Product Type: Masterplug gadgets
Newest Review: ... house keys over to family and burden them with the task of doing it either. These timers are also useful for possibly deterring would-b... more
Save the planet...and your purse
Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timer
Member Name: Mildew82
Masterplug TM24 Mechanical 24 Hour Timer
Advantages: Cheap, reliable, saves energy
Disadvantages: Bulky, fiddly to program
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.
Summary: A cheap, reliable and handy device to save energy and money
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