Inventory Search | Manufacturers | Products | Distributors | Product Information Pages
Home | Sign In | Register


Switches are mechanical/electronic devices designed for interrupting, completing, or changing connections in an electrical circuit when desired. Besides mechanical or electronic switches, this section includes keyboards, matrices and modular devices.
Cam Switches (32 Companies)
Cam switches are generally rotary-type and can be programmable or hand-operated for main and auxiliary circuits with many switch contacts, etc. Used as motor switches, change-over switches, high voltage switches and in other industrial applications.
Capacitive Keyboards (17 Companies)
Type of keyboards which sense keystrokes by detecting changes in capacitance of an electronic circuit. The change may be accomplished by a moveable conductive plate coming in proximity with a conductive pattern on a PCB.
Coaxial Switches (73 Companies)
Coaxial switches are generic type designed to function within the RF/microwave band. The connector type is coaxial and specially constructed to reduce loss, VSWR, etc. Often used in cable boxes, DVD players, high power RF/microwave devices, radar, etc.
Coded Switches (33 Companies)
Coded switches are activated by a rotating or moving shaft. The shaft has several stop positions or grooves. Each position causes the output of a binary code or other sequence. May also be designed with rotary-coded DIP switches or thumbwheel type, etc.
Keyboards constructed with a molded insulating silicone rubber mat with conductive carbon dots (pills or pads) over a PCB. Upon key actuation, the carbon dot touches the PC conductors and closes the switch circuit.
DIP Switches (43 Companies)
Usually found in a standard DIL-form package, although they include rotary and slide configurations. Switch is designed for a PCB and used to customize the behavior of an electronic device for specific situations.
Dome Switches (28 Companies)
Dome switches are tactile switches under a rubber bubble. The switch collapses when touched, making contact with the switch. Commonly used in keypads and membrane keyboards. They are popular in the consumer market since they operate quietly and smoothly.
Environmental switch seals prevent switches from being affected by damaging environmental factors, such as contaminants, bacteria and environmental elements. Usually made from pliable silicone rubber. Found in marine, military and industrial applications.
Foot Pedal Switches (23 Companies)
Activated by stepping down on an electrically charged mat or on a pedal. They work by applying a voltage potential across two pads, and upon contact, the two pads touch. Switches useful because they are extremely flexible and bendable.
Hall Effect Switches (37 Companies)
Hall effect switches generally incorporate an IC chip containing a Hall generator, trigger circuit, and amplifier. Depressing the switch moves a magnetic shunt member and, via the Hall effect, switches the trigger circuit to its on state.
Defined as switches operating in circuits where applied voltage can exceed a voltage potential of 500 volts or more. Used in power supplies, power distribution systems, industrial machinery, X-ray devices, military uses, medical applications, etc.
Illuminated Switches (98 Companies)
Illuminated switches are indicator devices added into generic-type switches. Once activated, switch operation causes a lamp to light up, or illuminate. Lighting device may be incandescent, LED, etc. Used in computers, televisions and electronic devices.
Membrane keyboards have no separation or moving parts. Each key is a pressure pad with specific nomenclature. Switch contact is between keyboard letters and underlying circuits. Dome keyboards are a melding of both membrane and mechanical keyboards.
Interlock Switches (40 Companies)
An interlock switch is a device or set of switches to insure the proper sequence of actions occur for the switch to perform its intended function. Many switches are operated by key(s). Devices also often found in automobile, alarms, doors, gates, etc.
Key Lock Switches (64 Companies)
Key lock switches are activated by a key. The key is normally turned in a circular motion and can stop in several ranges to operate the switch. Devices often found in alarm systems, automobiles, security, etc.
Keyboard legends/symbols and their graphic overlays are the switches on a keyboard that are pressed down to select particular letters, numbers, or symbols. A graphic overlay is a polycarbonate PCB within the keypad allowing the key to connect the switch.
Keyboards are peripheral interface devices consisting of alphanumeric keys or buttons to input characters to a computer, instrument interface, etc. Keypads are smaller and allow users to press keys or enter codes to control equipment and machinery.
Keyboard/Keypad Switches (82 Companies)
Keyboard/keypad switches are usually tactile switches commonly located in keyboards or keypads. They give the user sensory feedback when the switch makes contact with its control panel, which is commonly a PCB.
Keypads/Touchpads (104 Companies)
Keypads are small keyboards allowing users to press keys or enter codes to control equipment and machinery. Touchpads are pointing devices consisting of a specialized surface that translates motion/position of user's fingers to relative screen position.
Latching Switches (39 Companies)
Usually generic pushbutton switches that are activated when pressed, and alternately latches on or off with every activation of the switch. Requires a press turn on movement and toggles off with a second press.
Leaf Switches (15 Companies)
Essentially two or more flexible slivers ("leaves") of metal held close together at one end by a non-conductive spacer. Pushing one piece(s) of metal causes it to bend and touch the other(s) to close the switch.
Lever/Paddle Switches (64 Companies)
The mechanism that is used to operate or control the function of a toggle switch may be formed as a broad paddle-shaped handle or small lever.
Limit Switches (65 Companies)
A limit switch consists of an actuator mechanically linked to a set of contacts. When an object comes into contact with the actuator, the device operates the contacts to make or break an electrical connection.
Liquid Level Switches (40 Companies)
Liquid level switches are used in conjunction with a sensor. Capable of detecting wet/dry conditions, liquid to liquid or liquid to solid interfaces, etc. Used in liquid monitoring applications, heaters, automotive applications, control technology, etc.
Low Voltage Switches (66 Companies)
Generally pushbutton type switches used for controlling relatively low voltage devices used in the consumer market, automotive field, alarm systems, etc.
Generic term for any type of switch that uses magnetically activated elements to control switch operation. Typical types are reed switches, Hall effect switches, etc.
Matrix Switches (53 Companies)
Switching matrices route many signals e.g. as data, video, RF, etc. from multiple inputs to multiple outputs. Functions as a single unit or integrated into a network. Used in areas where multiple switching I/O required, as in hospitals, airports, etc.
Membrane Switches (90 Companies)
A membrane switch is mounted or printed on a PCB. Used in many electrical appliances in which the re-bounce feeling is not important. Applications include microwave oven control panel, air conditioner control panel, remote controls, etc.
Miniature Switches (42 Companies)
Refers to any switch that is relatively small in size. May be a stand-alone type, mounted on a PCB, or surface mount. Generally used in low voltage, low power applications and where packaging requirements is a consideration.
Momentary Action Switches (105 Companies)
A momentary action switch is activated when a mechanism is moved out of, or returned, to its normal position by internal springs or mechanisms. The switch must be held in position but reverts to normal position as soon as the actuating force is removed.
Multiposition Switches (85 Companies)
Important parameters for a switch are “pole” and “throw.” Pole refers to number of circuits that can be controlled by a switch. Throw indicates the number of conductors or paths a switch can control. Multiposition switches refer to more than one throw.
PCB Switch Assemblies (85 Companies)
PCB mounted switches are packaged to be mounted directly on a PCB. As such they offer a relatively small packaging profile and size to the designer.
Power Switches (98 Companies)
General term referring to switches that handle large currents or high voltages. Can be used in applications for power distribution systems, power supplies, industrial machinery, military uses, medical applications, broadcasting, etc.
Pressure Switches (62 Companies)
Pressure switches are a form of switch making electrical contact when a certain set pressure of a gas or liquid is reached on its input. Can have an electromechanical or solid state construction. Provides switching from a pneumatic or hydraulic source.
Proximity Switches (65 Companies)
Proximity switches are devices that use sensors to react to the proximity of an actuating means without physical contact or connection. May rely on capacitive, magnetic, inductive influences on the sensor to trigger switch action.
Pushbutton Switches (142 Companies)
Mechanical switches defined by the method used for activation. Typical type comes in the form of a plunger that is pushed down to open or close the switch.
Reed Switches (46 Companies)
Reed switches are packaged within a hermetically sealed glass envelope and consist of contacts formed by two thin, movable, magnetically actuated metal vanes or reeds held in a normally open position.
Rocker Switches (84 Companies)
A rocker switch is a generic on/off switch that rocks (rather than trips ) when pressed–implying one switch side raises while other side is depressed. Used in surge protectors, display monitors, computer supplies, and many other devices and applications.
Rotary Switches (99 Companies)
Electromechanical switches which are capable of selecting, making, or breaking an electrical circuit. The switch action is by a rotational torque applied to its shaft.
Rotary-Coded DIP Switches (26 Companies)
Rotary coded DIP switches are activated by a rotating shaft with several stop positions. Switch usually mounted on a PCB. Changing position of rotating shaft generates a circuit code. Common formats include BCD, octal, hexadecimal, Gray code, etc.
Safety Switches (33 Companies)
Generic type switches which operate manually or automatically with a fuse, to provide means for breaking electrical current to a device. Typical safety toggle switch has red cover that when lifted flips switch on and will switch off when pressed down.
Sealed Switches (114 Companies)
Sealed switches are hermetically sealed from the outside air and designed to operate under conditions which subject switch to immersion in water or a high humidity environment. Generally after construction the switch is encapsulated in epoxy.
Refers to switches specially designed to operate even after intensive shock/vibration or conditions which subject switch to immersion in water or a high humidity environment. Generally after construction the switch is encapsulated in epoxy.
Slide Switches (61 Companies)
Slide switches move (slides) from position to position as the method of activation. May be packaged as full size or subminiature, etc. Comes in panel mount, PCB mount, or SMT styles. Used in many consumer electronics and computer peripheral applications.
Snap Action Switches (107 Companies)
Mechanical switches that produce an abrupt transfer of contacts from one position to another. This action is relatively independent of the speed of actuator travel and useful in situations requiring fast opening or closing of a circuit.
Solid State Switches (74 Companies)
A solid state switch has no moving parts and relies on semiconductors rather than on mechanical motion to control current flow. Discrete devices e.g. DIACs, IGBTs, SCRs, transistors, thryristor, triacs, etc. can be designed to operate as a switch.
Surface Mount Switches (46 Companies)
Switch component terminals are soldered to pads or foil patterns of a PCB. Generally used in designs where space considerations are at a premium.
Switch boots protects toggle, pushbutton, rocker, rotary switches, and also lever-actuated circuit breakers. Protects against contaminants, salt water, lubricants, dust, etc. and environmental elements. Usually made of tough, pliable, silicone rubber.
Switching and control modules refer to generic types of switches which are indirectly used to control various devices or processes.
Switching Matrices (19 Companies)
Switching matrices route many signals e.g. as data, video, RF, etc. from multiple inputs to multiple outputs. Functions as a single unit or integrated into a network. Used in areas where multiple switching I/O required, as in hospitals, airports, etc.
Switching Systems (126 Companies)
Switching systems refer to units which route many signals e.g. as data, video, RF, etc. from multiple inputs to multiple outputs. Switching operation is usually under programmable for simplicity. Functions as a single unit or integrated into a network.
Tact Switches (48 Companies)
Tact switches operate on the sense of touch. When a force is applied to the top membrane surface over a spacer hole, the membrane deflects into the hole allowing opposing circuitry on the bottom membrane to make electrical contact.
Thermally actuated switches contain temperature sensors (usually bimetallic strips made up of two joined metals with different rates of thermal expansion). When strip is cooled or heated, their thermal expansions cause strip to bend, activating switch.
Thumbwheel Switches (28 Companies)
Thumbwheel switches are rotary types that operate using a rolling wheel. They are multi-positional and bi-directional and usually ganged together to create decimal, hexadecimal, BCD, two’s complement, etc. output numerical codes.
Tilt Switches (6 Companies)
Tilt switches are actuated by changes in orientation/direction. Switches part of circuitry located on object to be monitored. Common switch is mercury filled and activated when the switch is moved, letting mercury flow to make contact to affect circuit.
Toggle Switches (91 Companies)
A switch that uses a toggle joint with a spring to open or close an electric circuit as an attached lever, handle, or rocking mechanism is pushed through a small arc.
Touch Actuated Switches (107 Companies)
Touch-sensitive switches, like tactile switches, operate by touching or pressing to make a connection–they do not have moving parts. Temperature, resistance, acoustic resonance, capacity, etc. all determine the effectiveness of the switch.
Vacuum Switches (22 Companies)
Vacuum switches are switches in which the contacts are enclosed in an evacuated bulb or envelope, usually to minimize sparking or arcing across the contacts. Generally used in high voltage applications.

Recent Articles for Switches:
What’s It Worth: Simple vacuum tube testers
There is nothing simple about a good vacuum tube tester. In fact, most tube testers were very complicated to . . .
RF MEMS Switching: What You Need to Know
In this application note, the basic operation principle and driving method for OMRON’s MEMS switch (2SMES-01), that has an . . .
Companies in the industry: muRata Electronics
Headquartered in Nagaokakyo, Kyoto, muRata is among the leading supplier of core electronics for mobile phones, computers and audio-visual . . .
Peerless Electronics to Distribute Carling Technologies
Peerless Electronics Inc, an employee-owned company and one of the world’s largest stocking distributors of switches, relays, and circuit . . .
Industry Innovators: Rick Hamada
John Filippelli: In your experience in the technology industry, what are the keys to identifying the technological needs for . . .
eeTechBriefs – 15-Minute on-demand multimedia web casts covering the latest product developments.
Application Reference Materials – Free Literature Search - App Notes, Design Kits, Eval Boards, Reference Designs, and more. Submit a request for Literature.