Timers are used to safely switch your grow lights on and off automatically. A plant determines whether it is summer or autumn on the basis of the number of hours of light per day. If the light on period is shorter than 18 hours, this is a sign for a plant that it is time to start producing fruits or flowers. The days are getting shorter, winter is coming, I have to reproduce now because soon I will not be there anymore.
It is therefore extremely important that the light periods are properly dosed. Doing this manually, day after day, is impossible.
If you work with an HPS lamp, it is advisable to choose a timer with built-in relay. HPS lamps consume a lot of power when starting up. The relay ensures that this peak voltage does not flow through the timer, which would cause the contacts of the clock to melt. The result would be that the lights remain on permanently and the plants go out of their flowering cycle.
You also need a timer when you use a drip or ebb & flow irrigation system. With these systems, water is pumped to your plants at set times. A few minutes at a time is sufficient. Because most timers for lamps have on and off settings of at least 15 minutes, you need a digital version that can be programmed per minute.
The Smartbox combines the above two options. In addition to two sockets with continuous power (for extractors and other equipment that must be switched on continuously), the Smartbox has two separately programmable contacts. You can use one for the lamp and the other for a pump of an irrigation system. Both contacts can be programmed accurately to the minute via a free downloadable app.
This timer has no relay, so be careful not to use it to control heavy HPS lamps.