Thursday, December 15, 2011

Tech Column: Timer Tech

by Bill Adler

I've been going insane. Not insane because I'm on meds and have been forgetting to take them. Not insane because I'm trying to figure out who's in and who's out among the Republican candidates for president. Not insane because one of the smoke detectors in our house happily chirped "low batt" at about 3am the other night without saying something sensible like "the *kitchen* smoke detector has a low battery."

No. I've been going insane because I've been trying to program a 24 hour electrical timer to power cycle my router every Sunday --and only on Sundays-- at 3am.

I've written before about how it can be beneficial to power cycle various devices (see ). Some technologies needs to be powered down every now and then to clear all the electronic junk that's accumulated. I've had a timer on my router for a while now, and I've been treated to trouble-free internet.

But what I really want is just to power cycle my router once a week. Say early morning Sunday when it's likely that nobody has a need to access the internet.

Have you ever tried to program a 24 hour timer, the kind that lets you select the day and time to schedule a device to be turned on or off? I tried multiple devices and with each successive device I became more and more frustrated (which is to say, bad words passed my lips). It's having to push the program button followed by the auto button after pressing the mode button twice that drives me crazy.

This week I thought I'd try again. Not only for the sake of my router, but because it's time to hang the holiday lights and, once again, around 3am nobody needs to see them on. Lots of timers do the dusk-to-dawn thing, but it's better for the environment if lights are completely off in the wee hours of the morning until it becomes dark again.

Here it is. Here's the winner: The Intermatic 2 Outlet Outdoor Digital Timer,

What makes this 24-hour timer much easier to program is it has a wheel you can turn to quickly get from one function to another. No more pressing the hour button multiple times, only to find that you've passed by the time you want to set and have to start all over again. It's still more complicated than a simple timer that turns on and off at the same time every day, but it won't make you want to hurl it against a wall.


Bill Adler is the co-publisher of the Cleveland Park Listserv, He is the author of "Boys and Their Toys: Understanding Men by Understanding Their Relationship with Gadgets," He tweets at @billadler.

1 comment:

  1. Move to Northern VA. Our power goes out on a regular basis. Problem solved.