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The rocker switch is one of the most common forms of switches. Its name is derived from the see saw action of the rocker – when one side of the switch is pressed, the other side raises. They are used to turn the power on and off devices and applications which are operated by electricity. There are many variations including size, contact form, voltage, illumination, number of poles and throws etc. We will help to clarify these below:
Poles & Throws
Commonly these devices are described in terms of the number of poles and throws. Pole refers to the number of circuits a switch operates. Throw refers to the number of positions each switch pole can be connected to.
Common switch forms:
Switch Action – Latching or Momentary?
When selecting a rocker switch, you need to decide if you require a latching or momentary switch action.
Latching – this means that the switch activates when pressed and the circuit is not broken until the switch is pressed again.
Momentary – the switch circuit is connected when the actuator is pressed and disconnects as soon as the rocker is released. A momentary switch action is shown as follows:
Switches are rated by their electrical characteristics. Voltage and current are the two principal ratings.
Current Rating – The current rating of a switch notes the maximum amount of current the switch is designed to carry. This rating is dependent on the voltage of the circuit in which the switch is used. If the maximum current is exceeded, there is a danger that the switch contacts will weld together meaning the electrical circuit will no longer open.
Voltage Rating – this refers to the maximum voltage allowable in the electrical circuit where the switch is used. The voltage rating may be given as AC or DC voltage, or both.
Types of load – you also need to consider the electrical load in a circuit. Load is a generic term for something that draws power. Simply put, it is the piece of equipment you turn on and off. The amount of current drawn, multiplied by the voltage equals the amount of power used by the device.
Resistive loads primarily offer resistance to the flow of current. Examples of resistive loads are heaters, ovens, toasters and irons. If the device is likely to get hot and doesn’t move, then it is most likely a resistive load.
Inductive loads are generally devices that move and usually include an electric magnet, like an electric motor. Examples of inductive loads include power drills, mixers, fans, sewing machines and vacuum cleaners. Transformers also produce inductive loads.
High inrush loads draw a higher amount of current or amperage when first turned on compared to the amount of current required to continue running. The initial surge in current can cause switch contacts to weld together. This additional demand on a switch must be considered for applications such as Motors which often have high inrush loads.
Rocker Switch Sizes
The size of a rocker switch is generally referred to as “cut-out”. Rocker switches usually snap fit into a panel on an application. The cut-out is the size of the hole which the switch will fit into. Rocker switch shapes are commonly round or rectangular.
We supply a whole range of rocker switch sizes to suit the majority of applications:
ABSL series – 19×6.8mm slim line small rocker switch
A1 series – 19x13mm
A4 series – 22x19mm
B1 & SX81 series – 30x11mm
B4 & SX82 series – 30x22mm
ABRR series – 20mm round rocker switches
Above is an example of the cut out information provided on a typical data sheet.
Switch colour, illumination and marking
The majority of rocker switches are black or white, however, they can be supplied in a variety of colours. Most illuminated switches are red, green, amber or blue and again, other options are available particularly if using an LED lamp. Our illuminated versions are available in 12VDC or 24VDC as well as mains voltage.
Markings help to show the user what position the switch is in. Standard markings such as below are widely available.
In addition, customised markings are also available however, please be aware that additional costs and minimum order quantities will apply.
IP65 Rated Rocker Switches
Our B4MASK range is IP65 rated. These switches are fitted with a rubber skirt/seal which protects the internal mechanisms from water ingress. Suitable applications include pressure washers, steam cleaners, outdoor equipment, industrial machines and control panels.
Rocker Switch Accessories
Fitting a splash proof cap to a rocker switch increases the IP rating. Standard switches are generally rated at IP40 and when a cap is fitted correctly, the rating reaches IP65. Following is a link to our switch accessories page on our website – https://www.abcomponents.co.uk/product-category/switches/switch-accessories/
At Alan Butcher Components, we stock an extensive range of rocker switches. We are the UK agent and distributor for Everel who manufacture the Molveno brand of electro mechanical components. The Molveno brand was established in 1978 and has developed a strong presence within the European household appliance market. The Everel Group headquarters is in Italy, with switch products manufactured on site and in Romania – www.everelgroup.com Everel switches are extremely high quality products. We have been working with Everel since we started our business in 1986 and are proud to represent them within the UK.
In addition to the Molveno products, we offer our own branded rocker switches. We have worked with our supplier for over 15 years and developed a strong working relationship. This ensures we are confident in the quality of the products we sell and have the expertise available should technical queries arise. This relationship enables us to respond to enquiries quickly, particularly regarding lead-times and customised products.
Rocker Switches UK – Our Most Popular Products
As mentioned, we have a huge variety of sizes, colours, switch functions and voltages. Below are links to some of our most popular products which are used in a wide cross section of industries and applications:
A series – small rocker switch range
12V Rocker Switch
When choosing a switch to use in an electrical design, many people believe they can use any switch, providing its current rating is more than the maximum load in the circuit. This, of course is not true. Direct current (dc) is used in different circuits to alternating current (ac) switch applications. Low voltage switching speed can be very important due to the internal function of the switch.
When a 12v rocker switch is turned off in a low voltage system an arc is created inside of the switch. In this application the arc can take longer to extinguish itself making the switching speed important. The longer a switch takes to open or break the power to the circuit, the more prolonged the arc. This can result in the switch contacts becoming pitted which can potentially lead to overheating. So, in the case of a 12vdc system the correct choice of 12v rocker switch is important.
For more information on these products, click on the link and use the “enquire about this product” form on the product page. You can then request additional technical details, a quotation or free sample for evaluation. Please add your telephone number if you would like us to call you back. As mentioned, there is a large variety of rocker switch products available. We will be very happy to discuss your application with you to ensure you have all the information you need to make the right choice.
Call 01258 456360 or email email@example.com