Glossary of Terms

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  • Creepage:
    The unwanted flow of electrical current from one conductive part to another.
  • CSA (Canadian Standards Agency):
    A testing and safety certification agency.
  • Current-Carrying Capacity:
    Specified maximum current which can flow through the switch contacts. Determined by contacts size, shape, material and the force with which they are pressed together.
  • Current Rating:
    The nominal or name plate current capacity of a device. The maximum current rating, listed by UL, is the current that can be carried continuously without causing the temperature of the switch terminals to rise more than 30°C above the ambient temperature.
  • Cycle:
    The complete program of operations required to return switch to the same condition that existed at the beginning of the cycle.
  • Cyclic:
    A grip used to control the left/right or forward/ backward movement of an aircraft.
  • D-Flat:
    A flat edge on one side of a cylinder for orientation and anti-rotation.
  • Dead Break:
    Open circuit condition, usually caused when actuating a switch slowly. Dead break results from low contact pressure, contact lift off or friction in the switch mechanism.
  • Detent:
    A mechanism intended to hold actuator and contacts in a fixed position after the actuation force is removed or reduced to less than a specified value. Can also be referred to as tactile feel or feedback as it also identifies actuator position by means of tactile feel.
  • Dielectric:
    Non-conductive material, electrical isolation.
  • Dielectric Breakdown:
    Rupture of insulating material when the electric stress exceeds the dielectric strength of the material (Voltage Breakdown).
  • Dielectric Strength:
    A specific voltage that a switch can withstand without leakage current between insulated conductors before it starts to conduct electricity. Most often applies to insulator between switch terminals and metal exposed to operator of the switch.
  • Differential Travel:
    Distance the button travels between actuation and reset point.
  • DIP:
    Dual-in-line package refers to a component with two rows of PC terminals. The terminals most commonly have pitch of 0.100 and located at 0.30 across the package.
  • Direct Current (DC):
    Type of electrical current having constant polarity, generally associated with electricity from a battery.
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