Microswitches are also known as miniature snap-action switches. They were first invented in the early 1930's and have been trademarked under that name ever since. Essentially, they're sensors that detect a change in state (for example from closed to open) and modify the direction of power into a circuit accordingly.
We supply a complete range of microswitches from top brands including Panasonic, Omron, Honeywell and Cherry. You can also find a range of accessories including microswitch levers, actuators, terminal covers and caps.
How do microswitches work?
A microswitch uses a spring to open and close a set of internal contacts so that the direction of power in it can change. Moving the lever of a switch causes the spring to snap back and forth which results in a quick change of direction of power between two devices. For this to happen, the switch uses three connection points:
- Common (C): power is normally attached to this kind of terminal. This is called the resting state, meaning there's nothing pushing on the activating arm
- Normally Open (N/O): when the arm is moved, the spring snaps into a 'U' position, and changes the power by activating the normally open path. In this position, the electricity flow is interrupted, therefore the circuit is switched off
- Normally Closed (N/C): the normally closed path indicates that the current flow is not interrupted, therefore when this path is activated the circuit is on.
In summary, the change in the direction of power happens when an activating arm is moved in the connection: when one connection path is activated the other is simultaneously interrupted.
Where are microswitches used?
Microswitches are handy as safety devices since they're able to open and close a circuit easily, therefore preventing accidents related to the automatic activation of power machines or the closure of doors, for example.
They're widely used in the industrial and automotive sectors, although are often involved in the functioning of everyday objects like vending machines, lifts, door interlocks and tools when the detection of a change in state is needed.
In addition to a wide range of microswitches, we also offer a choice of accessories to improve their efficacy and simplify their maintenance including:
- Microswitches actuators
- Microswitches caps
- Microswitches hex nuts
- Microswitches levers
- Microswitches terminal covers