5 steps to select a basic switch


Step 4: Determine operational life requirements

Switch reliability is critical. How many cycles of electrical and mechanical operations will an application need?  Because these switches can be designed with various contact materials, casings, and terminals, they can meet the electrical and mechanical requirements of a wide range of applications.

A high-reliability snap-action switch can operate up to 10 to 20 million cycles before mechanical failure and up to 50,000 to 100,000 electrical cycles under maximum load before electrical failure.

Take into consideration that the price difference between a high and low quality switch can be pennies. Keep in mind the total cost of ownership. It's not only the cost of the switch that you're paying for, but also the assurance that the switch will continue to operate without issue for an extended period.  In many cases, a more reliable switch will pay for itself in terms of decreased warranty costs over the life of the assembly.

Step 5: Check for agency approval requirements

Choose switches that meet a variety of global electrical requirements, which helps simplify product design for multiple regions. Key standards include UL in the U.S., cUL or CSA in Canada, ENEC in Europe and CQC in China.

Several factors such as physical size, load requirements, operating environment, and reliability should be considered when selecting a snap-action basic switch. Always understand the application: What size switch is needed? What is the power rating required for the application? Is it a low-voltage application? Does the switch need to be environmentally sealed? Does the switch need to withstand extreme temperatures? Are global agency approvals required? Is it a mission-critical application? Once these questions are answered, it’s easier to select the right switch for the application.

Tom Werner is senior product marketing manager for basic switches, Honeywell Sensing and Control. Courtesy: Honeywell Sensing and Control- Tom Werner is senior product marketing manager for basic switches, Honeywell Sensing and Control. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

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Author biography

Tom Werner is a senior global product marketing manager for the global basic switch business at Honeywell Sensing and Control (S&C). In this role, Werner is responsible for providing leadership, driving growth and performance, and leading the basic switch line.  

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