Rotary Coded DIP Switches Information

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Rotary coded dual in-line package (DIP) switches are activated by a rotating shaft and have several stop positions. They use the DIP form factor so that arrays of multiple switches can be incorporated into a single package. Rotary coded DIP switches are mounted on printed circuit boards (PCBs) in order to control the behavior of electronic devices. Some rotary coded DIP switches are actuated with a screwdriver. Others include flywheels or push wheels that are turned manually. Actuators either rotate continuously or stop between positions. Changing the position of the rotating shaft generates a circuit code in binary format. Common formats include binary coded decimal (BCD) and Gray code. Other options include the octal and hexadecimal systems. The octal system uses eight digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. The hexadecimal system used 16 symbols: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, E and F. Octal and hexadecimal complements are available.


Rotary coded DIP switches vary in terms of maximum current rating, maximum AC voltage rating, maximum DC voltage rating, and maximum mechanical life. Terminal types include quick connects, surface mount technology (SMT), and pins. Quick connects or blade terminals do not require soldering and are designed for rapid insertion and removal. Surface mount technology (SMT) adds components to a printed circuit board by soldering component leads or terminals to the top surface of the board. Typically, the PCB pad is coated with a paste-like formulation of solder and flux. Straight pins, right-angle pins, and side pins are also used to attach rotary coded DIP switches.   

Features and Applications

Rotary coded DIP switches offer a variety of special features and can be used in numerous applications. Some devices have imprinted indicators such as ON/OFF or HI/LOW. Others are listed with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), or feature the European Union’s CE Mark. Dustproof, weather-resistant, and waterproof models are available. Applications for rotary coded DIP switches include navigation and communication equipment for the avionics industry, precision measurement equipment gages, test and measuring equipment, commercial sound mixing and editing consoles, military voice and data communications, radios, and transmitters and receivers.

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