## Discount Electronic Components

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# How to Order a Full Size Toggle Switch

## Introduction

Here are five simple steps to follow to determine the specifications of your switch.

## Circuit

If you need a toggle switch, the first thing you need to figure out is the circuit. A simple way to determine what you need is to take a look at the terminals (which are located on the bottom of the switch).

Number of Terminals Circuit Circuit Diagram
2 Lugs Single Pole Single Throw SPST
3 lugs Single Pole Double Throw SPDT
4 Lugs Double Pole Single Throw DPST
6 Lugs Double Pole Double Throw DPDT
9 Lugs Three Pole Double Throw 3PDT
12 Lugs Four Pole Double Throw 4PDT

Note: This chart works for 90 percent of the cases but there are exceptions. For example illuminated switches have an extra lug or two for the illuminated position in the switch. So in theory you can have a switch with six lugs which is a 3 pole single throw switch. The way to tell the difference between a DPDT switch and a 3PST switch is the width. A 3PST switch is wider.

## Rating

The next thing to look at is the rating of the switch. Switches are rated by amperage in relation to voltage. Quite often switches have a rating of 220 volts or 110/115 volts. The amperage rating is normally reduced when operating at a higher voltage.

Example:
A switch with 110/115 volts would have an amperage rating of 6 amps. Meanwhile the same switch being used 220 volts would have an amperage rating of 3 amps.

10 amps at 250 volts, 20 amps at 123 volts

## Action

Action simply refers to the function of a switch in an electrical circuit. A toggle switch is a switch that is manually operated by moving an actuator (short handle or lever on a switch that moves back and forth) to remove current from a circuit or divert it to another terminal. A toggle switch can be a simple two-way switch (on/off) where different functions are selected based on the position. A three-way toggle switch has an additional position in the middle, which can be an on position, off position, or a none position. Three way switches can also have momentary positions on either one side or both. The same concept applies for three-way switches with fixed positions where one side could be fixed or both.

Note: Momentary switches are spring loaded and they always revert to the original position.

## Mounting

Typically the most popular mounting method for switches is via a threaded bushing and a hex nut to lock it into place. However switches can come in two thread sizes, 15/32” bushing being more popular, and 11/32” bushing which is used for mounting on thinner panels. If a switch doesn’t have a bushing it’s a recessed switch, meaning that it sits flush with the panel. Recessed switches have holes on their body so they can be directly mounted to a panel.

## Terminals

2. This terminal style has wire leads that come out of the switch.

3. Solder Terminals
4. In this style the terminals on the switch have holes and you put your wire through the hole and the solder it into place.

5. Screw Terminals
6. This terminal style has wires attached to it by wrapping the wires between the screw and the lug.

7. Quick Connect Terminals
8. This terminal style will allow connections via quick connect terminals, so you can connect or disconnect your switch in a matter of seconds. Quick connect terminals are avialable in two diffrent sizes 1/4" being more popular and 3/16". Quite often switches with quick connect lugs will have hole in them, giving you the option of soldering your wires directly to the switch.

Solder Terminals

Screw Terminals

Quick Connect Terminals

## Actuators

An actuator on a switch is the rod or handle that changes the action of the switch in a circuit. For durability we recommend switches with metal actuators. Switches with plastic actuators are also available. They come in a variety of colors and round or flat profiles.