A binary device that interrupts the flow of charges in circuits is an electrical switch.  By binary device, we mean that it is either on (closed) or off (opened). When you are training to become an electrician in Vancouver, you will learn a lot about the different electrical switches. It will help you to control and direct how power regulates within a home or building.

Types of Electrical Switches

Based on the mechanism, we can categorize Electrical Switches into two main groups: Mechanically controlled and electronically controlled.

  1. Mechanically Controlled

These types of switches require a human to turn them on or off.

  • Toggle switches

These switches control the flow of electricity to a device by switching between two or more different positions. They comprise a lever or a handle and an internal spring that helps to keep the lever tightly at its place.

  • Push-button switches

They use a raised button as an actuator. They allow for two-position control. Pushing the button inwards activates the circuit, turning on the device. There is a spring within the switch that releases the button, terminating the connection, turning it off.

  • Slide switches

They comprise sliding actuators that move from position to position in a straight line. They interrupt the current flow at a minimum of two slide positions, “on” and “off.”

  • Rotary switches

They are run by rotating control knobs. They connect one point of an electric circuit to the other points within as they stop in different positions.

  • Rocker switches

 These switches are raised at one end when we press down the other. They operate like a seesaw.

  • DIP (dual in-line package)

These switches may double as rocker, slide, or rotary switches. DIP switches refer to an individual switch or small banks of several switches. The device in which they reside is called a switch panel.

  1. Electronically Controlled

These are faster than mechanical switches and turn on automatically by an electric current via microelectronics and microprocessors.

  • Magnetic Switches

They operate by the presence or absence of a magnetic field. The circuit is open when a magnetic field is not close to the switch. It closes when a magnetic field is applied. They are used in security systems to detect the opening and closing of doors and windows.

  • Temperature switches

They make use of the mechanism of thermal expansion. It utilizes a strip of bimetallic materials, one of the metal bends when heated, loses contact with the circuit. When it cools, it bends back to its original position and makes contact with the circuit.

  • Switch relay

They work on the principle of the electromagnet. When the current flows, the electromagnet becomes active, indicating that the switch is on. When the current stops flowing, it is not a magnet, so it is off.

  • Transistors

These are an electronic device which can act as a switch. When we apply a large amount of current at the base, it enters the deep saturation mode and acts like a switch. When current flows through the base, it will be at logic level 1, and if it doesn’t, it will be at logic level 0.

  • Mosfets

Mosfets act as a switch at high frequencies. It has three terminals: Gate, Drain, and Source. If we apply a high voltage at the base, the resistance between drain and source becomes low, and currents start flowing. It will be off if the gate is at logic 0.

Mechanical switches are found in scenarios when a human source needs to operate them, for example, at homes. On the other hand, we use Electronic switches scenarios where they need to operate automatically.

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