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    About switches and buttons

    What are switches/buttons?

    • Switches and buttons open or close an electrical connection between a voltage source and an electrical consumer.
    • Switches ensure a permanent state until the next switching process. 
    • Buttons hold or disconnect the electrical connection only as long as they are pressed.
    • The actual, i.e. live switching contacts are separated from the surface operating elements in a contact-safe manner.
    • The switching process itself can be triggered by human hands, but also by mechanics (for example on machines), by magnetic force, by temperature or position changes.

    What types of switches and buttons are available at Conrad?

    The Conrad range offers you a professional selection of high-quality switches and buttons, with which you can solve all switching tasks in the industrial and domestic area. In particular, these are:

    Position Switches

    Control & Warning Devices

    This category is mainly aimed at industrial users.

    Thermal Switches

    The switching process is triggered by a change in the ambient temperature. These switches are available for many defined temperatures at which the switch opens or closes. They are available with open or closed contacts as the starting position.

    Rotary and key switch

    In the case of rotary switches, an actuating axis is led out of the switch housing, so that an optical representation of the switching state is possible with operating buttons. Other designs can be operated with screwdrivers. Rotary switches can also have several successive switching positions. Equipped with a key, the switch can be fixed in one position and secured against accidental switching.

    Pressure switches and buttons

    This category switches by pressing the switching element, which then returns to the starting position or remains in the switched position until the next switching operation. Operation is performed by finger or foot pressure on the actuator mechanism or by pressure applied by other moving components to the shift element.

    Position Switches

    These switches provide a switching process when a certain position of moving elements is reached, for example when opening an electrically operated blind, opening or closing a door or inspection flap. For this purpose, the limit switches are equipped with various mechanical components that convert vertical, horizontal or rotary movements into switching positions. 

    Industrial joysticks

    These joysticks trigger switching operations by tilting the shift lever manually. The inclination can take place in one or two levels, depending on which switching and movement process is simulated by the joystick. The switching function is usually momentary. Joysticks that work only in one plane also have latching models.

    Automotive Switches

    For use in motor vehicles, many types of switches are designed to meet the strong mechanical and thermal requirements such as vibration or heat in the engine compartment. Some switch models are illuminated and/or printed on for limited use, such as a headlight, window or battery symbol.

    Rocker and rocker switch

    Toggle switches have a toggle for switching, which enables an easy and quick operation. There are several switch positions, which can also be locked or equipped with safety elements to prevent accidental switching. Rocker switches have the advantage that they occupy less space in the operating environment. They switch via a flat rocker switch, are often illuminated and functionally printed. They are available in latching and momentary versions with several switching positions.

    Circuit Breakers

    These include main switches that can switch larger loads and display the achieved switching status. They are often equipped with additional safety elements, such as a door coupling, and can be partially locked. These switches are usually compatible with standardized installation environments, such as DIN rail mounting.
    Circuit breakers provide for the switching on or off of electrical consumers when exceeding or falling below certain loads. This can be used to protect motors, for example, if the driven element is no longer movable and the motor threatens to burn out. Some circuit breakers can be adjusted to the individual load at the place of use.

    Tilt and float switch

    This switch category responds to changes in the position of the switch itself or changes in the physical environment. Tilt switches used to work with mercury as a contact. It has been replaced by safer and more environmentally friendly materials. They provide switching operations when certain angles are exceeded or undercut, for example to prevent the leakage of liquids from tilt containers.
    Float switches respond to liquid level changes, triggering the shift by a mechanical element that has a lower density than the liquid to be monitored. Examples are submersible pumps that start to pump when a level is exceeded, or supply pumps that are switched off when a level is reached.

    Reed Switches

    The switching contacts are located in a thin-walled glass tube closed to the environment and are actuated by magnetic force. The required strength of the magnet for opening or closing is specified as the AW value. Areas of application for reed contacts are, for example, level sensors , proximity switches or position determination. Motion and acceleration sensors can also be implemented – always in combination with permanent magnets . Reed contacts have a long service life.

    Slide Switches

    Always switch in a latching position by moving the switch back and forth in one level and can take up several switching positions. They are used in many forms in household appliances , electrical tools or in consumer electronics.A special case is DIP switches , which combine several miniature slide switches and are used among other things for basic settings of devices by means of switching states. Their operation usually requires a tool. The abbreviation DIP stands for "Dual in-line package".

    Keypads and keyboards

    This design is designed either as a mechanical pushbutton or with membrane keys. This allows you to react to the application environment and the available installation space. These are numeric keyboards, some of which can be individually labeled with stickers. The structure and available number of keys are described with the key matrix.

    Switch & Button Accessories

    With the accessories in the Conrad-Shop switches and buttons can be extended by security features and additional functions. These include colored button caps, special labels, protective caps for keyholes, blind pieces, mounting frames, shutters and much more. As a professional user, they are thus able to meet even complex switching requirements and operating safety.


    FAQ – Frequently asked questions about switches/buttons

    What safety instructions must be observed when handling pressure switches and pushbuttons?

    • Only specialists are allowed to work on and with these products.
    • Use the data sheets for technically sound information before using or replacing a switch or button.
    • In the event of malfunctions or defects, the switch and button must be immediately disconnected from the power supply and must not be used any further
    Rocker Switches

    What is the service life of the switches/buttons?

    The number of switching cycles is from 50,000 to 1,000,000 if the application criteria are met.


    Which manufacturers and brands does Conrad offer?

    Selected manufacturers and brands are Apem, BACO, DECA, ESKA, LNT Automation, Miyama Electric, Rafi, SCI, TE Connectivity, TRU COMPONENTS and Würth Elektronik.