Matt Parton, Product Development Manager with ESP and Sangamo, takes a look at the time switches product category and how it is evolving to meet the growing requirement for smarter solutions.
We are living in a time of rapid technological development, with smart homes and the internet of things seeming to dominate the sector.
With the speed of this change and the huge number of smart devices and products being developed, it can be a challenge for electrical professionals to keep up to date with the latest new products and trends. It can also be easy to overlook the traditional products that are still in demand.
With our time switch ranges we continue to see demand for the traditional products, but we have continued to develop the range so that we are also able to meet demand for smarter products and offer wholesalers a choice of products that will allow them to upsell to their customers.
Round pattern time switch
We have been manufacturing our Round Pattern Time Switches at our Port Glasgow factory for over 65 years and have sold over 11 million units in that time.
The installation of a Round Pattern Time Switch (RPTS) used to be a regular job for many electricians and, despite the electro-mechanical time switches being less common today, we still sell over a thousand units each month, both as replacements and as brand new installations.
The Round Pattern Time Switch is trusted by installers for a wide variety of applications, not just because of its reliability but its ease of use.
The simple dial and levers make setting the switch up for daily fixed timings a breeze with no complicated menu options to navigate through. All Round Pattern Time Switches are also 20 Amp rated, providing a more robust switch than most other products on the market.
We regularly hear from people with Round Pattern Time Switches still going strong after 40 and 50 years. When they eventually need a new switch they reasonably assume, because of its age, that it might not be possible to get a direct like for like replacement.
However, because the original design has never needed to be updated, an RPTS you buy today is completely interchangeable with one bought decades ago.
The switches are split into four categories – Basic ‘black dial’ 24-hour time clock for simple on and off switching of up to 20A; Standard 24-hour ‘red dial’ switch with added 100 hour battery reserve; Solar Range – specially designed for lighting applications and Digital Range – the newest addition combines the high capacity and reliability of the electro-mechanical models but provides full seven day programming.
DIN rail and panel mounted time switches
Other options include DIN rail and panel mounted digital time switches that include NFC capability. Near Field Communication (NFC) is a low-powered, wireless communication technology that allows devices to exchange information from just a few centimetres away.
Using the free Sangamo Connect app on an Android NFC enabled smartphone allows you to upload a created programming schedule; download an existing schedule to store or amend, as well as transfer programmes from one switch to another.
This enhanced capability makes this form of time switch so much easier to program and has been exceedingly well received by the industry. Another strong feature of the NFC range of timers is that they will switch up to 600 watts of LED lighting.
The range also includes Astro Switches also known as solar switches, which automatically adjust their on and off times to match sunset and sunrise times. A selection of Standard Switches completes the range. These are often used to control heating, ventilation and door entry systems.
The latest development in this category has seen the addition of a Bluetooth-compatible range of timers to the DIN Rail Time Switch collection.
This range is designed to offer convenience and versatility to the user and broaden the product category reach to a wider potential market, where it will help manage costs in residential, commercial and industrial applications.
It uses Bluetooth technology to programme the timer and is compatible with Android and IOS, and applications include lighting, security, heating, ventilation, irrigation and horticulture.
As well as Bluetooth communication, these time switches feature zero-crossing technology supporting up to 600W LED load.
This technology protects the relay contact and extends service life, therefore helping the lighting controls to match the long lifespan of LED lighting systems.
The new Bluetooth range consists of four products – Weekly Bluetooth 2-module 1-channel, 7 day timer with 100 on/off operations; Weekly Bluetooth 2-module 2-channel, 7 day timer, with 100 on/off operations; Astro Bluetooth 2-module 1-channel, 7 day timer with 100 on/off operations and Astro Bluetooth 2-module 2-channel, 7 day timer with 100 on/off operations.
A free to download app, the ‘Save’n carry’ app is available for both iOS and Android. It has an intuitive user interface that allows easy and fast programming via smartphone and tablet.
As advancements in technology continue to drive new product development, it is essential that both the professional installing the products and the wholesaler supplying them, do their research to stay up to date with the latest products and trends.
Manufacturers have their part to play by ensuring that they provide easy access to product training and support for the wholesaler.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
To learn more about ESP, Sangamo and its range of time switches, visit: