and how long you want the appliance to run for. For example, as it is the summer at the moment, I have set a lamp to come on at about nine pm and to go off at about 11.30 pm which means that I need to have pushed in ten consecutive segments. It's quite tricky to be exact as each segment is quite small and with big fingers it is quite hard to tell how many you have done but it's not an exact science anyway. I guess that you could use something like a skewer or an orange stick in order to be a bit more precise but I don't really think it's too much of a worry! I think that you could also programme the masterplug so that an appliance, such as a radio, could come on twice in a day although I have to admit that I have not tried this yet. I can't see why that would not work though.
Finally, you have to make sure that the timer is set to the correct time which you easily can do by turning the disc in a clockwise direction. To activate the timer there is an on/off switch at the side of the plug. Once this is on, provided your appliance is switched on at its normal point, it will not come on until the set time. Having set it all up, I waited with baited breath last night to see if the light came on when I wanted it to and it did! And, believe it or not, later on it turned itself off - just like magic! The on/off switch is very useful too because if I want to use the lamp at a different time of day I can just override the timer without having to actually remove it.
I was really impressed by how easy this is to use and how effective it is. And I do think that at less than £10, that is not a great price to pay for a little extra security. I definitely recommend it!
To find out more you can visit the website at
24 hour operating cycle / Ideal for home security / Neon power indicator with disk timer control.