What Do You Know About Electronic Timing Relays?

What Do You Know About Electronic Timing Relays?

There are certain components that form the core of the modern control systems. One such important component used in many applications is an Electronic Timing Relay (ETR). Let us start by understanding some basics.

What are Electronic Timing Relays?

A relay is an electromagnetic switch which operates on a small electric current. These switches are used to turn on or off a circuit of higher amperage. When electricity is applied, the electromagnetic coil causes the armature to move, opening or closing the contacts, controlling the flow of electricity from a high current source connected to the load side of the relay. Relays act as bridges that activate larger currents using smaller ones. This allows you to use a relay to safely switch on and off different devices.

An Electronic Timing Relay has circuitry integrated which controls the armature motion upon input voltage being applied. This addition gives the relay the property of time-delay actuation. Electronic Timing Relays are constructed to delay armature motion on coil energization, de energization, or both. ETRs provide a wide range of selectable functions so that users can customize their specific machine operation.

What are the Best Features of Electronic Timing Relays?

Electronic timing relays are used in a number of electronic applications, owing to the unending list of their features, which are as follows:

  • Multi-function timer, which allows the user to adjust between multiple timing functions.
  • High duty cycle applications.
  • DIN rail or panel mounting.
  • Resistant to mechanical shock and vibration.
  • Ability to set the timer anywhere between 0.05 seconds and 10 hours for timing operation.
  • Extremely compact standard dimensions (17.5mm and 22.5mm).
  • Power factor metering and correction.
  • Frequency control applications.
  • Timing functions such as:
    - ON Delay
    - OFF Delay
    - Interval Delay

Understanding the Functions on the Relay with Function Selector

There are a number of functions that can be selected using the function selector on the electronic timing relay. Here are some of those functions:

Things to Consider While Buying Electronic Timing Relays

There are certain things that you need to consider prior to buying electronic timing relays for your applications. The following are some of the most important factors to take into account:

  1. Proven Design: Make sure to buy the relays that are CE marked and UL listed, as you can use them anywhere in the world. Electrical ratings and product certifications are usually on the housing for easy reference.
  2. Timing Accuracy: This is yet another important thing to consider. The timing relay must have a good accuracy to deliver accurate control application performance.
  3. Contact Parameters: Based on the number of loads connected to the electronic timing relay and their respective amperage, it is recommended to consider contact related parameters such as number of contacts, type and rating of contacts.
  4. Timing Range: It is important to check the timing range parameters of the relay to confirm it has a time interval that meets your application requirements.
  5. Operating Mode: Not all electronic timing relays support every operating mode stated in the above section. Therefore, it is important to select a relay that offers an operating mode suitable for your application.
  6. Superior Protection: The relay that you are planning to buy should feature IP20 terminal guards that help avoid accidental contact with live parts.
  7. Multi-Voltage Capability: It is recommended that select relays have a multi voltage capability, meaning that they are capable of accepting a wide range of input supply voltages. This helps you reduce inventory.

Where are these Electronic Timing Relays Used?

The several functions and features of this most critical electronic component make it an important element in a wide range of applications. Here are some most common applications of these devices:

  1. Conveyor Lines
  2. Discrete Automation
  3. Process Control
  4. Lighting
  5. Food/Beverage Packaging
  6. General Machine Automation

We hope the information provided in this white paper has helped you better understand electronic timing relays. It should help you in making the right selection for your application requirements.


The content provided is intended solely for general information purposes and is provided with the understanding that the authors and publishers are not herein engaged in rendering engineering or other professional advice or services. The practice of engineering is driven by site-specific circumstances unique to each project. Consequently, any use of this information should be done only in consultation with a qualified and licensed professional who can take into account all relevant factors and desired outcomes. The information was posted with reasonable care and attention. However, it is possible that some information is incomplete, incorrect, or inapplicable to particular circumstances or conditions. We do not accept liability for direct or indirect losses resulting from using, relying or acting upon information in this article.