What is a Slide Switch : Working & Its Applications

There are different methods available to control the flow of current in a circuit. Among them, slide switches are most frequently used where particularly space constraints need to be taken into consideration. These switches provide a suitable & consistent technique through which control can be performed with circuit connection or disconnection which is achieved by a simple sliding motion of a switch. So this article discusses an overview of a slide switch – working with applications.

What is Slide Switch?

Definition of a slide switch is: It is a mechanical switch that is used to control the flow of current in a circuit by sliding the slider from the OFF (open) position to the ON (close) position known as a slide switch. This switch simply controls the current within a circuit without cutting a wire manually. These switches will stay in one position until changed into another position manually. The slide switch symbol is shown below.

Switch Symbol
Switch Symbol

Slide Switch Construction

The construction of the slide switch can be done by using metal slides that contact the plane metal elements on the switch. When the slider in the switch is moved then metal slide contacts will slide from one set of metal contacts to the other for activating the switch. This switch includes terminals, sliding contact, and handle which are discussed below.

Slide Switch Construction
Slide Switch Construction


This switch includes three terminals like one common pin & remaining two pins which compete for connection toward the common. These are best used for choosing between two power sources &swapping inputs.

Sliding Contact

A sliding contact in a switch is an electrical contact where current flows throughout this contact. These contacts mainly include a stationary part like a brush & a rotating part like a commutator or slip-ring. The materials used in these contacts mainly need constant, low contact voltage, and low wear rate.


A slide switch includes a bar handle, used to slide from one position to another to change its state.

How Does Slide Switch Work?

Slide switches work by using a slider to move from the OFF position to the ON position. They control the flow of current within a circuit in small projects. These switches are designed in two ways by using a metal slide and a metal seesaw.

The metal slides are used in most common designs that make contact through the flat metal parts on the switch. When the slider on the switch is moved, then metal slide contacts can move from one set of metal contacts to the other to activate the switch.

Similarly, the secondary design utilizes a metal seesaw. The slider of this switch includes a spring that pushes down on one face of the metal seesaw otherwise the other. These are maintained-contact switches, so they wait in one state until activated into the latest state and after that stay in that state until performed upon again.

Slide Switch Specifications

The specifications of the slide switch include the following which vary based on manufacturers.

  • The max voltage across the switch or voltage rating is up to 24 Vdc.
  • The max current throughout the device or switches current rating is up to 500 mA.
  • The height of the actuator is flat or raised.
  • The pitch or distance between pins is 2.54 mm or 5.08 mm.
  • These switches can oppose dust & moisture.
  • Contact rating is 12 V DC, 200 mA.
  • Contact resistance is below 50 mOhms.
  • Insulation resistance is above 100 MOhms @ 500 V DC.
  • The strength of the dielectric is 500 V, 50 Hz for a 1-minute duration of time.
  • Operating temperature ranges from -10o C to + 60o C.
  • Minimum mechanical life 5000 operations.
  • Contacts are silver-plated and phosphor bronze.
  • Terminals are brass silver-plated.
  • Contact timing is non-shorting.

Types of Slide Switches

There are different types of slide switches available in the market which is used based on the requirement. These switches are discussed below.

SPDT Slide Switch

Sometimes, SPDT switches are known as three-way switches which are used to make or break the single conductor connection with any of two other single conductors. Generally, these switches include three terminals which are normally used in pairs.

SPDT Slide Switch
SPDT Slide Switch

This is a simple switch that is used as an ON/OFF or a normal control switch. The space between the pins of these switches is 0.1but they are very thin so these are not recommended for breadboard use. These switches are rated for 0.3A at 50VDC. These switches are very smaller so it occupies less space on PCB.

SPST Slide Switch

SPST slide switches has two terminals, with one terminal connected to one side of the circuit, and the other connected to the other side. When no force is applied to the slider, it remains in its “off” position, making both sides of the circuit disconnected from each other. When the slider is moved toward one terminal, it becomes “on”, closing that terminal (and thus connecting it to one side).

SPST Slide Switch

DPST Slide Switch

These switches are mainly used to make or break the two circuit conductor’s connection within a single branch circuit. Generally, these switches include four terminals. The contacts are mechanically separated by a spring, but electrically connected by a center pin (which can be removed to make the switch momentary). When the slider is moved to one side (either up or down), the center pin connects one pole to the other so that current can flow between them. When the slider is moved to another side (again up or down), however, this connection is broken and no current flows through the device.

A DPST slide switch can have many variations in its design. For example, there may be indicator lights to show which position has been selected; there may be more than two poles on each side of the switch; there may be multiple throws within each pole; etc. To know more on how a DPST switch works click here.


DPST Slide Switch

DPDT Slide Switch

These switches are used to make or break the two conductors into two separate circuits connection. Generally, these switches include six terminals . Two of the terminals are connected together internally inside the switch, so they are effectively tied together. The other four terminals are connected to external electrical circuits and devices in various combinations. When you apply voltage to one pair of terminals and ground to another pair, the circuit will conduct electricity in only one direction. If you apply voltage to both pairs of terminals at once, the circuit will conduct electricity in both directions simultaneously — this is known as a short circuit.

DPDT Slide Switch
DPDT Slide Switch

Slide Switch Vs Paddle Switch

The difference between a slide switch and a paddle switch includes the following.

Slide Switch

Paddle Switch

A slide switch is used to control an electrical circuit by using a sliding action to shift the switch from the OFF position to the ON position. These switches are used for detecting litter material or dust levels within hoppers, silos, etc.
These switches are normally referred to as SPDT switches. These switches are known as level switches.
These switches are made with ultra-lightweight epoxy material mixed with glass. These switches are made of metal and plastic.
The voltage rating of this switch is up to 24 Vdc


The switching voltage (Max) is 230 VAC
The current rating is up to 500 mA Carry current (Max) is 3 Amps.
Operating temperature ranges from -30°C to +85°C. The maximum operating temperature is 200 Degree Celsius.

Slide Switch Interfacing with Arduino Uno R3

The interfacing of the slide switch with Arduino Uno R3 is shown below which is used to activate or deactivate an external LED. We know that this switch is used to make or break the circuit through the sliding switch handle.

The required components to connect this circuit mainly include a slide switch, Arduino Uno R3, USB cable, 220Ω resistor, LED, breadboard and jumper wires.

Slide Switch Interfacing with Arduino Uno R3
Slide Switch Interfacing with Arduino Uno R3

Generally, these switches are used with a low voltage in a circuit and their features are stabilization & flexibility. This switch includes three pins where the center pin is fixed. Once the handle is moved to the left side then the left side two pins will be connected. Similarly, when it is pushed to the right side then the two pins on the right side are connected for switching the circuit.

Here this switch plays a key role in controlling the LED. The connection of the above circuit can be made like this. The center pin of the switch is connected to the VCC of the Arduino. After 10K resistor & a 104 capacitor to the last pin of the switch, then connect it to GND. Connect an LED (light-emitting diode) to pin 6 of the Arduino.

The push slide switch handle toward the pin connected through pin 12 is High level, so at pin 6, we can light up the LED through the following programming.

//LED controlling by slide switch

//Turns on and off a LED when sliding the switch const

int switch Pin = 12; //the switch connect to pin 12
const int ledPin = 6;//the led connect to pin 6
int switchState = 0; // variable for

//reading the pushbutton status
void setup()
pinMode(switchPin, INPUT); //initialize
thebuttonPin as input
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); //initialize the led
pin as output

void loop()

//read the state of the switch value
switchState = digitalRead(switchPin);

if (switchState == HIGH ) //if it is,the
state is HIGH
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); //turn the led on
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); //turn the led off

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of slide switch include the following.

  • These are famous mechanical switches due to their simple functionality.
  • These switches provide the visual advantage to the operator to identify exactly at which condition this switch is operating.
  • These are available in standard & small sizes.

The disadvantages of slide switch include the following.

  • Frequently moving of slider can lose its sharpness and fail.
  • The mechanical component can exhaust.
  • Issues within traffic broadcasting.
  • Defenseless.


The applications of slide switch include the following.

  • Generally, these switches are used in small size projects.
  • This switch plays a key role in connecting two additional circuits to an existing one and connecting them optionally.
  • These are applicable when switching is required between one position or another.
  • These types of switches are extensively used in consumer & industrial applications: like peripherals of computers, consumer electronics devices, household appliances, test equipment, smart home systems, communication hardware, etc.
  • These are used in network devices like routers, PCs, monitors, etc
  • These switches are used in Telecommunication devices like modems, phones, transmitters & receivers, etc.
  • Consumer products like thermostats, headphones, smartphones, remote controls, TV sets, etc.
  • These are used in Test & data acquisition equipment, power tools like sanders, drills, grinders routers, jigsaws, etc.

Thus, this is all about an overview of a slide switch and its working with the application. From the above information on the slide switch, finally, we can conclude that these switches are mainly used for controlling the flow of current within a circuit by using a mechanical slider to switch ON & OFF. These switches are applicable in smaller circuits and are also used as the main power switch within battery-operated devices. Here is a question for you, what is a toggle switch?

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