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How to Program a Digital Plug-in Timer Switch

Updated February 21, 2017

A digital plug-in timer switch can be set to turn appliances on and off at different times of the day. When plugged into a lamp or radio, for example, digital timers can enhance home security by turning the electronics on for a brief period while you are away. Lights and sounds randomly turning on and off in a home creates the appearance that someone is home. Digital timers let you program the on/off functions down to the minute. Digital timers have different features, but the basic operating principles are the same.

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  1. Plug the power cord for the electronic item into the socket on the back of the digital timer. Plug the timer into a wall outlet. The digital readout will repeatedly blink "12:00."

  2. Press "Hour" and "Minute" buttons to set the current time of day. You might need to cycle through 12 hours by repeatedly pressing the "Hour" button to set an evening time.

  3. Slide the mode switch on the timer to "Program" or "On" and press the "Week" or "Day" button to select a day of the week for activating the connected item.

  4. Press the "Hour" and "Minute" buttons to set the time you want the item to turn on.

  5. Press the "Program" or "Off" button again to enter the time you want the item to shut off. On timers that can be programmed for a full week, press the "Day" button to advance to the next day and repeat the sequence for setting on and off times.

  6. Tip

    Remeber to turn on the item using its on/off switch. The digital timer will do nothing if the power switch for the item is not in the on position.

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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.

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