What is Rocker Switch : Working & Its Applications

The electrical components which are used to turn ON and OFF power in various kinds of electrical and electronic devices are known as switches. These devices are simply operated by electricity. So, ON and OFF the power by using the switches can be achieved by breaking the electrical circuit to turn OFF the power & connecting the circuit to turn ON the power. There are different types of switches available in the market like a toggle switch, a rocker switch, SPDT, DPDT, SPST, etc. So this article provides brief information on one of the types of switches namely rocker switch – working with applications.


What is Rocker Switch?

A rocker switch definition is; an ON/OFF switch that trips once pressed on one side which means one side of the switch is raised while another side is depressed. There are two symbols on this switch where one is a circle symbol which indicates ON & the side is a line or horizontal dash which indicates OFF. Sometimes, these types of switches are known as see-saw switches. These switches are mainly used in display monitors, surge protectors, power supplies for computers, and many more.

Rocker Switch
Rocker Switch

Pin Diagram

The rocker switch pin diagram is shown below. This switch includes three terminals which are discussed below.

Rocker Switch Pin Configuration
Rocker Switch Pin Configuration
  • Pin1 (Power): This is a power pin, where the switch gets power from the power source.
  • Pin2 (ACC): This pin is connected to the load in the circuit. Once the rocker switch is turned ON, the load will be turned ON.
  • Pin3 (GND): This pin is connected to the GND of the circuit.

Rocker Switch Working Principle

The working principle of the rocker switch is very simple. Once the switch is pushed from ON to OFF/OFF to ON state, then the spring movement within the switch will tilt the movable contact to establish the electrical connection through the output contact.

This switch includes two main components an actuator and a set of contacts. An actuator in the switch moves & applies force to the contacts to turn ON & OFF the switch whereas the set of contacts will determine whether the switch is set to ON/OFF. Here, a set of contacts in the switch allows the current flow when the switch is set to ON contact and will break the current flow, when the switch will be turned to off position.

Once this switch is turned ON, then the contacts will be closed. So in this position, the contacts will be touched to allow the flow of current between them. Similarly, once the same switch is turned OFF, then the contacts will be pulled into an open position. Once these contacts are in an open position, then they will not touch each other, so there is no flow of current between them.

Rocker Switch Construction

The Rocker Switch is constructed using an operation button, semi-elliptical spring, sealing rubber, internal case, cover, lid, contacts & terminals.

Rocker Switch Construction
Rocker Switch Construction

Operation Button

This operation button is operated manually by pushing a switch between ON & OFF. Some kinds of switches are available with printed symbols on the button to specify the ON/OFF condition.

Sealing Rubber

Sealing rubber is one type of rubber component that seals the switch to protect it from moisture.

Spring

The spring in the switch is a semi-elliptical leaf spring that is connected through contact to the end. Once the switch is turned ON then the spring moves the contact instantly to the fixed contact & uses high contact power for a stable contact between the two. But, when the switch is turned OFF, the contact’s release force can be increased which helps in avoiding contact welding.

Cover

The cover of the switch is a resin component that wraps the internal case to protect the sealing rubber into position.

Contacts & Terminals

The fixed contact is designed by connecting a contact to one of the ends of the terminal.

Rocker Switch Circuit Diagram

The rocker switch wiring diagram is shown below. This circuit can be built with a battery, a fuse, a rocker switch, and a motor. The connection of this circuit can be done like this; Here, the power pin of the switch gets power from a 12v battery. A fuse is connected in between a battery and a switch. Pin2 is connected to load like a DC motor and negative terminal of the battery and Gnd pin of the switch are connected to GND.

Rocker Switch Circuit Diagram
Rocker Switch Circuit Diagram

Sometimes, rocker switches are able to bear a certain amount of current, so fuses are connected in between the power source & power pin of the switch to protect the switch from excessive current otherwise it could harm otherwise destroy the motor.

This circuit is used to turn ON and OFF the motor. Once the switch is turned ON, then the DC motor will be turned ON and operates immediately. Once the same switch is turned OFF then the DC motor will be turned OFF, so it will not work because it doesn’t get power from the power source like a 12v battery.

Rocker Switch Types

Rocker switches are available in different styles and formats like On-on, On-off, round rocker, power rocker, push button, momentary, E-switch, changeover, center-off switch, illuminated rocker, high inrush rocker, On-NONE-On or On-NONE-Off and many more which are used in different applications based on the requirement. Some of them are discussed below.

On-Off/Off On

These switches allow the operator to choose the on &off positions to provide power supply to a minimum of one or above circuits simultaneously. Typically, on-off rocker switches will include two positions.  You can also purchase an on-on type switch based on requirements.

ON or OFF Rocker Switch
ON or OFF Rocker Switch

Illuminated

Many rocker switches include illumination to illustrate whether power is being transmitted to a circuit or not within a specified location. These types of rocker switches are frequently used in surge protectors, power strips, dashboard displays, control arrays, instrument panels, some appliance breakers & wall-mounted light switches.

Illuminated
Illuminated

Momentary

These switches are known as non-latching or push switches. These switches are designed as either normally on otherwise normally off when the switch is in its default position. This switch is engaged only when pressed & comes back to its default position when not being pushed. Momentary rocker switches are extensively used on different types of intermittent input devices like keypad controls, and electric door & window mechanisms.

Momentary Rocker Switch
Momentary Rocker Switch

Changeover

A changeover rocker switch is also called a transfer switch which is normally used to divert voltage from one type of circuit to other circuits. These switches are most frequently used in mains grid functions and power supply which allows the user to choose between one input source. These switches are operated manually or automated. Some kinds of changeover switches work like two simultaneous CBs or circuit breakers.

Changeover
Changeover

Center-off

Generally, every type of rocker switch includes a central OFF position. But this switch has two ON positions usually at any side of the see-sawing mechanism. These may be called on-off-on switches. This kind of rocker switch is a momentary switch, even though in most cases these switches are designed for completely manual operation within all positions.

Centre-Off
Centre-Off

Rocker Switch Vs Toggle Switch

The difference between the rocker switch and the toggles switch is discussed below.

Rocker Switch

Toggle Switch

Rocker switch in electrical ON or OFF switch. The toggle switch is an electromechanical switch.
These switches are available in different types like On-On, On-Off, round rocker, power rocker, and many more. These switches are available in different types like On-On, On-Off, On-Off-On, momentary, and many more.
This switch is suitable for low-traffic areas where you don’t require cleaning frequently. This switch is suitable for rooms where you don’t want to worry about a  need for additional space on your wall.
This switch can be identified by the circle on one end and the line on the other end of the switch. This switch can be identified by the presence of the lever or handle.
The terminals of the rocker switch are; power, accessories, and GND. The terminals of the toggle switch are; A (Output1), COM (Input), and B (Output2).

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of the rocker switch include the following.

  • Rocker switches need less hand pressure to operate.
  • These switches provide a somewhat quieter operation.
  • These switches are available with icons.

The disadvantages of rocker switch include the following.

  • As compared to toggle switches, these switches need a little more force to operate the switch.
  • These switches are applicable only in small spaces because they will not work in larger spaces.
  • The dust can form over time under the switch.
  • These are more sensitive as compared to other types of switches.
  • These switches move forward and backward so they need more space.

Applications

The applications of rocker switches include the following.

  • These switches are mostly observed on power outlets, wall sockets, extensions & surge protectors.
  • These are frequently used on different kinds of integrated electrical devices & standalone appliances.
  • Rocker switches are used in control panels, power supplies, and household appliances like vacuum cleaners, and dehumidifiers.
  • These are used in medical devices and machinery.
  • These switches are used in pneumatic, Hydraulic, and HVAC systems.
  • These are used in dashboards and vehicle electronics like electric windows, seat switches, defoggers, etc.
  • These rocker switches are used where physical space is restricted. Mini rocker switches are also used even for smaller areas and they are very easy to clean.

Thus, this is all about an overview of rocker switch –working with applications. These switches are also known as see-saw switches where the maximum current handled by these switches are 10A, 16A & 20 A. So these are frequently used as ON or OFF switches in the main power supplies of electronic devices. Here is a question for you, who invented the rocker switch?

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