Microswitch

microswitch

A graphic illustrating a lever-operated microswitch. A schematic side view and a top view of the microswitch are shown.

An electric switch that can be operated rapidly by a small movement.

A miniature snap-action switch, also trademarked and frequently known as a micro switch, is an electric switch that is actuated by very little physical force, through the use of a tipping-point mechanism, sometimes called an "over-center" mechanism.

Switching happens reliably at specific and repeatable positions of the actuator, which is not necessarily true of other mechanisms. They are very common due to their low cost and durability, greater than 1 million cycles and up to 10 million cycles for heavy duty models. This durability is a natural consequence of the design.

The defining feature of micro switches is that a relatively small movement at the actuator button produces a relatively large movement at the electrical contacts, which occurs at high speed (regardless of the speed of actuation). Most successful designs also exhibit hysteresis, meaning that a small reversal of the actuator is insufficient to reverse the contacts; there must be a significant movement in the opposite direction. Both of these characteristics help to achieve a clean and reliable interruption to the switched circuit.

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