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Posted 23 Mar 2003

Use a timer to create a simple alarm application

, 23 Mar 2003
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Using a timer to create a simple alarm application that plays a wave file for an alarm.


When I work on the computer, I often get so absorbed that I glance up a minute later to find that three hours have passed without my even noticing it. So I've pulled together some C# skills I've learnt from some of the articles here at Code Project, to create a simple little application that uses a Timer object to count down the seconds towards a time set by a user, and then plays a looping wave sound file until the timer is reset.

I've tried to keep it simple, but I've added some extra functionality for a notify icon to appear in the status bar. I mainly added this functionality because I hate the idea of a simple application like this taking up space in the taskbar.

Basics of the Timer Object

The very first thing you need, is to access the necessary namespaces to use a Timer object.

using System.Threading;
using System.Timers;

Now I'll give you the basics for creating the Timer and setting an event delegate for the Timer object's public Elapsed event.

The creation of the Timer object comes first, I called my timer timerClock. Next I set the Elapsed event delegate, by specifying a delegate to be called when the event fires. I called my delegate OnTimer().

Next I set the Interval property, to the time in milliseconds that I wish the Elapsed event to be fired, which means that my delegate OnTimer()will be called every 1000 milliseconds, or every 1 second, if I set the Interval property to 1000 milliseconds.

Finally, I set the Enabled property to true so that the timer is active. Then it's just a simple matter of creating a delegate to be called when the Elapsed event is fired by the

object. If you haven't used delegates before, then don't worry, they are very easy to use. Just create a method that receives the appropriate variables for the event you are capturing.

In the case of the Elapsed event, my delegate needs to receive a plain Object, and an ElapsedEventArgs object.

private System.Timers.Timer timerClock = new System.Timers.Timer();    
timerClock.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(OnTimer);
timerClock.Interval = 1000;
timerClock.Enabled = true;

public void OnTimer( Object source, ElapsedEventArgs e )
    //Your code here 

Using the Timer in an Alarm Application

Okay, with the basics out of the way I can show you the code for the actual application. Note that I haven't included the code to play wave sounds or the code for displaying a notify icon, in the interests of keeping this simple. The full code is available in the demo project where you will see that, I have pretty much just cut and pasted the wave player functions straight from the article by jow Blow on "Low level audio players".

In the code below you will see that I have separated the instantiation of the Timer object into it's own initialization method named InitializeTimer() which is called from the class' constructor. I've also created two methods named inputToSeconds() and secondsToTime() which just process the time value from a

to an integer, and vice versa. These methods are just used to help display the time in the application's TextBox control and aren't actually very important in the big scheme of things. The rest of the code you will recognize as the standard Visual Studio.NET Boilerplate code for a Win Form.

using System;
using System.Drawing;
using System.Collections;
using System.ComponentModel;
using System.Windows.Forms;
using System.Data;
using System.Threading;
using System.Timers;
using System.IO;
using System.Reflection;

namespace timerAlarm
    public class TimerForm : System.Windows.Forms.Form
        //Controls and Components
        private System.Windows.Forms.TextBox timerInput;
        private System.Windows.Forms.Button StartButton;
        private System.Windows.Forms.Button ResetButton;
        private System.ComponentModel.IContainer components;
        //Timer and associated variables
        private System.Timers.Timer timerClock = new System.Timers.Timer();
        private int clockTime = 0;
        private int alarmTime = 0;

        public TimerForm()

        protected override void Dispose( bool disposing )
            if( disposing )
                if (components != null) 
            base.Dispose( disposing );

        #region Windows Form Designer generated code
        /// <SUMMARY>
        /// Required method for Designer support - do not modify
        /// the contents of this method with the code editor.
        /// </SUMMARY>
        private void InitializeComponent()
            this.components = new System.ComponentModel.Container();
            System.Resources.ResourceManager resources = new System.
            this.timerInput = new System.Windows.Forms.TextBox();
            this.StartButton = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();
            this.ResetButton = new System.Windows.Forms.Button();
            // timerInput
            this.timerInput.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(12, 13);
            this.timerInput.Name = "timerInput";
            this.timerInput.Size = new System.Drawing.Size(50, 20);
            this.timerInput.TabIndex = 0;
            this.timerInput.Text = "00:00:00";
            // StartButton
            this.StartButton.FlatStyle = System.Windows.Forms.
            this.StartButton.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(75, 11);
            this.StartButton.Name = "StartButton";
            this.StartButton.TabIndex = 1;
            this.StartButton.Text = "Start";
            this.StartButton.Click += new System.EventHandler
            // ResetButton
            this.ResetButton.FlatStyle = System.Windows.Forms.
            this.ResetButton.Location = new System.Drawing.Point(161, 11);
            this.ResetButton.Name = "ResetButton";
            this.ResetButton.TabIndex = 2;
            this.ResetButton.Text = "Reset";
            this.ResetButton.Click += new 
            // TimerForm
            this.AutoScaleBaseSize = new System.Drawing.Size(5, 13);
            this.ClientSize = new System.Drawing.Size(247, 46);
            this.Controls.AddRange(new System.Windows.Forms.Control[] {
            this.FormBorderStyle = System.Windows.Forms.
            this.Icon = ((System.Drawing.Icon)(resources.
            this.MaximizeBox = false;
            this.Name = "TimerForm";
            this.StartPosition = System.Windows.Forms.
            this.Text = "Alarm Timer";
            this.Resize += new System.EventHandler(this.


        public void InitializeTimer()
            this.timerClock.Elapsed += new ElapsedEventHandler(OnTimer);
            this.timerClock.Interval = 1000;
            this.timerClock.Enabled = true;

        static void Main() 
            Application.Run(new TimerForm());

        private void TimerForm_Resized(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
            if( this.WindowState == FormWindowState.Minimized )

        private void StartButton_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
            this.clockTime = 0;
            inputToSeconds( this.timerInput.Text );

        private void ResetButton_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
                this.clockTime = 0;
                this.alarmTime = 0;
                this.timerInput.Text = "00:00:00";
            catch( Exception ex )
                MessageBox.Show("ResetButton_Click(): " + ex.Message );

        public void OnTimer(Object source, ElapsedEventArgs e)
                int countdown = this.alarmTime - this.clockTime ;
                if( this.alarmTime != 0 )
                    this.timerInput.Text = secondsToTime(countdown);

                //Sound Alarm
                if( this.clockTime == this.alarmTime )
                    MessageBox.Show("Play Sound");
            catch( Exception ex )
                MessageBox.Show("OnTimer(): " + ex.Message );

        private void inputToSeconds( string timerInput )
                string[] timeArray = new string[3];
                int minutes = 0;
                int hours = 0;
                int seconds = 0;
                int occurence = 0;
                int length = 0;

                occurence = timerInput.LastIndexOf(":");
                length = timerInput.Length;

                //Check for invalid input
                if( occurence == -1 || length != 8 )
                    MessageBox.Show("Invalid Time Format.");
                    ResetButton_Click( null, null );
                    timeArray = timerInput.Split(':');

                    seconds = Convert.ToInt32( timeArray[2] );
                    minutes = Convert.ToInt32( timeArray[1] );
                    hours = Convert.ToInt32( timeArray[0] );

                    this.alarmTime += seconds;
                    this.alarmTime += minutes*60;
                    this.alarmTime += (hours*60)*60;
            catch( Exception e )
                MessageBox.Show("inputToSeconds(): " + e.Message );

        public string secondsToTime( int seconds )
            int minutes = 0;
            int hours = 0;

            while( seconds >= 60 )
                minutes += 1;
                seconds -= 60;
            while( minutes >= 60 )
                hours += 1;
                minutes -= 60;

            string strHours = hours.ToString();
            string strMinutes = minutes.ToString();
            string strSeconds = seconds.ToString();

            if( strHours.Length < 2 ) 
                strHours = "0" + strHours;
            if( strMinutes.Length < 2 ) 
                strMinutes = "0" + strMinutes;
            if( strSeconds.Length < 2 ) 
                strSeconds = "0" + strSeconds;

            return strHours + ":" + strMinutes + ":" + strSeconds;

Code References

The implementation for the timer is home grown, but the demo project code for playing the wave sound files is taken from the article A low-level audio player in C# by Ianier Munoz. Complements to Ianier Munoz, as the classes he developed for playing wave files were exceptionally easy to apply and reuse.


This application demonstrates a simple use of the Timer object in a real world example, at its core combining simple elements to create a quick little application that I hope someone besides me can get some use out of.


This article has no explicit license attached to it but may contain usage terms in the article text or the download files themselves. If in doubt please contact the author via the discussion board below.

A list of licenses authors might use can be found here


About the Author

Andrew Boisen
Software Developer
Australia Australia
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

Generalshowing error Pin
sunil subramannian7-Mar-14 17:45
groupsunil subramannian7-Mar-14 17:45 
QuestionIs that code not compatible with Visual Studio 2008 Pin
rixan2-Nov-11 22:31
memberrixan2-Nov-11 22:31 
GeneralTimer code Pin
bollamvenu18-Sep-10 10:13
memberbollamvenu18-Sep-10 10:13 
GeneralNull filestream Pin
amu_4_u_112822-Feb-10 18:13
memberamu_4_u_112822-Feb-10 18:13 
GeneralVery good article.But I have one doubt Pin
sheebasharaf25-May-09 2:20
membersheebasharaf25-May-09 2:20 
Generalnice article Pin
Donsw19-Apr-09 11:15
memberDonsw19-Apr-09 11:15 
QuestionHow to adapt this to VB ASP .NET Pin
Cliff_k1012-Feb-06 11:53
memberCliff_k1012-Feb-06 11:53 
AnswerRe: How to adapt this to VB ASP .NET Pin
Cliff_k1012-Feb-06 11:56
memberCliff_k1012-Feb-06 11:56 
GeneralCrossthread operation Pin
nizchka15-Jan-06 14:56
membernizchka15-Jan-06 14:56 
GeneralRe: Crossthread operation Pin
ZaidIT26-Feb-08 7:53
memberZaidIT26-Feb-08 7:53 
GeneralRe: Crossthread operation Pin
franks_feat22-Apr-09 6:55
memberfranks_feat22-Apr-09 6:55 
GeneralSimple yet effective Pin
Arch4ngel28-Jul-05 11:02
memberArch4ngel28-Jul-05 11:02 
GeneralAttention for alarm.wav file Pin
miranch20-Jul-05 1:28
membermiranch20-Jul-05 1:28 
Generalvolume Pin
Edywison21-Aug-04 12:54
sussEdywison21-Aug-04 12:54 
QuestionHow to programing for a microphone in C# Pin
CNWORM22-Aug-03 20:54
memberCNWORM22-Aug-03 20:54 
AnswerRe: How to programing for a microphone in C# Pin
Andrew Boisen23-Aug-03 1:54
memberAndrew Boisen23-Aug-03 1:54 
GeneralOuch Pin
Steve McLenithan24-Mar-03 7:17
memberSteve McLenithan24-Mar-03 7:17 
GeneralRe: Ouch [also...] Pin
Steve McLenithan24-Mar-03 7:25
memberSteve McLenithan24-Mar-03 7:25 
GeneralRe: Ouch Pin
Andrew Boisen24-Mar-03 11:02
memberAndrew Boisen24-Mar-03 11:02 
GeneralRe: Ouch Pin
Steve McLenithan24-Mar-03 11:07
memberSteve McLenithan24-Mar-03 11:07 

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