Welcome to the Website for the Toastmasters Automatic Timing Light. This website is intended to demonstrate the Automatic Timing Light and to give detailed instructions so that you can build one for yourself. In the future, this website may also have an on-line store selling “kits” containing the parts needed to build your own Automatic Timing Light.
What is a Timing Light?
In the context of this website, a Timing Light is not the device used to measure the RPM of a car engine or some other rotating equipment. The Timing Light that we refer to here is a device with Green, Yellow, and Red lights (just like a Traffic Light) which is used to indicate some period of time. Typically, the Green light means there is a “good amount” of time left, the Yellow light means that the time is nearing its end, and the Red light means “Time is Up!”
A very common use for Timing Lights is at Toastmasters club meetings, to indicate the length of time a speaker has been speaking. In a 5-7 minute speech, the Green light is turned on at 5 minutes, the Yellow light is turned on at 6 minutes, and the Red light is turned on at 7 minutes.
Another use of a Timing Light could be in a school setting to indicate to students how much time they have remaining for a test or some other task. The Green light could be shown when the time starts, the Yellow light shown when there are 5 minutes left, and the Red light when the time is at the end.
What is an Automatic Timing Light?
In the simplest terms, an Automatic Timing Light is a Timing Light that changes color automatically at the pre-determined time.
Most timing lights that you will find at Toastmasters clubs are not automatic. The Timer typically has one hand on the stopwatch, and the other hand ready to flip the switch to change the light. The obvious problem with this is that the Timer needs to be constantly watching the time, and can’t pay as much attention to the Speaker. There is also the possibility that the Timer will get distracted, and forget to turn the light at the right time.
The Automatic Timing Light is one engineer’s attempt to solve the problem. If the “Stopwatch” component can be built into the Timing Light, then all the timer should have to do is set the time, press “Start”, and sit back and watch the speech.
Sounds easy enough, right?