Recently searched

    Switches

    Switches are commonly used in electronic circuits. These power switches enable control of the circuit by switching it on/off or controlling a range of other features.

    How do electrical switches work?

    Electrical switches are binary devices which sit within a circuit to control the flow of electricity. They work by interrupting the flow of electrons and switching the circuit on or off.

    Switches contain mechanical terminals which connect to metal contacts. When the terminal and contact are touching, the electric switch is closed and the current can pass through. When the terminal and contact are not touching, the switch is open and the current cannot pass through the circuit.

    What are Poles and Throws?

    The number of circuits controlled by a power switch is referred to as "poles". The number of positions that the switch can adopt is called "throws". The combinations of these are:

    • SPST (Single Pole Single Throw)
    • SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw)
    • DPST (Double Pole Single Throw)
    • DPST (Double Pole Double Throw)

    What types of switches are there?

    The type of electric switch you require depends on the connections you wish to make within your circuit. Switches are often grouped by the way they are operated, for example, rocker switches that rock side to side. Alternatively, they are classified by their application, for example, keypad switches are used with keypads. Here are some examples of electric switch types:

    Detector

    DIP/SIP

    Foot

    Hall Effect

    Joystick

    Key

    Keyboard/Keypad

    Piezo

    Microswitches

    Rotary

    Push Button

    Toggle

    Shop RS Components range of electric switches with ease of mind and convenience. As a global parts supplier, we have a one-stop shop approach for an extensive range of mechanical electrical switches and more, available in stock and fast, reliable service and support.

    With our global delivery network and online ordering system, you can manage, track and update your orders easily with an RS Online Account. Register for your RS Online Account to access a host of additional features that streamline your sourcing and purchasing processes.

    Guides & Articles

    DIP Switches Guide

    DIP Switches Guide

    In this complete guide we look at what DIP switches are, how they work, as well as the different types available on the market.
    Read more
    Touch Switches Guide

    Touch Switches Guide

    In this complete guide, we look at what touch switches are, how they work and the different types available on the market.
    Read more