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Basic Switch Structure

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A switch is made up of a variety of components that are essential to get familiar with when designing one into an application. Particularly, the actuator and terminal chosen. A switch operates by Opening (OFF, Break) or Closing (ON, Make) a circuit by changing the contact position.

Pole, Throw, and Position

To understand the difference between pole, throw, and position, it is best to use visual examples.

A pole is the number of separate circuits a switch can control at one time. A double pole switch, as illustrated here, is able to control two separate functions at once. A more detailed view of other pole options is below.

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