Toggle Switches

Toggle switches are switches with only two positions: open and closed. Although the definition has evolved over time, toggle switches now comprise any kind of switch that has a short handle and a positive, mechanical snap-action. A light switch is a common example of a toggle switch.

As electronic devices have become an indispensable part of life in most developed economies, different ways of interfacing with electronic devices have emerged, each trying to find the safest, most effective means by which commands can be given by users to electronic equipment. Whether that command is the closure of a circuit in a simple lamp or a much more complex command, a means by which a user can control electronic equipment is necessary.

That means must be able to effectively carry out the wishes of the user without risking damage to the equipment or injury to the user. Toggle switches are among the simplest of all tools designed for this purpose. Light switches, electric guitars, portable electronics and a variety of other simple electronic devices can be equipped with toggle switches. They are simple, intuitive and can be less expensive than other switch varieties.

Toggle switches may use a lever, handle or rocker to actuate the switch. In many cases, the term “toggle switch” is used to refer to a snap-action switch or a switch that is designed to move its contacts very quickly from one position to another. Toggle switches are often used for quick switching, connecting and disconnecting in cases when the control devices are mounted very closely to one another. Toggle switches offer many favorable attributes. They are lightweight yet still durable.

They are also extremely versatile, able to perform in many different applications. Toggle switches are often seen in automotives, electronics, appliances, power tools, video cameras, medical equipment, and hand-held devices that are user-interfaced. Toggle switches are very often single pole, single throw (SPST) switches. This means that they involve two terminals that can be either connected or disconnected from each other, depending on the position of the switch.

This is the simplest electric switch configuration, followed by single pole, double throw (SPDT), which allow for switching between circuits. SPDT switches can sometimes be configured as toggle switches, though more complicated switching systems often call for more complicated switch mechanisms, such as rotaries or switch panels.