Throughout the decades of its life, the Clapper has sustained a reputation as a kitschy oddity, but the device has genuine utility that has only expanded since its introduction: The modern iteration of the Clapper includes sound sensitivity options and the ability to turn on two devices. The Clapper remains a fairly straightforward affair, but with more features it comes with slightly more complex instructions than back in the day.

Clapping on conference meeting
credit: Zurijeta/iStock/Getty Images
The slimmer, sleeker 21st-century Clapper features plenty of customizable options.

Getting Started

To begin using the Clapper, set the three-position switch to "High" and plug an appliance into the top receptacle, which is labeled "II." Joseph Enterprises, the product's manufacturer, recommends appliances such as lights, televisions and radios. Turn the appliance on manually -- once powered on, the appliance is connected to the Clapper and can be activated with two claps. If you wish to connect a second appliance to the Clapper, plug it into the bottom receptacle and power it on manually. This appliance takes three claps to activate.

All About Rhythm

To successfully "clap on" your appliances, your claps don't have to be very loud, but they must be performed in the distinctive rhythm recognized by the Clapper. Joseph Enterprises describes this rhythm as "clap-pause-clap-pause," where the pause is about a half-second long. The pause is key; during the pause, the Clapper determines whether or not you will add a third clap to the sequence, thus activating your second appliance. "Clapping off" your devices requires the same rhythmic clap sequence as turning them on. Observe the three clap detection lights on the bottom of the Clapper to get a feel for the proper clap sequence -- with each detected clap, one light will glow, in order.

Customized Clapping

If your Clapper is in a particularly noisy environment, turn the sliding switch to the "Low" position to lessen its noise sensitivity. For even louder spaces, access the lowest sensitivity level by pushing the switch to the "Away" position, then sliding it back and forth between "High" and "Away" three times. The three clap detection lights will turn on for about 10 seconds -- when they turn off, the Clapper is set to very low sensitivity and will remain so until you slide the switch out of the "Away" position. When simply set to "Away," the Clapper serves as a limited function security device. In this mode, both connected lights or appliances turn on in response to any sound and will remain on for about 10 minutes.

More Tips

The Clapper supports only electronics with a maximum wattage of 250 watts in one outlet and up to 150 watts in the other, for a total load of no more than 400 watts. It is not intended for use with heating appliances, including coffee makers, hair dryers, toasters or any other potential fire hazards. If you experience issues with your Clapper, contact Joseph Enterprises at customerservice@jeiusa.com or give the Clapper Hotline a ring at 800-557-5856.