A timer is basically a mechanical or electronic clock that is used to measure specific time intervals. There are two main categories in this regard for measuring specific time intervals. The first one is the timer which is used to count down from a specific value of time given to them. Value can be in seconds, minutes, or hours. On industrial or large scales timers can be used to countdown the days. The second one is the stopwatch which works totally opposite to the timer. It measures the time from counting the value from zero to upwards. Time switches are also called timers because the main component used in a time switch is a timer that activates the switch. You can get an analog or digital timer from various websites online.

Main groups of timers

Based on their working method and applications, timers are divided into two groups: software, and hardware timers. They are also further categorized into different types. Let’s discuss those in detail.

· Hardware timers

There are three main types of hardware timers.

  1. Electronic timer
  2. Mechanical timer
  3. Electromechanical timer

Electronic timers are basically quartz clocks with a special kind of electronic system. These timers give more accurate results as compared to mechanical timers. Although digital electronics are used in them, they can have a digital or analog display. Technology has worked so efficiently that now an electronic timer costs less than a mechanical and electromechanical timer. These electronic timers are also used in computer chips.

The mechanical timer can be easy to use for some people, especially old people. You can set a specific time same as on an electronic timer. Mechanical timers are usually bigger in size as compared to electronic timers. They are generally used in managing the lights and are convenient and reliable for that purpose.

Electromechanical timers use the thermal mechanism. This timer consists of a metal finger having two strips made of different metals and different value of thermal expansion. These strips are sandwiched together and can be of bronze and steel. One side expands slightly less than the other upon passing an electric current through the finger and the side connects to the switch. It is most commonly used in flashers that are used for flashing turn signals in cars.

· Software timers

They don’t have a physical appearance. They exist only as software in your mobile phones, laptops, multimedia devices, and smartwatches. The depends on the precision of the clock built into the hardware. In this modern era, you can see everyone wearing a smartwatch on their wrist and if they have a smartwatch then they must have a timer in that. That’s why the use of software timers is far greater than hardware timers. Hardware timers were used because of the nonexistence of software timers. With the development in technology, the use of software timers is increased. Even in some cases, they can be the only option to use as they give high precision as compared to an hourglass.


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