Tilt switches are a type of switch that utilise a non-toxic item or substance to conduct electricity between the two contacts of a switch. As the name suggests, this path is only created when the switch is tilted past a certain angle. This type of tilt switch is referred to as non-mercury. Mercury tilt switches on the other hand use highly toxic mercury to conduct electricity instead. Although this type of tilt switch is now less common.
What are tilt switches used for?
Tilt switches are used in a wide range of industrial settings, such as sounding an alarm when there is a fault. For example, they may be used to let workers know when machinery is tipping too far in one direction, when vending machines are being tipped over, or for personnel safety when someone falls in a confined space, such as a welder working in a tank.
Types of tilt switches
Tilt switches can use a number of different techniques to join the contacts in the circuit. Some common types are:
- Ball and cage switches, where a ball provides the conduction
- Electrolytic tilt switches, which use the electrodes of a conductive fluid to detect angle change
- Force balance sensors, which use a balance system to detect a change in angle