What is Toggle Switch : Working & Its Applications

In electrical engineering, an electrical component that is used to connect or disconnect the conducting lane or interrupt the flow of current within an electrical circuit is known as a switch. This switch is very useful in opening & closing different electrical circuits in normal load conditions. Switches are available in different types based on their characteristics, size, environmental resistance, robustness, and many more which are used in industrial equipment, consumer and commercial devices. The switches which are used in industries are; tactile, rocker, pushbutton, thumb wheel, and DIP whereas the switches used in consumer & commercial devices are; miniature detection, toggles switch, limit, and basic switches. So this article discusses one of the types of switch namely toggle switch and its working with applications.


What is Toggle Switch?

An electrical switch that activates by a moving lever or a handle forward and backward to open or close an electrical switch is known as a toggle switch. These switches are also called toggle power switches or joystick switches. These switches are versatile devices, so they can be utilized with any electrical application.

Toggle Switch
Toggle Switch

Generally, switches are operated manually, so in many electrical circuits, the toggle switch plays a key role like a simple ON/OFF switch. The toggle switch function is to control the flow of current to a device or within a device from the power supply by a lever. The toggle switch symbol is shown below.

Switch Symbol
Switch Symbol

The toggle switch working principle is; that once the operator of the switch pushes the toggle, then the armature switches the contact into position to begin or discontinue the flow of electric current. or in simple words, once the toggle is pressed it can switch on or off a device.

Pin Configuration

The toggles switch includes three pins which are discussed below.

Pin Configuration
Pin Configuration
  • Pin1 (A): This is the first output pin.
  • Pin2 (COM): This is the input pin.
  • Pin3 (B): This is the second output pin.

Specifications

The specifications of this switch include the following.

  • Contact resistance (Max) is 10MOhms.
  • Initial voltage ranges from 2V to 4V dc.
  • The current supply is 100mA for both gold & silver-plated contacts.
  • Insulation resistance (Min) is 1,000MOhms.
  • Dielectric strength is1,000 Vrms at sea level.
  • The operating temperature ranges from -30 to 85 oC.

Construction

The construction of a toggle switch can be done by using different components like a lever, spring, o ring, plunger, moving armature, case, and base.

Toggle Switch Construction
Toggle Switch Construction

Lever

The lever is available on top of a switch which is used to control the circuit by turning ON & OFF. Generally, these are made with resin although some are made with metal to enhance strength on larger products.

Spring

The spring in the switch is loaded within the lever. This spring pushes outwards on the lever & it is in contact with the base always.

O-ring

O ring in the switch is a circular shape rubber part that seals the connections between the case, the base & the moving parts.

Plunger

The plunger in a switch is a resin component that is connected to the base of the lever. The design of this can be done to be in contact through the bottom of the base always to limit the range of movement of the lever.

Moving Armature

The moving armature is a U-shaped contact that is fixed to the lever. This contact’s tip moves through the lever, the terminal is situated in between the tips to turn on the condition of the switch mechanism.

Case

The case is used to guard the internal components of the switch and also it gives support to the lever with the hole on the higher surface.

Base

The base is used with the case to defend the inside components of the switch. The switch terminals stick out from the bottom of the base.

Toggle Switch Circuit Diagram

The circuit diagram of the SPDT toggle switch is shown below. This circuit can be built by using a 6V battery, two resistors R1 & R3, two LEDs D1 & D3, and a 21236N switch.

Toggle Switch Circuit Diagram
Toggle Switch Circuit Diagram

This switch includes three terminals like one input and two outputs. So, we can get two outputs where the first output is from pin2 (COM) & pin1 and the second output is obtained from COM & pin3. This switch is mainly used in the three-way circuits to control electrical appliances from two locations.

The connections in the above circuit follow as; the pin1 & pin3 are connected to the D1 (LED) & D2 (LED) respectively. Once the pin1 is toggled then D1 LED will be turned ON & D2 LED will be turned OFF. Similarly, when the pin3 is toggled then D2 LED will be turned ON & D1 LED will be turned OFF. As a result, we can control two loads with a single SPDT toggle switch.

Types of Toggle Switch

These switch designs are available in four types where each type includes different poles & throws combinations like SPDT, SPST, DPDT, and DPST. Generally, poles of these switches are the individual power supplies controlled through every switch, whereas throws are the different locations available to the switch like ON & OFF.

SPST Toggle Switch

The term SPST stands for “Single pole single throw” which includes two terminals like input and output. These switches work like a simple ON/OFF switch. The main function of this switch is to make or break a single conductor connection within a single branch circuit.

SPST Toggle Switch
SPST Toggle Switch

Once this switch is open, then the circuit will be disconnected so there is no flow of current through the load. Similarly, once the switch is closed, then there is a flow of current throughout the load.

SPDT Toggle Switch

The term SPDT stands for “Single pole double throw” toggle switch which is used to make or break a single conductor connection with any of two other single conductors. Generally, these types of switches include three terminals which are normally used in pairs.

SPDT
SPDT

The first terminal is used to connect any load to give power to a certain device. Terminal 2 gets the required power so that the loads on 1 & 3 terminals can be powered and Terminal3 is used to connect to any load to activate any device. So, this switch can power any one of two circuits. Sometimes, these types of switches are known as three-way switches.

DPST Toggle Switch

In this type of DPST switch, the term DPST stands for a double-pile single throw which is used to make or break the two circuit conductor’s connection within a single branch circuit. Generally, these switches include four terminals which are used to connect or disconnect two pairs of terminals simultaneously.

DPST Toggle Switch
DPST Toggle Switch

DPDT Toggle Switch

In the DPDT toggle switch, the term DPDT stands for Double pole double throw which is used to make or break the connection of two conductors to two separate circuits. These switches have six terminals where terminals 3 & 4 get the required power to drive the loads on the remaining terminals like 1, 5, 2 & 6. These switches are known as four-way or four-position switches.

DPDT
DPDT

Other Types of Toggle Switches

Other types of toggle switches mainly include flat toggle, LED toggle, mini-toggle, and toggle switch with a cover which are explained below.

LED Toggle Switch

These switches are available with a LED usually on the tip of the toggle. This LED mainly indicates the switch condition like ON/OFF. These switches are used in handheld devices, front-panel interfaces, etc.

LED Toggle Switch
LED Toggle Switch

Mini Toggle Switch

These switches are available in smaller sizes which are also called snap-action switches or micros switches. These switches are available with a spring-loaded toggle that responds to some amount of applied force. So, the spring in the switch is activated through the current inflow & this shifts the contacts into position. These switches are mainly designed to be used extensively in both domestic & industrial equipment.

Mini Toggle Switch
Mini Toggle Switch

Toggle Switch with Cover

These types of switches include covers or caps which can be used to protect the tips of the inside lever mechanism and also avoids the switch from being triggered by mistake. These switches can be used to turn ON/OFF different additional lighting within the vehicle like Chassis Lights, Fog Lights, Off-Road Lights, Extra LED Lights, etc.

Toggle Switch with Cover
Toggle Switch with Cover

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of the toggle switch include the following.

  • These switches are ideal to use with circuit boards.
  • These switches are very simple to seal, extremely durable and typically they have a small footprint
  • These types of switches can control electricity well.
  • These switches are available in small & standard sizes.
  • These can be operated & extended by a lever.
  • The electricity used by these switches is less so these are energy efficient.
  • These switches are very strong.

The disadvantages of toggle switch include the following.

  • These types of switches will make some clicking sound while operating them,
  • These are larger & bulkier as compared to rocker switches.
  • It requires a toggle lock washer.
  • It is applicable in low voltage circuits only.

Applications

The applications of toggle switch include the following.

  • Toggles switches are used as switching circuits within industrial, commercial equipment & telecommunication.
  • These switches are used in switching headlights, logic-level applications, vehicles, and control panels of airplanes. etc.
  • It can be used as the main switch for AC & industrial equipment like conveyors, packaging machines, etc.
  • These switches can be found in commercial, domestic & industrial power points.
  • These are used in many electrical and industrial devices like conveyor belts, and residual current devices (RCDs).
  • These switches allow the car drivers to quickly access indicator lights, similar controls & headlights.

Thus, this is all about an overview of a Toggle switch which is used to switch ON/OFF the circuit through the handle of the switch. The characteristics of this switch mainly include stable, reliable performance & movement of the slider is flexible. This switch is extensively used in different instruments, fax machines, beauty equipment, electric toys, medical equipment, audio equipment & other electronic products. Here is a question for you, what is a joystick switch?

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