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How a Micro Switch Works

A micro switch, also known as a miniature snap-action switch, is a type of electric switch that is widely used for its reliability and durability. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how a micro switch works

Basic Structure

A typical micro switch includes the following components:

  1. Actuator: This is the part of the switch that is pressed or moved by the user or another part of the assembly to trigger the switch.
  2. Contacts: These are the conductive parts that open or close the electrical circuit. Micro switches typically have three contact points: common (C), normally open (NO), and normally closed (NC).
  3. Housing: This is the casing that protects the internal components of the switch.

Operation Mechanism

  1. Activation: When the actuator is pushed or moved, it applies pressure to a spring mechanism within the switch.
  2. Snap Action: The defining feature of a micro switch is its use of a spring-loaded lever to open or close the contacts. This mechanism allows for quick switching with very little physical force on the actuator. The spring is designed to move the contacts at a rapid speed, regardless of how slowly the actuator is moved. This snap action is crucial for providing a clean and fast switch operation that minimizes electrical arcing and contact wear.
  3. Contact Transition: As the actuator is engaged:
    • In the ‘off’ position (actuator not pressed), the circuit between the common and normally closed contacts is complete, allowing current to flow.
    • When the actuator is pressed, the mechanism moves the contact away from the normally closed position and towards the normally open contact, thereby opening the circuit with the normally closed contact and closing the circuit with the normally open contact.

Applications and Advantages

Micro switches are favored for their precision and reliability. They are commonly used in a variety of applications including appliances, industrial equipment, and in safety mechanisms where precise operation is crucial. They are highly durable, capable of enduring millions of cycles, and their snap action ensures that the switch performance is not affected by the speed or force of actuation.

This combination of rapid actuation, reliability, and precision makes micro switches a preferred choice for many electrical and electronic applications.

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