Turn Any Coffee Maker Into an Automatic Coffee Maker




With one simple part that you may already own, you can easily turn any old (electric) coffee maker into an automatic coffee maker.

Materials needed:
- An electric coffee maker
- A plug-in timer (for example: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xr5/R-100652846/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053). These are generally sold as security devices to turn your lights on and off automatically (if you're gone on vacation, for example) so that it looks like somebody is home.

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Step 1: Set the Times

Set the times on the timer.

The green tab is for turning on, the red tab is for turning off. The best accuracy you can get is within about 15 minutes.

The whole circular section rotates to set the clock, which is shown in the middle.

Step 2: Plug It In.

Plug the coffee maker into the timer, and then the timer into the wall socket. The timer has a manual on-off switch on it. Be sure it is set to off before you plug in the timer.

Now prepare the coffee, and turn on the switch on the coffee maker. Once the set time rolls around, enjoy your automatically brewed coffee.

One note of caution: make sure that the carafe (pot) is in the coffee maker before you leave it to run automatically. Things quickly get messy otherwise.

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    13 Discussions

    We have a coffee maker with a three-prong plug. Is there a timer for this type of connection? Our club already lost a few pots...


    actually having a problem at work w people forgetting to turn the coffee pot off. this should help solve it.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Simple! Why didn't I think of that? I was researching how to build and hard-wire a timer into the coffee pot when I found this article. Thanks.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, you guys must be pretty young.
    These types of timers were the ORIGINAL automatic coffee maker.
    Since the fifties, even.

    But, I will give you credit for bringing this back to everyone's attention.

    I actually found an old fifties- early sixties model coffee timer in a thrift store last weekend!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there-
    I'm familiar with the timer devices. Any chance you could instruct how to build one? I'd like to rig an old portable record player to work as an alarm clock. Plugging into a timer is easy enough, but it would be very much more pleasing to have the entire alarm function built-in to the record player unit. I am looking for an old suitcase record player with spare room in the case to house a clock mechanism. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    That's a pretty cool idea. I've never attempted anything along those lines, and it's beyond my level of expertise, but a few first thoughts:
    1) Re-wire a store-bought alarm clock to trigger the record player. Here's an instructable that includes re-wiring an alarm clock: 

    2) Timers like those in this instructable are based on some sort of gearing mechanism that then physically triggers a switch. You could take a small motor and attach your own gearing mechanism to it.
    3) Go with microcontroller and custom programming and circuitry. My initial thoughts on building an automatic coffee maker were along these lines. While it could (potentially) be much more elegant, it's also way more complicated.
    Good luck!
    4) Take a small extension cord, pull it into the record player and put the same kind of timer I used within the record player.


    10 years ago on Step 2

    i have a quistion, with your instructions at the top I be able to assemble the coffee machine or would be better with the original plans.thanks for the project

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 2

    Sorry, I don't think I understand your question. The coffee maker should be assembled the same as usual, the only difference is that now you would plug it into the timer, not directly into the wall socket.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea. I had an idea about an hour ago to break open an alarm clock and wire it to the coffee maker but this one seems a lot easier. Thanks!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks ! my auto coffee maker broke down and I never would have thought of this


    10 years ago on Introduction

    cool Would be handy for when you et home from school/work a fresh cup of coffee