Toggle switches are the go-to method for controlling light fixtures, appliances, and other household fixtures. They are a common hardware found in almost all modern homes as well as commercial and industrial buildings. They’re the easiest way to get a circuit up and running, and they come in a variety of different styles to suit your home’s design.
If you’ve ever had to connect a light fixture, toggle switches are a handy tool and can eliminate a lot of hassle in the process. If you are ready to learn everything you need to know about toggle switches and how to use them, keep reading.
What is a toggle switch?
A toggle switch is a mechanical device that controls current flow in an electrical circuit. It works by moving back and forth between two positions, allowing for the opening and closing of an electrical circuit.
Toggle switches are used to turn things on and off, as well as to control power flow in circuits.
They’re also used for a variety of other functions, including controlling the intensity of an electrical current, switching between different circuits, or even to power appliances.
Where do toggle switches come in?
Because they are so easy to use and inexpensive to produce, toggle switches are found in almost every modern home. They’re often used in homes and buildings to control lights, televisions, and other home entertainment systems. They can even be found on power tools or any other device that uses electricity.
Toggle switches also come in handy when you need to control a circuit manually or when you need to switch between two circuits at once. You can even use them for complex mechanisms that require different levels of power at once.
What does a toggle switch look like?
Toggle switches are small devices that can be difficult to differentiate from one another because they come in so many different shapes and sizes. However, there are some design elements that you’ll find across all toggle switches that will help you identify them.
Components of a toggle switch
A typical toggle switch comprises various functional components which include;
-Lever: This is the moving part of the switch. When you press on the lever, it completes a circuit by connecting two different points in an electrical system.
-Contacts: The contacts are a pair of metal strips that are housed inside a plastic casing. The contact strips are what complete a circuit when they come into contact with each other.
-Toggle: This is the part of the switch that you use to turn the power on and off. It’s usually made out of plastic or metal and can be moved up or down to control power flow through your electrical system.
-Stem: The stem or shaft usually connects the toggle to the contacts and the lever. It allows you to move up or down while controlling the power flow in your electrical system
-Insulation: In most cases, there will be some kind of insulation around your toggle switch so that you don’t get electrocuted when you touch any part of it while it’s turned on.
-Casing: The casing protects all of the other components from damage and keeps them connected together.
-Armature: The armature is the part of the switch that moves up and down when you press on the lever. It’s connected to the toggle and contacts.
-Mounting screws: The mounting screws are used to hold everything together, so make sure you don’t lose them!
-O-ring: The o-ring is a small rubber ring that keeps your switch from leaking when it’s turned on.
-Spring: The spring is the metal piece that moves up and down. It connects the armature to the toggle and contacts.
How do toggle switches work?
Toggle switches have a simple working mechanism. They are designed to have a handle that you can switch from one side to the other. When you do so, a small metal piece called a lever will move, breaking the connection between two wires.
When the switch is on, the lever is in contact with both wires and electricity can flow between them. When it’s off, the lever has moved away from both wires and no electricity flows through it.
When you flip the toggle switch, the lever will move and break the connection between the two wires. It’s a very simple mechanism that can be used to control a circuit manually or to make a change in an automated system.
Toggle switches are also very versatile because they can be used to control two circuits at once.
How do I use toggle switches?
Toggle switches are designed to be easy to use. They come with a handle that you can flip from one side to another, breaking the connection between two wires. When it’s on, electricity flows through it and when it’s off, no electricity flows through it.
You can use a toggle switch to control a circuit manually or to make an automated change in a circuit.
You can also use a toggle switch to control two circuits simultaneously. To do this, connect one of the wires from each of the circuits to each side of the toggle switch. The other wire from each circuit should be connected together in some way and then connected to one terminal on the battery or power supply that you want to power your circuit with.
The other terminal on your battery or power source goes into one side of your toggle switch. When you flip your toggle switch, it will break the connection between both wires at once and prevent electricity from flowing through both sides of your circuit at once.
Types of toggle switches
There are different types of toggle switches in the market. Though all have the same working mechanism, they come in different configurations, which eventually dictate their functioning.
The main types of toggle switches include;
SPST(Single Pole Single Throw)
This is the most common and simple switch. It is a single-pole switch, which means that there is only one terminal on the switch. The two wires are connected at one end of the toggle switch and connected to two terminals on your power source. When you flip your switch, it will break the connection between both wires at once and prevent electricity from flowing through both sides of your circuit at once.
SPDT(Single Pole Double Throw)
This is a double-pole toggle switch. There are two terminals in this type of toggle switch. As the name suggests, there are two poles in this type of toggle switch which means that there are two wires in this type of toggle switch; one wire is connected to one pole while another wire is connected to another pole.
DPDT(Double Pole Double Throw)
In this type of toggle switch, there are two poles which means that there are two wires in this type of toggle switch; one wire is connected to one pole while another wire is connected to another pole.
DPST (Double Pole Single Throw)
This is a double-pole switch. There are two terminals in this type of toggle switch. As the name suggests, there are two poles in this type of toggle switch which means that there are two wires in this type of toggle switch.
Toggle switch configuration types
You should also know that toggle switches come in various configurations. Let’s look at some of them.
On-On toggle switches
These are also known as changeover switches. The switch is connected in series with the load. When the switch is on, the current flows through the load. And when it’s off, current doesn’t flow.
Off-On toggle switches
These are also known as isolation switches. The switch is connected in parallel with the load. When the switch is on, the current doesn’t flow through the load and when it’s off, the current flows through the load.
On-Off toggle switches
These are also known as common-mode switches. The switch is connected in series with the load and has two terminals. These types of toggle switches are commonly used for powering circuits for which there are no grounds (such as telephone lines).
Off-On/On-Off toggle switches
These are also known as common-collector switches or collector-emitter isolators (CEIs). In this type of toggle switch, both terminals of the switch are connected in series with the load. The switch has two terminals, one of which is connected to the collector of the source and another of which is grounded.
When both terminals are shorted to ground, current will flow through the load and when either terminal is shorted to ground, current will not flow through the load.
Momentary toggle switches
These are also known as momentary-on-contact switches or just MOC switches. This type of toggle switch has a single terminal that is connected to the collector of the source.
When the switch is closed, current will flow through both terminals. When the switch is open, no current will flow through either terminal.
Other types of toggle switches
Here are other types of toggle switches that you are likely to find in the market.
-LED toggle switch: When this type of toggle switch is closed, the LED will light up. The LED in this type of switch is connected to a current limiting resistor.
-Pushbutton toggle switches: The pushbutton type of toggle switch has a pushbutton that is connected to a current limiting resistor. When the button is pressed, the circuit will be turned on and when it is released, the circuit will turn off.
-Flat toggle switch: A flat toggle switch is characterized by flat metal plates. The plates are separated by a spring. When the switch is closed, current will flow through the metallic plates and when it is opened, both plates will be shorted to the ground.
-Touch sensor toggle switches: This type of toggle switch has two terminals; one terminal connects to a voltage source while another terminal connects to an input device such as a touch sensor or pressure sensor etc. When the voltage source is turned on and the touch or pressure device detects this, the output will turn on. When the voltage source is turned off, a touch or pressure device will detect this and the output will turn off
How to choose a toggle switch
When buying toggle switches, try to pay attention to the following features and specifications.
-Maximum current rating: This is the maximum current that the switch can handle without breaking down.
-Number of poles: The number of poles indicates the number of connections in a circuit. It is measured in multiples of 10, such as 20, 40, or 60.
-Voltage rating: The voltage rating of a toggle switch indicates the maximum voltage that the switch can tolerate without breaking down.
-Insulation rating: The insulation rating of a toggle switch indicates the minimum voltage drop under normal operating conditions and is specified in millivolts (mV).
-Resistance: The resistance value for each terminal is measured in ohms (Ω).
-Contact pressure: This parameter specifies the force required to close a normally open contact. It is measured in pounds per square inch (psi) or kilograms per centimeter squared (kg/cm²).
-Maximum contact pressure: The maximum contact pressure of a toggle switch indicates how hard or soft you can press a button on it without making it short out. This value should at least meet or exceed your application’s requirements if you want to avoid accidental shorts from occurring.
-Physical dimensions: The physical dimensions of a toggle switch show you how big it is. When buying a toggle switch, try to ensure that it will fit into your application’s mounting hardware.
-Terminal types: Toggle switches have different types of terminals. They include screw terminals, feed-through terminals, blade terminals, and PC terminals among others.
Where to buy toggle switches?
You can buy toggle switches from reliable suppliers and manufacturers in China at reasonable prices. However, before you buy toggle switches from China, it is good to know that some of the Chinese suppliers may not be able to provide you with the quality of toggle switches that you want.
This is why ICRFQ is there to help you, such manufacturers. As a sourcing agent, we link buyers of electronic components from all corners of the world to reliable manufacturers and suppliers. Contact us and let’s help you.
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