From design and function to technology and mechanism, electrical switches have come a long way. It is widely used as a circuit element that turns on or off an electric current. These switches are available in a variety of sizes, designs, configurations, and current levels designed to meet the different needs of each application.
A rocker switch is a general-purpose type of electrical switch that is widely used in almost all trades, personal, commercial, or industrial purposes.
What are rocker switches?
A rocker switch is a push-button device that allows an on/off transition. They usually have two symbols, a circle for the “on” position and a horizontal line or dash for the “off” position. Rocker switches are sometimes called seesaw switches, and they are common in electronics such as monitors, surge protectors, and computer power supplies.
Types of Rocker Switch
Rocker switches are commonly used in electrical circuits and come in many types, each with its own unique function and application.
Here are some common types of rocker switches:
- Single Pole, Single Throw (SPST)
- Single Pole, Double Throw (SPDT)
- Double Pole, Single Throw (DPST)
- Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT)
Single Pole, Single Throw (SPST)
SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) switches are designed for circuits that require a single connection between input and output. Its design includes an input and an output.
It is a simple type of switch. When it’s off, the circuit is on. When it’s on, the circuit is off. Its basic design and features make it ideal for circuit applications requiring on-off switching.
The desk fan’s power switch is an SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) device. It controls one circuit and has just one “ON” setting that turns the fan on or off.
Single Pole, Double Throw (SPDT)
SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw) is a switch with one input and two outputs. This means it can be connected to two different output circuits and switched between them, as opposed to SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) which only connects to one output circuit.
The circuit is wired in such a way that the relay can be used as an ON-OFF switch or to connect the circuit to multiple paths. It provides a reliable mechanism for the diversification of circuit functions and allows flexibility in its structure and operation.
This particular desk fan features a rocker switch that allows you to toggle between off, low power, and high power modes. This is a great way to control the temperature of your environment.
Double Pole, Single Throw (DPST)
A DPST switch has two ports, each with a contact. In the run state, called the “ON” setting, the port contacts are closed together. Whereas in the OFF setting, they are on and not connected.
This type of circuit is unique in its ability to accept two inputs and drive two different outputs over the same line. With this feature, the circuit offers a greater range of possibilities than previous models.
DPST circuits have wide applications as they can drive various functions depending on their design. Ultimately, the purpose of these circuits is determined by the circuit design.
The hair dryer has a rocker switch that can be toggled between ON and OFF. When activated, power is sent to two different circuits – one dedicated to the blower motor and one dedicated to the heating element.
This special rocker switch with DPST function is able to control two independent circuits with one ON position.
Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT)
A Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) switch has six connections and two separate input terminals. The two poles each provide a single connection that can be used to open or close two different circuits.
Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) switches are the most advanced type of rocker switch available. It’s designed in such a way that each input is connected to two different outputs, and all four outputs are completely independent of each other.
This blow dryer provides increased customization for users through its rocker switch. The switch has two ON positions and functions as an SPDT, offering three different settings: off, low-power, and high-power. With this control over the fan’s power output, users are empowered to personalize their styling experience.
How to Choose a Rocker Switch: AC or DC Circuit?
Before selecting a switch for your project, it is important to determine whether the circuit will run on AC or DC. As you may know, a switch acts as an “on/off” control by managing or blocking the flow of electricity in a circuit. It sometimes sparks or arcs between its contacts when it opens, so the speed of this transition depends on whether AC or DC is being used.
The height and direction of the alternating current change, causing the voltage to fluctuate twice per cycle. No current flows as the arc extinguishes rapidly. In the case of direct current, the amplitude remains stable and directional, so the progression is continuous and the arc takes longer to dissipate. Over time, excess heat can cause irreparable damage to the switch contacts.
For systems with backup power, a rocker switch that can handle 240VAC is recommended. For low voltage applications such as battery-powered, 12 or 24-VDC rocker switches are better suited. This ensures that the system operates safely and efficiently.
Rocker Switch Terminals
Prior to wiring a rocker switch, it’s important to understand the terminals associated with it. Having this knowledge will ensure accurate and safe installation.
The power terminal on the left side of an illuminated rocker switch is typically used to draw power from the grid through a connection to its positive terminal. This ensures a stable power supply for any given situation.
The “Accessories” terminal is situated in the center of a lit switch. The attached devices or loads will receive electrical power from this central point. It must be connected to the positive terminal of the load for effective operation.
Make sure that the ground terminal of the illuminated switch is connected to both the power supply and the load section. Also, make sure the pins used in this connection are properly grounded. Following these steps will help you ensure electrical safety.
The most common switch types are labeled “Power”, “ACC” and “Ground”. When the switch is pressed, it opens or closes the circuit between “Power” and “ACC”. It’s important to note that if the connections are not labeled, you will need to use a multimeter to determine which connection goes where. Also, the accessory will only work if its ground terminal is connected to the vehicle ground, otherwise, it will not turn on.
How to Wire a Rocker Switch: 3-Pin Rocker Switch Wiring?
For optimal results, connect the black wire from a 12-volt power source (i.e., the battery) to the “ground” pin on the rocker switch.
To provide your device extra protection from an overcurrent or electrical surge, it’s important to use a fuse holder to connect the “ACC” wire to one side of the fuse holder. The other side should be connected from the power source (battery) positive connector. Direct connection of wires to the power source should be avoided if possible.
Once you’ve followed the steps above, use an additional wire to plug in from the switch’s “power” connector to the LED light. Once that’s complete, another wire should run between the rocker switch’s “negative or ground” pin and the negative power source (battery) connection to the LED light panel. If you look carefully at the diagram you’ll notice this extra step.
It is important that you adhere to the soldering guidelines included with your LED light panel, as it will help ensure that all wire connections are properly secured.
How to Wire a Rocker Switch: 5 Pin Rocker Switch Wiring?
The 5-pin rocker switch has two top pins designated for the ground. The remaining three pins are connected to the power leads; one of them is linked to the dash light circuit and triggers the lower LED on the switch. The last pin is terminated and should be connected to the relay unit (power out).
Step 1: Have your ground and positive jumper cables ready
Connecting the ground connection to the rocker switch requires connecting two pins on the switch to a ground source. For example the negative terminal of a power supply.
Step 2: Connect the positive/hot wire to the 5-pin rocker switch pins
For bridge installation, connect the jumper wires to the switch pins, and then attach them to the hot or positive terminal of the battery. Once complete, test for power.
Step 3: Connect the accessory or the LED pin to the relay
Using a jumper wire, make a connection between the accessory pin and the relay unit. Once it is properly attached, bridge it over to the accessories in the car’s dashboard for proper operation.
Step 4: Connect the T-tap to the wire that controls the interior lights
In order to make sure your interior lights are functioning properly, you’ll need to locate the wire that controls them and attach a T-tap. A T-tap allows you to add a connection without having to cut the wire in half–simply splice it into place. Make sure the T-tap is connected firmly and securely so that the interior light, speedometer, and heat controller all function correctly.
Step 5: Testing
To turn on the parking light or headlights, use the controls located at the lower part of the switch. You should see your instrument panel illumination as well. Lastly, activate the additional lighting controls found on the dashboard.
Our lighted rocker switches accommodate many light circuitry applications, although their conductivity varies. BITUO offers wiring harnesses and cable assemblies to help keep your circuit running safely and reliably. Our selection of switches comes in two variations, 3-pin, and 5-pin. Shop our selection today! Please feel free to contact us at [email protected] or visit us at www.bituoelec.com.