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Discrete Input

Discrete signals are signals that are either on

or off, true or false. Think of a light switch in
your house. The switch either turns the light on
or it turns it off, unless it is a florescent tube
then its probably still blinking. Because
discrete signals exist in one of these two states,
they are represented with a square wave as
seen on the right.

Some of the devices that supply on/off signals are pushbuttons, photoeyes, limit switches, float switches
and proximity switches. The application of your control system will determine the types of discrete devices
you choose. There are a variety of discrete end devices and modules that can be used in a PLC system
to send and receive on/off signals. These devices can be AC or DC and are available in different voltage
ranges. 0-24VDC and 0-230VAC are two voltage ranges available, with 0 being the OFF signal and
24VDC or 230VAC being the ON signal. Usually there is a threshold for detection, where the 0-24VDC
module will detect anything over 22VDC as the ON signal and anything below 2VDC as the OFF.

Digital Input

Instead of the regular on/off switch we are

going to use a dimmer switch. The dimmer
switch will vary the resistance in the line,
causing the light to dim or brighten as we
choose. Newer dimmer switches have
advanced to be more efficient but for this
example we are going old school. The voltage
supplied to the light will not be a constant level
but a changing one set between the upper and
lower limits. This is usually represented by a
sine wave

Position, level, temperature, pressure, flow and speed are just some of the measurements that analog
devices can provide to a control system. You are probably asking yourself: How does pressure, which is
a physical quantity, become an electrical signal? That is a great question! The conversion is done using
transducers. A transducer will take a physical quantity like pressure and convert it to an electrical signal. A
lot of transducers use the physical quantity to control the resistance in the electrical circuit. For example,
an RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector) will change its resistance value based on heat. As heat
increases so does the resistance in the circuit, altering the supplied voltage or current. Same holds true
for pressure transducers that use strain gauges. As pressure is applied to the strain gauge, the resistance
in the circuit goes up and the voltage or current level changes. Some flow detectors will use the flow of a
fluid to push a fin that is connected to a rotary potentiometer. Faster flow equals more resistance change.
The electrical signals that transducers provide can be voltage or current based. 4 to 20mA, 0 to 20mA, 0
to 10VDC and -10 to +10 VDC are a few of the available ranges produced by transducers. The PLC
supplies the voltage or current and the transducer will return a value in its configured range. That value
will be proportional to the amount of pressure, flow, etc. that is present. We now arrive at two important
parts of this discussion: scaling and resolution.1


1 http://library.automationdirect.com/understanding-discrete-analog-io/
Is a device, which can make or break an electrical
circuit or we can say that switch is a controlling
device, which interrupt the flow of current or direct
the flow of current in another direction.

Mechanical Switch

Is a switch in which are user manually

operated. The output is mechanical.
Different Types of Switches

Electrical/Electronic Switches

is a switch that switched automatically by an

electronic circuit like microcontroller or

Electromechanical Switches

Mechanically operated. Manual input,

electronically output. Mechanical Switch

Faster response than mechanical.

Switches categories on the basis of holding

the current state.

Latch Switch

Holds its state whether ON or OFF until the

new commands initiated.

Momentary Switch

Holds the state only when the specific Electrical/Electronic Switch

command is presented only.2

Latch Momentary Switch

Electrical/Electronic Switch


2 http://www.electricaltechnology.org/2014/11/types-of-switches-electrical.html
SPST (Single Pole Single Throw)

This is a simple ON/OFF switch. It is also called

as On Way Switch (in the US, they called it
Two-Way Switch).

SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw) SPST (Single Pole Single Throw)

This button has three pins in which, one

pin is used as common and called a Two-
Way Switch (in US, they called it Three-
Way Switch).

DPST (Double Pole, Single Throw)

This switch is basically two SPST switches
in one package and can be operated by a
single lever. SPDT (Single Pole Double Throw)

DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw)

This switch is equivalent to two SPDT
switches packaged in one pack. This
switch has two common pins and four
signal pins.3

DPST (Double Pole, Single Throw)

DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw)

3 http://www.electricaltechnology.org/2014/11/types-of-switches-electrical.html
Types of Mechanical and Electromechanical Switches

Pushbutton Switches

Pushbutton Switches, also referred to as Push

Switches, are hand operated electro-mechanical
devices used for switching circuits. They are the
most common variety of switch used on
industrial control panels.

Key specifications include single-throw or

double-throw switching function, contact type,
mounting type, actuator type, and panel cut-out
diameter. The 30 mm cut-out is a common
industrial size.

Pushbutton switches make up the bulk of

manual switches used in industrial controls.
They are available in a variety of shapes and
styles to cover almost any manual control

Rocker Switches

Rocker Switches are hand operated electro-

mechanical devices used for switching circuits.
The switch operator position, raised or
depressed, gives a quick visual indication of the
circuit's on or off status.

Key specifications include single-throw or

double-throw switching function, mounting type,
actuator type, and panel cut-out dimensions.

Rocker switches are used for manual switching

in many industrial controls as well as for control
of consumer goods and office machines.

Rotary Switches

Rotary Switches are hand operated electro-

mechanical devices used for switching circuits
and selecting functions. Rotary switches can be
two-position, on-off, or they can have multiple
discrete stops.

Rotary switches are used to provide a visually

verifiable means of switch position, allowing
operators to tell with a glance whether a circuit is
energized or not. They are also called Paddle
Slide Switches

Slide Switches are hand operated electro-

mechanical devices used for switching circuits.
The switch operator is in the form of a slider that
moves from position to position to control the
circuit status.

Key specifications include single-throw or

double-throw switching function, mounting type,
and panel cut-out dimensions.

Slide switches are used in electrical and

electronic equipment where the switching range
can be limited and economy is important. They
are commonly used for on-off buttons or just as
a general control switch.

Thumbwheel / Push Wheel Switches

Thumbwheel Switches, also referred to as

Pushwheel Switches, are hand operated electro-
mechanical devices used to control electrical
circuits with a rotatable wheel. They display a
numeric value corresponding to the switch

Key specifications include number of positions,

mounting type, actuator type, coded output type,
and panel cut-out dimensions.

Thumbwheel switches are widely used in the

aviation industry for flight controls,
instrumentation, and controllers. They are also
used in test and measurement equipment and
computer devices.

Toggle Switches

Toggle Switches are hand operated electro-

mechanical devices used for switching circuits.
They are actuated by a lever which is pushed
through a small arc. Moving the lever back and
forth opens and closes an electrical circuit, while
the lever position gives a quick visualization of
the circuit status.
Key specifications include single-throw or
double-throw switching function, 1-axis, 2-axis,
or 3-axis configuration, or in some cases
omnidirectional or joystick toggle configuration,
and actuator type.

Wall Switches

Wall Switches are hand operated electro-

mechanical devices used in residential and
commercial buildings most commonly for lighting
control. They are also used to control ceiling
fans and electrical outlets.

Key specifications include combination device

function, actuator type, and additional switch
functions such as dimmer control, fan speed
control, or timer-based switching.

Wall switches are specifically designed to

operate on line voltage and fit inside standard
electrical boxes. They are standard items in
residential and commercial construction. A
variety of decorator or designer styles can set
these switches apart from industrial switches
where aesthetics are less of a concern.

Foot Switches

Foot Switches are electro-mechanical devices

used to control power in an electrical circuit by
foot pressure. They are often used on machines
where an operator needs his or her hands to
stabilize a workpiece.

Key specifications include number of pedals,

switching function, voltage rating, and current

Foot switches find use in many press

applications where hand controls cannot be
used to actuate a cycle. They are also
commonly used in hospital equipment and office

Level Switches

Level Switches are electro-mechanical devices

used to detect the level of liquids, powders, or
solids. They are mounted in tanks, hoppers, or
bins, and can provide output to a control system.
In some instances they can be used to actuate a
device directly, such as level switches used in
residential sump pumps.

Key specifications include measured media,

output type, switch type, voltage and current
ratings, and the materials used for the body,
stem, and float.

Level switches are used extensively in the

process industries to monitor tank and hopper
levels. They are used in everyday applications
as well.

Limit Switches

Limit Switches are electro-mechanical devices

designed to sense motion and position
mechanically and provide output signals to a
controller. They are available as bare switches,
or in rugged enclosures intended for the tough
environment of a factory floor.

Key specifications include actuator type, voltage,

and current ratings. A variety of actuator types
from rods to whiskers ensures that any manner
of machine, component, or work pieces can be
sensed by a limit switch.

Limit switches are used in many common

consumer machines such as washing machines.
In their ruggedized form they are used in many
types of manufacturing facilities such as steel
mills and paper plants.

Membrane Switches

Membrane Switches are circuit board based

electro-mechanical devices that provide tactile
control of processes and machines without the
need for individual push switches. They are
often custom designed to suit a particular

Key specifications include circuit assembly type,

actuator type, and terminal type. Number of
keys, graphics, illumination, and displays can
also be important features.

Membrane Switches are common in commercial

products where incorporating all control
functions into a single device can save costs
over using discrete switches.
Pressure Switches

Pressure Switches are electro-mechanical

devices used to sense fluid pressure and
provide output signals to a controller. They often
employ a diaphragm as the sensing means.

Key specifications include the pressure type,

media measured, diaphragm material, pressure
connection, minimum and maximum working
pressures, and maximum switch current.

Pressure switches are used to keep pressure

within limits in lubrication systems where over-
pressure or under-pressure conditions can result
in damage to the machine.

Pull Chain Switches

Pull Chain Switches are electro-mechanical

devices that are hand operated and used to
switch a circuit on and off, or step a circuit
through increasing power levels. Their most
common application is in lighting where they are
used to switch lamps. Pull Rope Switches are
used as emergency stop devices.

Key specifications include switching function,

voltage and current ratings, as well as various
features specific to e-stop applications such as
broken-cable detection.

Pull chain switches can be used for manual

control of overhead lights and fans. As rope-pull
switches, they are used for emergency stop
devices, for example along the length of an in-
running roll. They are sometimes called Rope
Pulls or Cable Pulls.4


4 http://www.thomasnet.com/articles/electrical-power-generation/types-of-switches
A relay is an electrically operated switch. Many
relays use an electromagnet to mechanically
operate a switch, but other operating principles
are also used, such as solid-state relays. Relays
are used where it is necessary to control a
circuit by a separate low-power signal, or where
several circuits must be controlled by one signal.
The first relays were used in long distance
telegraph circuits as amplifiers: they repeated
the signal coming in from one circuit and re-
transmitted it on another circuit. Relays were
used extensively in telephone exchanges and
early computers to perform logical operations.5


The electromechanical relay, used as a

constructive part of some early calculators and
computers (see computers of Zuse,Aiken and
Stibitz), was invented in 1835 by the brilliant US
scientist Joseph Henry (17971878), known
mainly as the inventor of the electromagnetic
phenomenon of self-inductance and mutual
inductance (see the nearby photo for Henry's
electromagnet from 1831). Henry was only really
interested in the science of electricity and the
relay was a laboratory trick to entertain students.

Samuel Morse later used Henry's relay device to

carry morse-code signals over long kilometers of
wire, but generally the invention of Henry
remained relatively unknown for several
decades, but in 1860s, and later on in the end of
19th century, with the development of telegraph
and phone communications, it became
widespread. Especially after invention of the
rotary dial, first developed in USA by Almon
Strowger in 1890, which however used not the
simple two-position switches described bellow, JOSEPH HENRY
but ten-position relays, the phone companies
became a huge consumer of electromechanical


5 http://www.explainthatstuff.com/howrelayswork.html

A relay is an electromagnetic switch operated by
a relatively small electric current that can turn on
or off a much larger electric current.

It can also be defined as switches that open and

close circuits electromechanically or


Latching relays are electronic parts that are

used to control large flow of electrical current
with smaller flow of current. Relays are typically
used when small continuous electrical currents
must be used. A latching relay, however, is used
to control large currents with smaller ones, using
a pulse to move the switch that then stays in
position, and this reduces the power
requirement slightly. Latching relays are 'bi-
stable,' meaning they have two relaxed states.
(These are also known as 'stay' relays.) When
an electrical flow is turned off, the latching relay
remains in the last state it was in. Latching relay
is really a generic term that is used to describe
the type of relay that maintains its position after
the power is removed. The reason latching
relays are used is because they allow control of
a circuit by providing a single pulse to a relay
control circuit. They are also used when it is
necessary to have a relay that will maintain its
contact position during power interruptions.8


7 http://www.explainthatstuff.com/howrelayswork.html

8 http://relays.weebly.com/latching-relay.html
A reed relay is a reed switch enclosed in a
solenoid. The switch has a set of contacts inside
an evacuated or inert gas-filled glass tube which
protects the contacts against atmospheric
corrosion; the contacts are made of magnetic
material that makes them move under the
influence of the field of the enclosing solenoid or
an external magnet. Reed relays can switch
faster than larger relays and require very little
power from the control circuit. However, they
have relatively low switching current and voltage
ratings. Though rare, the reeds can become
magnetized over time, which makes them stick
'on' even when no current is present; changing
the orientation of the reeds with respect to the
solenoid's magnetic field can resolve this


A mercury relay is a relay that uses mercury as

the switching element. They are used where
contact erosion would be a problem for
conventional relay contacts. Owing to
environmental considerations about significant
amount of mercury used and modern
alternatives, they are now comparatively
uncommon. It is used to control high-voltage
circuit with a low-voltage signal and to control a
high-current circuit with a low-current signal.
Mercury is used as a bridge that will connect the
wires to complete the circuits.

In order to Mercury Relay works, the coil must

be in the top part, and in the lower part is the
mercury and slug/armature that is made of steel
or iron which is the one that will attract by coil
when energized. It is usually installed into MERCURY RELAY
automatic controllers that required extended
periods of unattended continuous switching


10 https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relay
A polarized relay is a type of electromagnetic
relay, which has a permanent magnet as
opposed to a neutral relay. It has two magnetic
fluxes: a working one, generated by coils with a
flowing current, and a polarizing one, generated
by a permanent magnet. The polarized relay
consists of a steel core with two magnetizing
coils, a rolling steel armature, which has
contacts on the left and right, two movable
contacts and a permanent magnet. The
armature of the relay can take three positions. 1.
If there is no current in the coils of the
electromagnet, the armature is in neutral, POLARIZED
middle RELAY
position; 2. When a direct current of this
direction is flowing, the magnetic flux of the
electromagnet in one part of the core will be
stored with the magnetic flux of the permanent
magnet, and the other will be subtracted from it,
so the armature is drawn in one direction or the
other and closes the appropriate contacts. 3.
When the direction of the current changes, the
magnetic fluxes will be stored in another part of
the core. Polarized relays have high sensitivity,
high gain and short response time, so they are
used in circuits of low-power automatic
equipment in those cases when high sensitivity
or performance are required.


MACHINE TOOL RELAY is a type standardized

for industrial control of machine tools, transfer
machines, and other sequential control. They
are characterized by a large number of contacts
(sometimes extendable in the field) which are
easily converted from normally open to normally
closed status, easily replaceable coils, and a
form factor that allows compactly installing many
relays in a control panel. Although such relays
once were the backbone of automation in such
industries as automobile assembly, the
programmable logic controller (PLC) mostly
displaced the machine tool relay from sequential
control applications.

A relay allows circuits to be switched by electrical equipment: for example, a timer circuit with a relay
could switch power at a preset time. For many years relays were the standard method of controlling
industrial electronic systems. A number of relays could be used together to carry out complex functions
(relay logic). The principle of relay logic is based on relays which energize and de-energize associated
contacts. Relay logic is the predecessor of ladder logic, which is commonly used in programmable logic

CONTACTOR is a heavy-duty relay with higher current ratings, used for switching electric motors and
lighting loads. Continuous current ratings for common contactors range from 10 amps to several hundred
amps. High-current contacts are made with alloys containing silver. The unavoidable arcing causes the
contacts to oxidize; however, silver oxide is still a good conductor. Contactors with overload protection
devices are often used to start motors.

COAXIAL RELAY Where radio transmitters and

receivers share one antenna, often a coaxial
relay is used as a TR (transmit-receive) relay,
which switches the antenna from the receiver to
the transmitter. This protects the receiver from
the high power of the transmitter. Such relays
are often used in transceivers which combine
transmitter and receiver in one unit. The relay
contacts are designed not to reflect any radio
frequency power back toward the source, and to
provide very high isolation between receiver and
transmitter terminals. The characteristic
impedance of the relay is matched to the
transmission line impedance of the system, for
example, 50 ohms.11

TIME DELAY RELAY are arranged for an intentional

delay in operating their contacts. A very short (a
fraction of a second) delay would use a copper disk
between the armature and moving blade assembly.
Current flowing in the disk maintains magnetic field
for a short time, lengthening release time. For a
slightly longer (up to a minute) delay, a dashpot is
used. A dashpot is a piston filled with fluid that is
allowed to escape slowly; both air-filled and oil-filled
dashpots are used. The time period can be varied by
increasing or decreasing the flow rate. For longer
time periods, a mechanical clockwork timer is
installed. Relays may be arranged for a fixed timing
period, or may be field adjustable, or remotely set
from a control panel. Modern microprocessor-based
timing relays provide precision timing over a great

11 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relay

12 http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/textbook/digital/chpt-5/time-delay-relays/
Basic types of time-delay relay contacts.

NPTC (Normally Closed, Time Closed)

NOTC (Normally Open, Time Closed)

NOTO (Normally Open, Time Open)

NPTO (Normally Closed, Time Open)

Static relay

A static relay consists of electronic circuitry to

emulate all those characteristics which are
achieved by moving parts in an electro-magnetic

Solid state contactor relay

A solid state contactor is a heavy-duty solid state

relay, including the necessary heat sink, used
where frequent on/off cycles are required, such
as with electric heaters, small electric motors,
and lighting loads. There are no moving parts to
wear out and there is no contact bounce due to
vibration. They are activated by AC control
signals or DC control signals from
Programmable logic controller (PLCs), PCs,
Transistor-transistor logic (TTL) sources, or
other microprocessor and microcontroller

Buchholz relay

A Buchholz relay is a safety device sensing the

accumulation of gas in large oil-filled
transformers, which will alarm on slow
accumulation of gas or shut down the
transformer if gas is produced rapidly in the
transformer oil. The contacts are not operated by
an electric current but by the pressure of
accumulated gas or oil flow.

Force-guided contacts relay

A 'force-guided contacts relay' has relay

contacts that are mechanically linked together,
so that when the relay coil is energized or de-
energized, all of the linked contacts move
together. If one set of contacts in the relay
becomes immobilized, no other contact of the
same relay will be able to move. The function of
force-guided contacts is to enable the safety
circuit to check the status of the relay. Force-
guided contacts are also known as "positive-
guided contacts", "captive contacts", "locked
contacts", "mechanically linked contacts", or
"safety relays".

These safety relays have to follow design rules and manufacturing rules that are defined in one main
machinery standard EN 50205 : Relays with forcibly guided (mechanically linked) contacts. These rules
for the safety design are the one that are defined in type B standards such as EN 13849-2 as Basic safety
principles and Well-tried safety principles for machinery that applies to all machines.

Force-guided contacts by themselves can not guarantee that all contacts are in the same state, however
they do guarantee, subject to no gross mechanical fault, that no contacts are in opposite states.
Otherwise, a relay with several normally open (NO) contacts may stick when energised, with some
contacts closed and others still slightly open, due to mechanical tolerances. Similarly, a relay with several
normally closed (NC) contacts may stick to the unenergised position, so that when energised, the circuit
through one set of contacts is broken, with a marginal gap, while the other remains closed. By introducing
both NO and NC contacts, or more commonly, changeover contacts, on the same relay, it then becomes
possible to guarantee that if any NC contact is closed, all NO contacts are open, and conversely, if any
NO contact is closed, all NC contacts are open. It is not possible to reliably ensure that any particular
contact is closed, except by potentially intrusive and safety-degrading sensing of its circuit conditions,
however in safety systems it is usually the NO state that is most important, and as explained above, this
is reliably verifiable by detecting the closure of a contact of opposite sense.

Force-guided contact relays are made with different main contact sets, either NO, NC or changeover, and
one or more auxiliary contact sets, often of reduced current or voltage rating, used for the monitoring
system. Contacts may be all NO, all NC, changeover, or a mixture of these, for the monitoring contacts,
so that the safety system designer can select the correct configuration for the particular application.
Safety relays are used as part of an engineered safety system.

Overload Protection Relay

Electric motors need overcurrent protection to

prevent damage from over-loading the motor, or
to protect against short circuits in connecting
cables or internal faults in the motor windings.
The overload sensing devices are a form of heat
operated relay where a coil heats a bimetallic
strip, or where a solder pot melts, releasing a
spring to operate auxiliary contacts. These
auxiliary contacts are in series with the coil. If
the overload senses excess current in the load,
the coil is de-energized.

This thermal protection operates relatively slowly allowing the motor to draw higher starting currents
before the protection relay will trip. Where the overload relay is exposed to the same environment as the
motor, a useful though crude compensation for motor ambient temperature is provided.
The other common overload protection system uses an electromagnet coil in series with the motor circuit
that directly operates contacts. This is similar to a control relay but requires a rather high fault current to
operate the contacts. To prevent short over current spikes from causing nuisance triggering the armature
movement is damped with a dashpot. The thermal and magnetic overload detections are typically used
together in a motor protection relay.

Electronic overload protection relays measure motor current and can estimate motor winding temperature
using a "thermal model" of the motor armature system that can be set to provide more accurate motor
protection. Some motor protection relays include temperature detector inputs for direct measurement from
a thermocouple or resistance thermometer sensor embedded in the winding.

Vacuum relays

A sensitive relay having its contacts mounted in

a highly evacuated glass housing, to permit
handling radio-frequency voltages as high as
20,000 volts without flashover between contacts
even though contact spacing is but a few
hundredths of an inch when open.

Safety Relays

Safety relays are devices which generally

implement safety functions. In the event of a
hazard, the task of such a safety function is to
use appropriate measures to reduce the existing
risk to an acceptable level.

Multi-voltage relays

Multi-voltage relays are devices designed to

work for wide voltage ranges such as 24 to 240
VAC/VDC and wide frequency ranges such as 0
to 300 Hz. They are indicated for use in
installations that do not have stable supply

Common Electrical Problems

Problem #1: Electrical contact sticking (welding)

This is one of the most common failure modes for electrical contacts. The following is a checklist of some
possible contributing factors.
Contamination or corrosion of the contact surface can increase contact resistance, thus raising the
temperature at the points of contact and increasing the tendency to weld.

A loose rivet joint, a poor weld or brazed joint can also contribute to contact heating which may lead to

Poor contact alignment reduces the effective contact area and can contribute to contact welding.

A mechanical problem in the device which reduces contact force or reduces the opening force of the
contacts may cause a contact welding problem.

Currents that are higher than normal can cause contact welding. For new applications, in addition to the

Make sure the contacts are a suitable size and material for the application.

Support members for electrical contacts should be as highly conductive as possible to help keep the
contacts cool. This factor should not be overlooked for it can make the difference between success and
failure for a given contact set.

Problem #2: High contact erosion

If electrical contacts are eroding too rapidly, review all of the factors listed in the contact welding section
(above), because the same factors can cause increased erosion rates even if the conditions are not
severe enough to cause welding. In addition:

Check for contact bounce. If electrical contacts are chattering when closing, erosion can be significantly
increased as a result.

For AC circuits, contacts should not open too rapidly. The contacts should be opened fast enough to
minimize arc re-ignition, but slow enough to minimize the arc length (arc energy is proportional to arc
length). The arc will tend to extinguish at the first current zero after the contacts have opened beyond a
critical distance. For DC circuits, the electrical contacts should be opened rapidly to minimize arc duration.
For both AC circuits and DC circuits, contacts should close rapidly with minimum bounce.

Any device that is added to reduce arc duration or intensity between electrical contacts will reduce

Mechanical erosion can be reduced by lowering the contact force within a reasonable limit. However, if
the contact force is too low, the electrical erosion will far exceed any reduction in mechanical wear.

Problem #3: Material transfer from one electrical contact to the other

Material transfer is generally associated with DC circuits due to the polarity of the circuit being interrupted.

If the electrical contacts operate under non-arcing conditions, a phenomenon known as metal bridge
transfer causes material to migrate from the positive to the negative contact.

If the electrical contacts are operating under arcing conditions, in addition to metal transfer, another
phenomenon occurs that causes material transfer from the negative to the positive contact. This is a
result of arc emission and is referred to as arc transfer. As a result, the arc duration and intensity will
determine whether the net transfer will be to the negative contact or the positive contact.
Selection of electrical contact materials that resist material transfer is important for DC applications. High
melting and boiling points, good resistance to contact welding, high electrical and thermal conductivity
and high hardness are properties that help reduce material transfer.

Problem #4: High electrical contact resistance

This problem is generally caused by either foreign contamination or corrosion of the electrical contact
material. High contact resistance can lead to overheating, contact welding, high erosion rates, or no
contact at all.

Contract corrosion can be controlled by using a contact material that is not readily attacked by the
environment in which the contacts will operate.

Electrical contacts can be operated in a sealed controlled atmosphere to eliminate or reduce corrosion
and foreign contamination.

Contacts should be as clean as possible when the device is fully assembled.

Designing the electrical contact system to provide some wiping action can be vital in keeping contact
surfaces clean during operation.13

Other Interfacing Device

DIP Switches

DIP Switches are manual electric switches that

are packaged by group into a standard dual in-
line package (DIP). This type of switch is
designed to be used on a printed circuit board
along with other electronic components to
customize the behavior of an electronic device in
specific situations. DIP switches are also known
as toggle switches, which mean they have two SPST DIP Switch
possible positions -- on or off.

There are many different kinds of DIP switches

and at Future Electronics we stock many of the
most common types including rotary, slide, and
rocker switches. We also offer a selection of
DPDT dipswitches, SPDT dipswitches, low profile
dipswitches, miniature dipswitches and micro-

13 http://www.pepbrainin.com/technical-resources/troubleshooting-common-electrical-
Rotary DIP Switches contain multiple electrical
contacts. The way it is used is by rotating the
switch to align it with a number printed on the
package. These may be large like thumbwheels,
or small enough to require a screwdriver.

The slide and rocker types of switches, which are

very common, are arrays of simple SPST (single-
pole, single-throw) contacts. These can be either
set in an on or off position allowing for each
Rotary DIP Switch
switch to have a one-bit binary value. The values
of all switches in the DIP package can also be
interpreted as one number. For example, seven
switches offer 128 combinations, allowing them to
select a standard ASCII character. Eight switches
offer 256 combinations, which is equivalent to
one byte and so on.

Its really easy to hone in on the electric switch you need using our parametric filters. You can use them to
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Typical Dip Switch applications include: Telecommunications, Computer Motherboards, Remote controls
for frequency setting (like garage door openers) and other electronic devices requiring option settings. 14


A keypad is a set of buttons arranged in a block

or "pad" which bear digits, symbols or
alphabetical letters. Pads mostly containing
numbers are called a numeric keypad. Numeric
keypads are found on alphanumeric keyboards
and on other devices which require mainly
numeric input such as calculators, push-button
telephones, vending machines, ATMs, Point of
Sale devices, combination locks, and digital door
locks. Many devices follow the E.161 standard for
their arrangement. 15 Keypad


14 http://www.futureelectronics.com/en/switches/dip-switches.aspx

15 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keypad
A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick
that pivots on a base and reports its angle or
direction to the device it is controlling. A joystick,
also known as the control column, is the principal
control device in the cockpit of many civilian and
military aircraft, either as a center stick or side-
stick. It often has supplementary switches to
control various aspects of the aircraft's flight.16

7-Segment Display

7-segment LED (Light Emitting Diode) or LCD

(Liquid Crystal Display) type displays, provide a
very convenient way of displaying information or
digital data in the form of numbers, letters or
even alpha-numerical characters.

Typically 7-segment displays consist of seven

individual coloured LEDs (called the segments),
within one single display package. In order to
produce the required numbers or HEX
characters from 0 to 9 and A to F respectively,
on the display the correct combination of LED
segments need to be illuminated and BCD to 7- 7-Segment Display
segment Display Decoders such as the 74LS47
do just that.

A standard 7-segment LED display generally has 8 input connections, one for each LED segment and
one that acts as a common terminal or connection for all the internal display segments. Some single
displays have also have an additional input pin to display a decimal point in their lower right or left hand

In electronics there are two important types of 7-segment LED digital display.

1. The Common Cathode Display (CCD) In the common cathode display, all the cathode connections of
the LEDs are joined together to logic 0 or ground. The individual segments are illuminated by
application of a HIGH, logic 1 signal to the individual Anode terminals.

2. The Common Anode Display (CAD) In the common anode display, all the anode connections of the
LEDs are joined together to logic 1 and the individual segments are illuminated by connecting the
individual Cathode terminals to a LOW, logic 0 signal. 17

16 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joystick

17 http://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/combination/comb_6.html
Pilot Lamp

A small electric lamp used to indicate that an

electric circuit is energized. Also
called pilot light.


A buzzer or beeper is an audio signalling device,

which may be mechanical, electromechanical, or
piezoelectric. Typical uses of buzzers and Pilot Lamp

beepers include alarm devices, timers, and

confirmation of user input such as a mouse click
or keystroke.


18 www.thefreedictionary.com/pilot+lamp