Power Configuration

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The Sword of Alexander. The Three Stooges II. The Treasure of Isis. The Umpire Strikes Back. The Voyages Of Sinbad. The Voyagess Of Sinbad. The Winnings Of Oz. The Wizard of Oz. A switch with both types of contact is called a changeover switch or double-throw switch. These may be " make-before-break " " MBB " or shorting which momentarily connects both circuits, or may be " break-before-make " " BBM " or non-shorting which interrupts one circuit before closing the other.

These terms have given rise to abbreviations for the types of switch which are used in the electronics industry such as " single-pole, single-throw " SPST the simplest type, "on or off" or " single-pole, double-throw " SPDT , connecting either of two terminals to the common terminal. In electrical power wiring i. Switches with larger numbers of poles or throws can be described by replacing the "S" or "D" with a number e. Contact bounce also called chatter is a common problem with mechanical switches and relays.

Switch and relay contacts are usually made of springy metals. When the contacts strike together, their momentum and elasticity act together to cause them to bounce apart one or more times before making steady contact. The result is a rapidly pulsed electric current instead of a clean transition from zero to full current. The effects of contact bounce can be eliminated by use of mercury-wetted contacts , but these are now infrequently used because of the hazard of mercury release.

Alternatively, contact circuit voltages can be low-pass filtered to reduce or eliminate multiple pulses from appearing. In digital systems, multiple samples of the contact state can be taken at a low rate and examined for a steady sequence, so that contacts can settle before the contact level is considered reliable and acted upon. All of these methods are referred to as 'debouncing'. By analogy, the term "debounce" has arisen in the software development industry to describe rate-limiting or throttling the frequency of a method's execution.

Low-pass filtered schmitt trigger input for debouncing. SR flip-flop in a debouncing circuit [7] [8]. Contact bouncing is used in the Hammond organ and together with the multiple non-synchron closing contacts under a piano key known as the Hammond Click. In the Hammond organ , multiple wires are pressed together under the piano keys of the manuals. Their bouncing and non-synchronous closing of the switches is known as Hammond Click and compositions exists that use and emphasize this feature.

Some electronic organs have a switchable replica of this sound effect. When the power being switched is sufficiently large, the electron flow across opening switch contacts is sufficient to ionize the air molecules across the tiny gap between the contacts as the switch is opened, forming a gas plasma , also known as an electric arc.

The plasma is of low resistance and is able to sustain power flow, even with the separation distance between the switch contacts steadily increasing. The plasma is also very hot and is capable of eroding the metal surfaces of the switch contacts. Electric current arcing causes significant degradation of the contacts and also significant electromagnetic interference EMI , requiring the use of arc suppression methods. Where the voltage is sufficiently high, an arc can also form as the switch is closed and the contacts approach.

If the voltage potential is sufficient to exceed the breakdown voltage of the air separating the contacts, an arc forms which is sustained until the switch closes completely and the switch surfaces make contact. In either case, the standard method for minimizing arc formation and preventing contact damage is to use a fast-moving switch mechanism, typically using a spring-operated tipping-point mechanism to assure quick motion of switch contacts, regardless of the speed at which the switch control is operated by the user.

Movement of the switch control lever applies tension to a spring until a tipping point is reached, and the contacts suddenly snap open or closed as the spring tension is released. As the power being switched increases, other methods are used to minimize or prevent arc formation. A plasma is hot and will rise due to convection air currents. The arc can be quenched with a series of non-conductive blades spanning the distance between switch contacts, and as the arc rises, its length increases as it forms ridges rising into the spaces between the blades, until the arc is too long to stay sustained and is extinguished.

A puffer may be used to blow a sudden high velocity burst of gas across the switch contacts, which rapidly extends the length of the arc to extinguish it quickly. For example, the switch contacts may operate in a vacuum, immersed in mineral oil , or in sulfur hexafluoride.

In AC power service, the current periodically passes through zero; this effect makes it harder to sustain an arc on opening. When a switch is designed to switch significant power, the transitional state of the switch as well as the ability to withstand continuous operating currents must be considered.

When a switch is in the on state, its resistance is near zero and very little power is dropped in the contacts; when a switch is in the off state, its resistance is extremely high and even less power is dropped in the contacts. However, when the switch is flicked, the resistance must pass through a state where a quarter of the load's rated power [ citation needed ] or worse if the load is not purely resistive is briefly dropped in the switch.

For this reason, power switches intended to interrupt a load current have spring mechanisms to make sure the transition between on and off is as short as possible regardless of the speed at which the user moves the rocker. Power switches usually come in two types. Dual-action switches incorporate both of these features. When a strongly inductive load such as an electric motor is switched off, the current cannot drop instantaneously to zero; a spark will jump across the opening contacts.

Switches for inductive loads must be rated to handle these cases. The spark will cause electromagnetic interference if not suppressed; a snubber network of a resistor and capacitor in series will quell the spark.

When turned on, an incandescent lamp draws a large inrush current of about ten times the steady-state current; as the filament heats up, its resistance rises and the current decreases to a steady-state value. A switch designed for an incandescent lamp load can withstand this inrush current.

Wetting current is the minimum current needing to flow through a mechanical switch while it is operated to break through any film of oxidation that may have been deposited on the switch contacts. Providing a sufficient amount of wetting current is a crucial step in designing systems that use delicate switches with small contact pressure as sensor inputs.

Failing to do this might result in switches remaining electrically "open" due to contact oxidation. The moving part that applies the operating force to the contacts is called the actuator , and may be a toggle or dolly , a rocker , a push-button or any type of mechanical linkage see photo. A switch normally maintains its set position once operated.

A biased switch contains a mechanism that springs it into another position when released by an operator. The momentary push-button switch is a type of biased switch. The most common type is a "push-to-make" or normally-open or NO switch, which makes contact when the button is pressed and breaks when the button is released. Each key of a computer keyboard, for example, is a normally-open "push-to-make" switch. A "push-to-break" or normally-closed or NC switch, on the other hand, breaks contact when the button is pressed and makes contact when it is released.

An example of a push-to-break switch is a button used to release a door held closed by an electromagnet. The interior lamp of a household refrigerator is controlled by a switch that is held open when the door is closed. A rotary switch operates with a twisting motion of the operating handle with at least two positions. One or more positions of the switch may be momentary biased with a spring , requiring the operator to hold the switch in the position.

Other positions may have a detent to hold the position when released. A rotary switch may have multiple levels or "decks" in order to allow it to control multiple circuits. One form of rotary switch consists of a spindle or "rotor" that has a contact arm or "spoke" which projects from its surface like a cam. It has an array of terminals, arranged in a circle around the rotor, each of which serves as a contact for the "spoke" through which any one of a number of different electrical circuits can be connected to the rotor.

The switch is layered to allow the use of multiple poles, each layer is equivalent to one pole. Usually such a switch has a detent mechanism so it "clicks" from one active position to another rather than stalls in an intermediate position.

Thus a rotary switch provides greater pole and throw capabilities than simpler switches do. Rotary switches were used as channel selectors on television receivers until the early s, as range selectors on electrical metering equipment, as band selectors on multi-band radios and other similar purposes. In industry, rotary switches are used for control of measuring instruments, switchgear , or in control circuits. For example, a radio controlled overhead crane may have a large multi-circuit rotary switch to transfer hard-wired control signals from the local manual controls in the cab to the outputs of the remote control receiver.

A toggle switch is a class of electrical switches that are manually actuated by a mechanical lever , handle, or rocking mechanism. Toggle switches are available in many different styles and sizes, and are used in numerous applications. Many are designed to provide the simultaneous actuation of multiple sets of electrical contacts , or the control of large amounts of electric current or mains voltages. The word "toggle" is a reference to a kind of mechanism or joint consisting of two arms, which are almost in line with each other, connected with an elbow-like pivot.

However, the phrase "toggle switch" is applied to a switch with a short handle and a positive snap-action, whether it actually contains a toggle mechanism or not. Similarly, a switch where a definitive click is heard, is called a "positive on-off switch". Multiple toggle switches may be mechanically interlocked to prevent forbidden combinations. In some contexts, particularly computing , a toggle switch, or the action of toggling, is understood in the different sense of a mechanical or software switch that alternates between two states each time it is activated, regardless of mechanical construction.

For example, the caps lock key on a computer causes all letters to be generated in capitals after it is pressed once; pressing it again reverts to lower-case letters. Switches can be designed to respond to any type of mechanical stimulus: Many switches are operated automatically by changes in some environmental condition or by motion of machinery.

A limit switch is used, for example, in machine tools to interlock operation with the proper position of tools. In heating or cooling systems a sail switch ensures that air flow is adequate in a duct. Pressure switches respond to fluid pressure. The mercury switch consists of a drop of mercury inside a glass bulb with two or more contacts.

The two contacts pass through the glass, and are connected by the mercury when the bulb is tilted to make the mercury roll on to them. This type of switch performs much better than the ball tilt switch, as the liquid metal connection is unaffected by dirt, debris and oxidation, it wets the contacts ensuring a very low resistance bounce-free connection, and movement and vibration do not produce a poor contact.

These types can be used for precision works. It can also be used where arcing is dangerous such as in the presence of explosive vapour as the entire unit is sealed. Knife switches consist of a flat metal blade, hinged at one end, with an insulating handle for operation, and a fixed contact. When the switch is closed, current flows through the hinged pivot and blade and through the fixed contact.

Such switches are usually not enclosed. The knife and contacts are typically formed of copper , steel , or brass , depending on the application. Fixed contacts may be backed up with a spring. Several parallel blades can be operated at the same time by one handle. The parts may be mounted on an insulating base with terminals for wiring, or may be directly bolted to an insulated switch board in a large assembly.

Since the electrical contacts are exposed, the switch is used only where people cannot accidentally come in contact with the switch or where the voltage is so low as to not present a hazard. Knife switches are made in many sizes from miniature switches to large devices used to carry thousands of amperes.

In electrical transmission and distribution, gang-operated switches are used in circuits up to the highest voltages. The disadvantages of the knife switch are the slow opening speed and the proximity of the operator to exposed live parts. Metal-enclosed safety disconnect switches are used for isolation of circuits in industrial power distribution.

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