How Does My Pool Timer Work?

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A swimming pool pump can be used to clean the pool.
A swimming pool pump can be used to clean the pool. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

A pool timer connects to one or more pool pumps which activate at the desired time of day, such as in the evening when no one is swimming. The pool timer is connected to a grounded power source and wired to a pool pump. While electrical signals are used to command the pool pump, the pool timer is mostly mechanical.

Time Setting

Before start and stop times can be set for the pool timer, the current time setting must be established. Because a pool timer is an electrical timer with mechanical aspects, the clock dial portion of the timer pulls out to set the time. It is twisted clockwise or counterclockwise until the correct current time lines up with the “Time” marker, which points directly downward at all times while the clock dial constantly turns.

Trippers

The trippers are the physical parts that activate or deactivate the pool pump at the designated times. To set the “On” tripper for the desired times, the lighter-colored tripper can be held to the clock dial at the desired start time and then screwed down with a screwdriver to keep the tripper in place. The darker-colored tripper can be placed against the desired turn-off time and tightened down with a screwdriver. When the “On” tripper reaches the stationary current time marker, an electrical signal is sent to the connected pool pump, causing the pool pump to activate. The pool pump runs until the “Off” tripper is reached, at which point another electrical signal is sent from the timer to disable the pool pump.

Manual Operation

If a manual activation of the pool pump is desired, the “Off/On” manual switch at the bottom can be flipped to turn the pump on without the user having to touch the pump. An electrical signal is sent from the timer to the pump and the pump activates. The pump runs, until the “Off/On” switch is flipped to “Off.” Because the trippers are still in place, the unit proceeds with scheduled activations and deactivations like normal after a manual activation.

Power Failure

In the event of power failure, the unit turns off, which prevents the clock dial from turning. The clock dial will need to be reset after the power is reinstated, or the “On” and ”Off” trippers activate the pool pump at the incorrect times. You can pull the clock dial out and twist it until the correct time correlates with the time marker. Readjustment of the “On” and “Off” trippers is unnecessary, as they still mark the desired activation and deactivation times regardless of power outages.

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