A switch is a device which is designed to interrupt the current flow in a circuit. In simple words, a Switch can make or break an electrical circuit. Every electrical and electronics application uses at least one switch to perform ON and OFF operation of the device.
So, switches are a part of the control system and without it, control operation cannot be achieved. A switch can perform two functions, namely fully ON (by closing its contacts) or fully OFF (by opening its contacts).
When the contacts of a switch are closed according to Electronicshub, the switch creates a closed path for the current to flow and hence load consumes the power from source. When the contacts of a switch are open, no power will be consumed by the load.
Types of Switches
Basically, Switches can be of two types. They are:
Mechanical Switches are physical switches, which must be activated physically, by moving, pressing, releasing, or touching its contacts.
Electronic Switches, on the other hand, do not require any physical contact in order to control a circuit. These are activated by semiconductor action.
Mechanical switches can be classified into different types based on several factors such as method of actuation (manual, limit and process switches), number of contacts (single contact and multi contact switches), number of poles and throws (SPST, DPDT, SPDT, etc.), operation and construction (push button, toggle, rotary, joystick, etc.), based on state (momentary and locked switches), etc.
The electronic switches are generally called as Solid State switches because there are no physical moving parts and hence no physical contacts. Most of the appliances are controlled by semiconductor switches such as motor drives and HVAC equipment.
There are different types of solid state switches available in todays consumer, industrial and automotive market with different sizes and ratings. Some of these solid state switches include transistors, SCRs, MOSFETs, TRIACs and IGBTs.
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