Things To Consider When Buying Switches

Monday, December 31, 2012

Online Switches Shopping
Online switch shopping – know what type you need
Switches are devices that open and close an electric circuit. They can be operated mechanically or electronically to light up a room, operate mechanical and electronic appliances, start engines or move objects. Switches can replace a keyboard or a mouse on a computer.
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When combined with appropriate software, they provide a reliable way to control one or more movements in an electronic device. Whatever their use and design, many switches can look the same leaving the buyer confused for choice. It is worth keeping a few things in mind before buying.


Most people may think that they know about light switches but, although they all look similar, they have very different uses. Firstly, you must decide where the switch is to be installed and whether you will control the fixture directly or from one or more locations. These could be from a smart phone or other remote control system.

The switch has also to be compatible with the circuit where it is installed.

The most common is the single pole that can be controlled from just one location. These switches are also the easiest to install and replace.

A three-way switch controls a fixture from two locations, something common in hallways and staircases.

Four-way and multiple location switches are used for large spaces for extra convenience and safety.

Double switches control two fixtures from one box.

Dimmers allow anyone to vary the light intensity in any room.
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Transfer switches

A transfer switch closes of the mains power supply to a building during a power cut and opens up an electric circuit linking in a generator. When the power is restored, it reverses the process.

These switches can be a manual type that are hard wired into a control panel and can be used to power a portable generator. As they have to be turned on and off manually, there could be a delay in resuming electricity supply during a power cut if no-one is home.

An automatic switch turns on the generator when it registers a drop in voltage from the mains. These are most often used with standby generators that resemble air conditioning equipment.

Piezo switches
Piezo switches work by the application of a small amount of stress to certain types of materials. These react to pressure by generating an electric charge, a phenomenon called the piezoelectric effect. It is usually combined with another semiconductor to send a pulse to a further circuit. This is a very durable technology with no moving parts, springs or actuator systems that can fail in extreme weather or be vandalised. This is the basis for switches behind touch screen panels on fuel pumps and car wash stations to electronic gadgets such as phones. They are also a good idea in burglar alarms.

The basic piezo switch just operates by touch. Programmable piezo switches also operate by touch but have a time delay and other activation functions. They can be illuminated a customised by colour, shape and size. This makes it easier to match a device to equipment during online switch shopping.