Rocker switches are actuated by a standard or dual rocker or paddle. Electrical specifications for rocker switches include: maximum current rating, maximum AC voltage, maximum DC voltage, maximum power rating, and maximum mechanical life. Length or diameter, width, and panel thickness are common dimensional specifications. There are many different terminal types for rocker switches. Examples include: feed-through style, wire leads, solder terminals, screw terminals, quick connect or blade terminals, surface mount technology (SMT), straight PC pins, right angle PC pins, and side PC pins. With regard to materials of construction, most rocker switch bases and rocker switch actuators are made of plastic, thermoplastic, or metal materials. In terms of features, rocker switches may include a pilot light or illumination, imprinted markings, wiping contacts, locking mechanism, time delay, CE certification, CSA certification, or UL listing. Dustproof, weather resistant, and waterproof rocker switches are also available.
Pole and throw configurations for rocker switches can be single pole single throw (SPST), single pole double throw (SPDT), double pole single throw (DPST), or double pole double throw (DPDT). SPST rocker switches make or break the connection of a single conductor in a single branch circuit. This switch type typically has two terminals and is referred to as a single-pole switch. SPDT rocker switches make or break the connection of a single conductor with either of two other single conductors. These switches usually have three terminals and are commonly used in pairs. SPDT switches are sometimes called three-way switches. DPST rocker switches make or break the connection of two circuit conductors in a single branch circuit. They usually have four terminals. DPDT rocker switches make or break the connection of two conductors to two separate circuits. They usually have six terminals are available in both momentary and maintained contact versions. A normally open (NO) rocker switch has contacts that are open or disconnected in their unactuated (normal) position. A normally closed (NC) rocker switch has contacts that are closed or connected in their unactuated (normal) position.
Maintained-contact rocker switches and momentary-contact rocker switches differ in terms of switch configuration. Maintained-contact rocker switches are described as ON/OFF, three-position center-OFF, and three-position no center-OFF. ON/OF rocker switches have separate ON and OFF functions and work like light switches. Three-position rocker switches have a center position that may or may not perform an OFF function. Switch functions for momentary-contact rocker switches include: momentary ON (NO), momentary OFF (NC), three-position momentary center-ON, three-position momentary center-OFF, and three-position momentary central-NEUTRAL. Momentary ON describes contacts which interrupt the circuit when the rocker switch is in the normal, open (NO) position. Momentary OFF describes contacts which establish a circuit when the rocker switch is in the normal, closed (NC) position. Alternate ON/OFF describes a switch where the first actuation turns the rocker switch ON and the second actuation turns the rocker switch OFF. Three-position momentary center-NEUTRAL rocker switches have a center position that can perform an OFF or NEUTRAL function.
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Toggle switches are actuated by moving a lever back and forth to open or close an electrical circuit.