Thinking of working in the electrical field? Not only will you need to gain education on safety and mechanical aspects of the job, you'll also need to have a vast working knowledge of how electrical switches work. When it comes to electrical switches, there's a lot to learn, from terminal types to the different kinds of switches, all with different functions. An understanding of electrical switches will be helpful no matter what type of job you want to pursue in the industry. Start with the basics of electrical switches by studying the following key terms.
Key lock switch
Just as its name indicates, a key lock switch requires a key be used to unlock the switch and let it perform its function, such as turning the unit off or on.
A rotary switch gets its name because it actually contains a rotating shaft. That shaft, attached to an electrical terminal, hooks up to another terminal to make the electrical connection or to disconnect and break the connection.
A toggle switch is hinged and can offer two positions: on or off. The switch works by using a toggle joint with a spring on it to push through an attached lever to either open or close access to electric power.
Single pole single throw (SPST)
A single pole single throw switch is a two-terminal switch that pulls electricity from only one circuit.
Single pole double throw switch (SPDT)
The element in a single pole double throw switch contains one terminal that is normally open, one common and one normally closed. This type of switch allows electricians to either wire the circuit as normally open or normally closed, depending on how the light will be used.
Circuit protection refers to the overall concept of safeguarding electrical circuits to avoid dangerous situations such as over-currents or over-voltages.