Electrical switches are used in a variety of electronics and devices. As you may already know, their primary purpose is to control the flow of electrons in a circuit. Switches contain two modes: closed and off. When the switch is closed, the circuit is complete, thereby allowing electrons to flow. When it’s open, the circuit is broken and the electrons are interrupted. An essential component used in electrical switches, however, is an actuator.
What Is an Actuator in an Electrical Switch?
Overview of Actuators
The actuator is a component of an electrical switch that’s used to control its mechanics. In other words, it’s responsible for closing and opening the circuit. An actuator is a moving part, consisting of mechanical components, that allows an electrical switch to function. Without it, a switch wouldn’t be able to open and close.
Different Types of Actuators
Of course, there are are different types of actuators, each of which works in a different way. A toggle actuator, for example, features a lever that’s engaged manually. When the lever is pulled, the switch opens or closes (depending on how it’s designed). This manual operation is a simple, effective solution that allows for easy control of an electrical switch.
There are also rotary actuators, which are characterized by a handle that’s twisted to open or close the circuit. To open or close the circuit, the user twists the handle. Rotary actuators such as this were primarily used in TVs up until the 1970s. Today, they are used primary for radio control devices and measuring instruments.
Furthermore, there are biased actuators that use a spring-based mechanism to provide manual control of an electrical switch. The switch’s actuator features a spring that, when pressed, either opens or closes the circuit. Biased actuators are simple, easy to use and offer a significantly long lifespan, thus making them a popular choice among mechanical engineers and business owners.
Actuators are just one of many components that go into designing an electrical switch. Nonetheless, it plays an essential role in how switches work.
To recap, an actuator is a component of an electrical switch that’s used to control the flow of electrons in a circuit. It features a closed and off mode, with the most common types of actuators being rotary, biased and toggle. Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of actuators and how they are used to create electrical switches.