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Electrical Switches, Automotive Switches and Power Switches

Need an electrical switch? Waytek Wire has got you covered. Regardless of the application, we make it easier to find the switch you need in one stress-free online location.

Waytek stocks all types of automotive switches from power switches and electrical pressure switches to toggle switches, rocker switches, and more. Try matching switches up with electrical relays to handle more current, and meet your application's needs.

Understanding the Basics of Mechanical Switches

Mechanical switches can be classified into different types based on several factors, but first you have to understand the circuitry inside. These are the most common configurations:

  • SPST & DPDT
  • Momentary & maintained switches
  • What are the differences between SPST and DPDT switches?

    The main difference between the two is that single pole (SP) switches control only one electrical circuit. Double pole (DP) switches control two, acting like two identical switches that are mechanically linked, and triple pole can control three, etc.

    Similarly, single throw (ST) switches close a circuit at only one position, whereas double throw (DT) switches can close a circuit in the up OR down position. A DT switch can also have a center position (usually configured as On-Off-On).

    What is the difference between a momentary and maintained switch?

    A momentary switch is one that's only active when engaged by the user. Maintained switches, however, stay in the position you set them in until somebody comes along to flip them back.

    You should also look closely at the text on the switch. Momentary switches will have their settings noted in parentheses, such as "(ON)", while a maintained one would be simply marked "ON." You might also see this noted as "mom on" or "momentary on".

    Common Types of Electrical Switches

    Here are some of the most common types of switches and their applications:

  • Rocker switches have numerous mechanical applications for automotive, machinery, and industrial. They can be illuminated to indicate the on and off status, making them an excellent fit for dashboard functions such as lights and auxiliary functions. Rockers also work well in forward-reverse applications.
  • Toggle switches are manually activated by a lever or another mechanism. While the basic light switch is probably the best-known example, they can be utilized in almost any type of commercial vehicle application.
  • Push-button switches are a type of momentary switch that operates when activated by push, as the name suggests. Automotive horns are one common application for this type of switch; door jam switches are another.
  • One popular sub-type of the push-button category is anti-vandal switches. These switches are named as such since they are commonly used on kiosk and public ticket dispenser applications, but are also favored by many other types of commercial equipment manufacturers for their rugged durability.
  • Rotary switches are operated by rotation, used when multiple positions are needed. This category includes ignition, battery selector, and disconnect switches.
  • Disconnect switches cut off the electrical load going from the battery to the rest of the system. They are commonly used for safety and avoiding battery drain when a vehicle is idle for a period of time. Some disconnects offer additional features such as lock-out/tag-outs and detachable keys and handles.
  • To read up on the circuitry and types of switches in more depth, check out our blog post about the basics of automotive switches so you can make the best decision for you and your vehicle.

    Products to Help Your Electrical Switch Project

    To help connect your automotive switches to your electrical circuit, try wire connectors and terminals. To send power for a certain period of time or activate a particular input in a low energy circuit, go for solid state relays. No matter what product, you'll find everything you need to complete your electrical project at Waytek Wire.