What is a dip switch and its purpose?

DIP switches are used in a wide variety of industries including telecommunications, aerospace, and consumer electronics.

A DIP switch, or dual in-line package switch, is a small electronic component commonly found on circuit boards and electronic equipment. It consists of an array of tiny switches that can be turned on or off. These switches are often used to set or change specific settings or parameters within a device.

DIP switches are used in a wide variety of industries including telecommunications, aerospace, and consumer electronics. In this article, we’ll explore what a DIP switch is, how it works, and the different applications and uses of this important electronic component.

What is a DIP switch?

A DIP switch, also known as a DIL switch, is a small electronic component with a wide range of applications. It is a set of small switches that are used to set configuration or control functions in electronic equipment.

Due to their versatility and ease of use, DIP switches are commonly found in many electronic systems, including computers, printers, and other consumer electronics. In this article, we’ll explore what a DIP switch is, how it works, and the different applications and uses of this important electronic component.

What is a DIP switch

When DIP switches are installed on a PCB alongside other electrical components, DIP switches offer the potential for the user to customize the behavior of the electronic device, enabling fuller control over the precise function the device will perform in a range of defined scenarios or applications.

In brief, the role of DIP switches is to allow users to control the flow of electricity around a PCB, expansion card or other electronics/computer peripheral, and after that, change the operating mode of a device.

Type of DIP switch

The DIP switch is a switch with a pitch of 2.54mm. This type of DIP switch can also be subdivided into the following types: DIP flat type, DIP sliding type, DIP key type, DIP ultra-wave sliding type, and DIP key convex type. The scope of application of these types of DIP switches is not the same.

The first three series of DIP switches are suitable for industrial use, and the working temperature range is -40 degrees below zero to -85 degrees above zero. The latter two types of DIP switches are respectively suitable for precision instruments and equipment that need to be operated up and down.

DIP switch model

There are many models of dial switches, which can be divided into direct insertion (DIP) and patch mount (SMD) packaging based on their pin positions. They can be divided into flat and side dial based on their toggle method.

They can be divided into 2.54mm and 1.27mm pin spacing based on their pin spacing, and black, red, and blue based on their color. According to the state, there are still two states and three states. According to the number of pins, it is normal to have 11 digits such as 1-10 and 12.

Distinguish between types and characteristics of dial switches

Half pitch type

Its foot pitch is half of the normal dial switch, which is a Pitch of 1.27mm. The main feature is small size, occupying less space on the circuit board. Suitable for controlling circuit chips on micro precision devices.

DIP flat

The foot pitch is 2.54mm, and it adopts the top dial direct insertion (DIP) and flat type, belonging to two states. The maximum force of the actuator in each series is 800gF, and the shell and actuator are made of PBT, UL94V-0 material.

The contacts and endpoints are all gold plated, with strong reliability. The working temperature is between -40 to 85 degrees, suitable for industrial grade.

DIP sliding type

The foot pitch is 2.54mm, with a sliding inline switch that belongs to two states. Compared to the KG series, its actuator is only half as powerful. The actuator is 4/6 Nylon, UL94V-0, White; The outer cover material is PPS, UL94V-0, Black. It is also a gold-plated contact, with a temperature range of -40 to 85 degrees, suitable for industrial grade.

DIP Key Type

Pitch 2.54mm, DIP two states, keyboard type. The protrusion of the actuator is only 0.9mm. Gold-plated contacts for high reliability. The stroke of the actuator is only 0.9mm, and the material of the actuator and the housing is nylon. UL94V-0, this temperature range is also suitable for industrial grade.

DIP ultra-thin sliding type

Foot pitch 2.54mm, top dial direct insertion (DIP), two state, sliding type. Gold plated contacts with strong reliability. The material of the actuator and outer cover is 6T Nylon, UL94V-0.

The thickness is only 3.7mm, and the thickness of the actuator is only 0.6mm, making it suitable for use in precision software data instruments.

DIP key convex shape

Pitch 2.54mm, DIP, two states, keyboard type. The contact part is a gold-plated contact, and high reliability is ensured by a self-cleaning action structure. Actuator material is 4/6 nylon, UL94V-0, raised face.

Shell material is PPS, UL94V-0. Its width and thickness are 10.7mm and 9.5mm respectively, relatively large compared with other series, suitable for the up and down operation of the equipment.

How does the DIP switch work?

A standard DIP switch may consist of 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 16, or more toggle switches, rocker switches, slide switches, or rotary switches installed in a single small piece. Although they are simple components, the beauty of DIP switches is that having several parallel switches means that each switch can independently move to 1/0, which may provide a large number of different combinations for A.

All individual switches in a single DIP switch array are electrically isolated from each other. When the toggle switch on the DIP switch moves between its open/closed positions, the flexible leaf spring below the switch responds to the movement of the slider or joystick and slightly bends upwards or downwards to close or open the static contact below. This corresponds to a large number of possible device functions/outputs.

DIP switches are classified for their specific functions and applications based on their safe working current, voltage, and rated power. Users must comply with and maintain within the manufacturer’s scope.

How does the DIP switch work

The structures of the DIP switch

The structures of the DIP switch

The basic structure of a DIP switch consists of the following components:


The cover is connected to the base to protect the internal mechanisms of the switch.

Striker pin

Use an implement with a thin tip to set the striker to the ON or OFF position. Contact force is applied to the wiper to maintain stable contact between the wiper and the contact.

Rocker contact

The contact is a V-shaped moving contact. The rocker contact moves along with the striker to either open or close the connection between the two contacts and turn the switch ON and OFF.

Contact terminals

The contact terminal is built-in in the base. There are two types of terminals: terminals inserted into the socket on the PCB and terminals installed on the surface of the PCB.


The base is molded with contact terminal into a single unit. It protects the inside of the switch along with the cover.

Common uses of DIP switches

In the current market in China and other places, there are many types of DIP switches that can be purchased from a range of suppliers and manufacturers. The most common types that most sellers typically encounter are rotary, sliding, or rocker DIP switches.

Nowadays, all types of DIP switches are widely deployed in various industries and applications, including the following purposes:

  • PC expansion card
  • Arcade machine
  • Automatic Garage door
  • Measurement and testing equipment
  • Industrial sector and mechanical control
  • Production and editing equipment


The many advantages of DIP switch arrays in certain circuits, design flows, and device types include:

  • Gold contacts are often an option on some high-end DIP switch models, greatly improving reliability and efficiency.
  • They can easily replace old patch cords.
  • Units range from 1 pole to 32 poles, offering great flexibility and functional potential.
  • Longer poles on some models can reduce loading times in dense production environments.
  • DIP switches can be modified by cutting their poles to the level required for PCB/test board mounting.

Although the use of DIP switches has slightly declined in some modern applications, and the increasing cost-effectiveness of software control panels and programmable onboard chips has to some extent affected their popularity, DIP switches are still considered a very attractive choice today in a wide range of industrial settings and circuit/device testing and design workflows.

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