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A Seminar report on



Submitted to

Ra jastha n Technical Univ ersity,Ko ta

In Partial Fulfillment of the requirement for the award of the degree of

Bachelor of Engineering

Electronics & Communication Engineering

Submitted by
Manish Gosain

Supervised by
Mr. Rohit Sharma Mr. Saurabh Binayak

(Dept. of Electronics & Communication Engg.)


Session 2009-10

This is to certify that the Seminar entitled ELECTRONICS SWITCH has been submitted to the Rajasthan Technical University,Kota in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics& Communication Engg. by Manish Gosain of Second year

B.TECH.(Electronics & Communication Engineering).

Mr. Rohit Sharma Mr. Saurabh Binayak

(Dept. of Electronics & Communication Engg.)

Date: 06/ 05 /2010


With deep esteem and profound respect, I wish to acknowledge my guide, Mr Rohit Sharma &Mr.Saurabh Binayak for the valuable guidance I received from them through formal information, discussion and timely inspiration. They had not only encouraged me throughout this venture but also took great pains in going through the manuscript carefully and suggested correction, which greatly improve the quality of the text as well as seminar. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Head of Electronics and Communication Engineering, for the encourage and inspiration; he has provided us during the preparation of this seminar. At last but not least, I would like to thank all of them who helped me directly in my endeavor.

Submitted By: Manish Gosain Electronics & Comm. Engg. Second year(IV SEM.)


In electronics, a switch is an electrical component that can break an electrical circuit, interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another.The most familiar form of switch is a manually operated electromechanical device with one or more sets of electrical contacts. Each set of contacts can be in one of two states: either 'closed' meaning the contacts are touching and electricity can flow between them, or 'open', meaning the contacts are separated and nonconducting.A switch may be directly manipulated by a human as a control signal to a system, such as a computer keyboard button, or to control power flow in a circuit, such as a light switch. SWITCH An electronic switch can be visualized as a group of one or more mechanical electrical switches (such as light switches used in commercial wiring or toggle switches used in many electronic control panels) in which, instead of mechanically opening or closing the contacts, the physical opening and closing is achieved by applying appropriate electrical control signals to separate terminals on the switch in much the same way that a relay performs. The electronic switch does not contain mechanical contacts but semiconductor devices such as bipolar junction transistors or field-effect transistors.

Automatically-operated switches can be used to control the motions of machines, for example, to indicate that a garage door has reached its full open position or that a machine tool is in a position to accept another workpiece. Switches may be operated by process variables such as pressure, temperature, flow, current, voltage, and force, acting as sensors in a process and used to automatically control a system. For example, a thermostat is an automatically-operated switch used to control a heating process.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2 Types of Switches Chapter 3




In electronics, a switch is an electrical component that can break an electrical circuit, interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another. The most familiar form of switch is a manually operated electromechanical device with one or more sets of electrical contacts. Each set of contacts can be in one of two states: either 'closed' meaning the contacts are touching and electricity can flow between them, or 'open', meaning the contacts are separated and nonconducting. A switch may be directly manipulated by a human as a control signal to a system, such as a computer keyboard button, or to control power flow in a circuit, such as a light switch. Automatically-operated switches can be used to control the motions of machines, for example, to indicate that a garage door has reached its full open position or that a machine tool is in a position to accept another workpiece. Switches may be operated by process variables such as pressure, temperature, flow, current, voltage, and force, acting as sensors in a process and used to automatically control a system. For example, a thermostat is an automatically-operated switch used to control a heating process. A switch that is operated by another electrical circuit is called a relay. Large switches may be remotely operated by a motor drive mechanism. Some switches are used to isolate electric power from a system, providing a visible point of isolation that can be pad-locked if necessary to prevent accidental operation of a machine during maintenance, or to prevent electric shock.

A toggle switch in the "on" position.

In the simplest case, a switch has two pieces of metal called contacts that touch to make a circuit, and separate to break the circuit. The contact material is chosen for its resistance to corrosion, because most metals form insulating oxides that would prevent the switch from working. Contact materials are also chosen on the basis of electrical conductivity, hardness (resistance to abrasive wear), mechanical strength, low cost and low toxicity. Sometimes the contacts are plated with noble metals. They may be designed to wipe against each other to clean off any contamination. Nonmetallic conductors, such as conductive plastic, are sometimes used.

Contact terminology A pair of contacts is said to be "closed" when current can flow from one to the other. When the contacts are separated by an insulating air gap, an air space, they are said to be "open", and no current can flow at typical voltages. Switches are classified according to the arrangement of their contacts in electronics.Electricians installing building wiring use different nomenclature, such as "one-way", "two-way", "three-way" and "four-way" switches, which have different meanings in North American and British cultural regions as described in the table below. In a push-button type switch, in which the contacts remain in one state unless actuated, the contacts can either be normally open (abbreviated "n.o." or "no") until closed by operation of the switch, or normally closed ("n.c. or "nc") and opened by the switch action. A switch with both types of contact is called a changeover switch. These may be "make-before-break" which momentarily connect both circuits, or may be "break-before-make" which interrupts one circuit before closing the other. The terms pole and throw are also used to describe switch contact variations. The number of "poles" is the number of separate circuits which are switched by a switch. The number of "throws" is the number of separate positions that the switch can adopt. A single-throw switch has one pair of contacts that can either be closed or open. A double-throw switch has a contact that can be connected to either of two other contacts, a triple-throw has a contact which can be connected to one of three other contacts, etc. These terms give 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. Inelectrical power wiring (i.e. House and building wiring by electricians) names generally involving the suffixed word "-way" are used; however, these terms differ between British and American English and the terms two way and three way are used in both with different meanings.

Biased switches

A biased switch is one containing a spring that returns the actuator to a certain position. The "onoff" notation can be modified by placing parentheses around all positions other than the resting position. For example, an (on)-off-(on) switch can be switched on by moving the actuator in either direction away from the centre, but returns to the central off position when the actuator is released. The momentary push-button switch is a type of biased switch. The most common type is a "pushto-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 normallyopen "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 open by anelectromagnet.

An electrical switch is any device used to interrupt the flow of electrons in a circuit. Switches are essentially binary devices: they are either completely on ("closed") or completely off ("open"). There are many different types of switches, and we will explore some of these types in this chapter. Though it may seem strange to cover this elementary electrical topic at such a late stage in this book series, I do so because the chapters that follow explore an older realm of digital technology based on mechanical switch contacts rather than solid-state gate circuits, and a thorough understanding of switch types is necessary for the undertaking. Learning the function of switchbased circuits at the same time that you learn about solid-state logic gates makes both topics easier to grasp, and sets the stage for an enhanced learning experience in Boolean algebra, the mathematics behind digital logic circuits. The simplest type of switch is one where two electrical conductors are brought in contact with each other by the motion of an actuating mechanism. Other switches are more complex, containing electronic circuits able to turn on or off depending on some physical stimulus (such as light or magnetic field) sensed. In any case, the final output of any switch will be (at least) a pair of wireconnection terminals that will either be connected together by the switch's internal contact mechanism ("closed"), or not connected together ("open"). Any switch designed to be operated by a person is generally called a hand switch, and they are manufactured in several varieties: Toggle switches are actuated by a lever angled in one of two or more positions. The common light switch used in household wiring is an example of a toggle switch. Most toggle switches will come to rest in any of their lever positions, while others have an internal spring mechanism returning the lever to a certain normal position, allowing for what is called "momentary" operation. Pushbutton switches are two-position devices actuated with a button that is pressed and released. Most pushbutton switches have an internal spring mechanism returning the button to its "out," or "unpressed," position, for momentary operation. Some pushbutton switches will latch alternately on or off with every push of the button. Other pushbutton switches will stay in their "in," or "pressed," position until the button is pulled back out. This last type of pushbutton switches usually have a mushroom-shaped button for easy push-pull action. Selector switches are actuated with a rotary knob or lever of some sort to select one of two or more positions. Like the toggle switch, selector switches can either rest in any of their positions or contain spring-return mechanisms for momentary operation.

Expansion British American of mains electrical Description abbreviation wiring wiring name name




Single pole, Onesingle throw way

A simple on-off switch: The two terminals are Two-way either connected together or disconnected from each

other. An example is a light switch.


Single pole, Twodouble throw way


A simple changeover switch: C (COM, Common) is connected to L1 or to L2.

Single pole changeover SPCO or SPTT, Single pole, centre off or c.o. Single Pole, Triple Throw

Similar to SPDT. Some suppliers use SPCO/SPTT for switches with a stable off position in the centre andSPDT for those without.[citation


Double pole, Double Double single throw pole pole

Equivalent to two SPST switches controlled by a single mechanism


Double pole, double throw

Equivalent to two SPDT switches controlled by a single mechanism: A is connected to B and D to E, or A is connected to C and D to F.

Double pole changeover DPCO or Double pole, centre off

Equivalent to DPDT. Some suppliers use DPCO for switches with a stable off position in the centre andDPDT for those without.

Special types Switches can be designed to respond to any type of mechanical stimulus: for example, vibration (the trembler switch), tilt, air pressure, fluid level (the float switch), the turning of a key (key switch), linear or rotary movement (the limit switch or microswitch), or presence of a magnetic field (the reed switch). Mercury tilt switch The mercury switch consists of a drop of mercury inside a glass bulb with 2 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 bouncefree 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 switch 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 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. 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 anparts. Metal-enclosed safety disconnect switches are used for isolation of circuits in industrial power distribution. Sometimes spring-loaded auxiliary blades are fitted which momentarily carry the full current during opening, then quickly part to rapidly extinguish the arc. Footswitch A footswitch is a rugged switch which is operated by foot pressure. An example of use is for the control of an electric sewing machine. Intermediate switch A DPDT switch has six connections, but since polarity reversal is a very common usage of DPDT switches, some variations of the DPDT switch are internally wired specifically for polarity reversal. These crossover switches only have four terminals rather than six. Two of the terminals are inputs and two are outputs. When connected to a battery or other DC source, the 4-way switch selects from either normal or reversed polarity. Intermediate switches are also an important part of multiway switching systems with more than two switches (see next section). Light switches In building wiring, light switches are installed at convenient locations to control lighting and occasionally other circuits. By use of multiple-pole switches, control of a lamp can be obtained from two or more places, such as the ends of a corridor or stairwell.

Power switching When a switch is designed to switch significant power, the transitional state of the switch as well as the ability to stand 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 briefly a quarter (or worse if the load is not purely resistive) of the load's rated power is dropped in the switch. For this reason, most power switches (most light switches and almost all larger switches) have spring mechanisms in them 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. A momentary on-off switch (such as on a laser pointer) usually takes the form of a button and only closes the circuit when the button is depressed. A regular on-off switch (such as on a flashlight) has a constant on-off feature. Dual-action switches incorporate both of these features.

A diagram of a dual-action switch system

A joystick switch is actuated by a lever free to move in more than one axis of motion. One or more of several switch contact mechanisms are actuated depending on which way the lever is pushed, and sometimes by how far it is pushed. The circle-and-dot notation on the switch symbol represents the direction of joystick lever motion required to actuate the contact. Joystick hand switches are commonly used for crane and robot control. Some switches are specifically designed to be operated by the motion of a machine rather than by the hand of a human operator. These motion-operated switches are commonly called limit switches, because they are often used to limit the motion of a machine by turning off the actuating power to a component if it moves too far. As with hand switches, limit switches come in several varieties:

These switches sense the rotary speed of a shaft either by a centrifugal weight mechanism mounted on the shaft, or by some kind of non-contact detection of shaft motion such as optical or magnetic.

Gas or liquid pressure can be used to actuate a switch mechanism if that pressure is applied to a piston, diaphragm, or bellows, which converts pressure to mechanical force.

An inexpensive temperature-sensing mechanism is the "bimetallic strip:" a thin strip of two metals, joined back-to-back, each metal having a different rate of thermal expansion. When the strip heats or cools, differing rates of thermal expansion between the two metals causes it to bend. The bending of the strip can then be used to actuate a switch contact mechanism. Other temperature switches use a brass bulb filled with either a liquid or gas, with a tiny tube connecting the bulb to a pressure-sensing switch. As the bulb is heated, the gas or liquid expands, generating a pressure increase which then actuates the switch mechanism.

Switch contact design A switch can be constructed with any mechanism bringing two conductors into contact with each other in a controlled manner. This can be as simple as allowing two copper wires to touch each other by the motion of a lever, or by directly pushing two metal strips into contact. However, a good switch design must be rugged and reliable, and avoid presenting the operator with the possibility of electric shock. Therefore, industrial switch designs are rarely this crude. The conductive parts in a switch used to make and break the electrical connection are called contacts. Contacts are typically made of silver or silver-cadmium alloy, whose conductive properties are not significantly compromised by surface corrosion or oxidation. Gold contacts exhibit the best corrosion resistance, but are limited in current-carrying capacity and may "cold weld" if brought together with high mechanical force. Whatever the choice of metal, the switch contacts are guided by a mechanism ensuring square and even contact, for maximum reliability and minimum resistance.

Contacts such as these can be constructed to handle extremely large amounts of electric current, up to thousands of amps in some cases. The limiting factors for switch contact ampacity are as follows:

Heat generated by current through metal contacts (while closed). Sparking caused when contacts are opened or closed. The voltage across open switch contacts (potential of current jumping across the gap).

One major disadvantage of standard switch contacts is the exposure of the contacts to the surrounding atmosphere. In a nice, clean, control-room environment, this is generally not a problem. However, most industrial environments are not this benign. The presence of corrosive chemicals in the air can cause contacts to deteriorate and fail prematurely. Even more troublesome is the possibility of regular contact sparking causing flammable or explosive chemicals to ignite. When such environmental concerns exist, other types of contacts can be considered for small switches. These other types of contacts are sealed from contact with the outside air, and therefore do not suffer the same exposure problems that standard contacts do. Contact "normal" state and make/break sequence Any kind of switch contact can be designed so that the contacts "close" (establish continuity) when actuated, or "open" (interrupt continuity) when actuated. For switches that have a spring-return mechanism in them, the direction that the spring returns it to with no applied force is called the normal position. Therefore, contacts that are open in this position are callednormally open and contacts that are closed in this position are called normally closed. For process switches, the normal position, or state, is that which the switch is in when there is no process influence on it. An easy way to figure out the normal condition of a process switch is to consider the state of the switch as it sits on a storage shelf, uninstalled. Here are some examples of "normal" process switch conditions:

Speed switch: Shaft not turning Pressure switch: Zero applied pressure Temperature switch: Ambient (room) temperature Level switch: Empty tank or bin Flow switch: Zero liquid flow

It is important to differentiate between a switch's "normal" condition and its "normal" use in an operating process. Consider the example of a liquid flow switch that serves as a low-flow alarm in a cooling water system. The normal, or properly-operating, condition of the cooling water system is to have fairly constant coolant flow going through this pipe. If we want the flow switch's contact to close in the event of a loss of coolant flow (to complete an electric circuit which activates an alarm siren, for example), we would want to use a flow switch with normally-closed rather than normally-open contacts. When there's adequate flow through the pipe, the switch's contacts are forced open; when the flow rate drops to an abnormally low level, the contacts return to their normal (closed) state. This is confusing if you think of "normal" as being the regular state of the process, so be sure to always think of a switch's "normal" state as that which it's in as it sits on a shelf.

The schematic symbology for switches vary according to the switch's purpose and actuation. A normally-open switch contact is drawn in such a way as to signify an open connection, ready to close when actuated. Conversely, a normally-closed switch is drawn as a closed connection which will be opened when actuated. Note the following symbols:

There is also a generic symbology for any switch contact, using a pair of vertical lines to represent the contact points in a switch. Normally-open contacts are designated by the lines not touching, while normally-closed contacts are designated with a diagonal line bridging between the two lines. Compare the two:

The switch on the left will close when actuated, and will be open while in the "normal" (unactuated) position. The switch on the right will open when actuated, and is closed in the "normal" (unactuated) position. If switches are designated with these generic symbols, the type of switch usually will be noted in text immediately beside the symbol. Please note that the symbol on the left is not to be confused with that of a capacitor. If a capacitor needs to be represented in a control logic schematic, it will be shown like this:

In standard electronic symbology, the figure shown above is reserved for polarity-sensitive capacitors. In control logic symbology, this capacitor symbol is used for any type of capacitor, even when the capacitor is not polarity sensitive, so as to clearly distinguish it from a normallyopen switch contact.

Here are a few common switch configurations and their abbreviated designations:

Contact "bounce" When a switch is actuated and contacts touch one another under the force of actuation, they are supposed to establish continuity in a single, crisp moment. Unfortunately, though, switches do not exactly achieve this goal. Due to the mass of the moving contact and any elasticity inherent in the mechanism and/or contact materials, contacts will "bounce" upon closure for a period of milliseconds before coming to a full rest and providing unbroken contact. In many applications, switch bounce is of no consequence: it matters little if a switch controlling an incandescent lamp "bounces" for a few cycles every time it is actuated. Since the lamp's warm-up time greatly exceeds the bounce period, no irregularity in lamp operation will result. However, if the switch is used to send a signal to an electronic amplifier or some other circuit with a fast response time, contact bounce may produce very noticeable and undesired effects:

A closer look at the oscilloscope display reveals a rather ugly set of makes and breaks when the switch is actuated a single time:

If, for example, this switch is used to provide a "clock" signal to a digital counter circuit, so that each actuation of the pushbutton switch is supposed to increment the counter by a value of 1, what will happen instead is the counter will increment by several counts each time the switch is actuated. Since mechanical switches often interface with digital electronic circuits in modern systems, switch contact bounce is a frequent design consideration. Somehow, the "chattering" produced by bouncing contacts must be eliminated so that the receiving circuit sees a clean, crisp off/on transition:

Switch contacts may be debounced several different ways. The most direct means is to address the problem at its source: the switch itself. Here are some suggestions for designing switch mechanisms for minimum bounce:

Reduce the kinetic energy of the moving contact. This will reduce the force of impact as it comes to rest on the stationary contact, thus minimizing bounce. Use "buffer springs" on the stationary contact(s) so that they are free to recoil and gently absorb the force of impact from the moving contact. Design the switch for "wiping" or "sliding" contact rather than direct impact. "Knife" switch designs use sliding contacts. Dampen the switch mechanism's movement using an air or oil "shock absorber" mechanism. Use sets of contacts in parallel with each other, each slightly different in mass or contact gap, so that when one is rebounding off the stationary contact, at least one of the others will still be in firm contact. "Wet" the contacts with liquid mercury in a sealed environment. After initial contact is made, the surface tension of the mercury will maintain circuit continuity even though the moving contact may bounce off the stationary contact several times.

Each one of these suggestions sacrifices some aspect of switch performance for limited bounce, and so it is impractical to design all switches with limited contact bounce in mind. Alterations made to reduce the kinetic energy of the contact may result in a small open-contact gap or a slowmoving contact, which limits the amount of voltage the switch may handle and the amount of current it may interrupt. Sliding contacts, while non-bouncing, still produce "noise" (irregular current caused by irregular contact resistance when moving), and suffer from more mechanical wear than normal contacts. Multiple, parallel contacts give less bounce, but only at greater switch complexity and cost. Using mercury to "wet" the contacts is a very effective means of bounce mitigation, but it is unfortunately limited to switch contacts of low ampacity. Also, mercury-wetted contacts are usually limited in mounting position, as gravity may cause the contacts to "bridge" accidently if oriented the wrong way. If re-designing the switch mechanism is not an option, mechanical switch contacts may be debounced externally, using other circuit components to condition the signal. A low-pass filter circuit attached to the output of the switch, for example, will reduce the voltage/current fluctuations generated by contact bounce:

Switch contacts may be debounced electronically, using hysteretic transistor circuits (circuits that "latch" in either a high or a low state) with built-in time delays (called "one-shot" circuits), or two inputs controlled by a double-throw switch. These hysteretic circuits, called multivibrators.


The parts of a switch responsible for making and breaking electrical continuity are called the "contacts." Usually made of corrosion-resistant metal alloy, contacts are made to touch each other by a mechanism which helps maintain proper alignment and spacing. Mercury switches use a slug of liquid mercury metal as a moving contact. Sealed in a glass tube, the mercury contact's spark is sealed from the outside environment, making this type of switch ideally suited for atmospheres potentially harboring explosive vapors. Reed switches are another type of sealed-contact device, contact being made by two thin metal "reeds" inside a glass tube, brought together by the influence of an external magnetic field. Switch contacts suffer greater duress switching DC than AC. This is primarily due to the self-extinguishing nature of an AC arc. The normal state of a switch is that where it is unactuated. For process switches, this is the condition it's in when sitting on a shelf, uninstalled. A switch that is open when unactuated is called normally-open. A switch that is closed when unactuated is callednormally-closed. Sometimes the terms "normally-open" and "normally-closed" are abbreviated N.O. and N.C., respectively.

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