Glossary

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  • AC:
    Alternating current; electric current that continually reverses direction at a fixed frequency (see VAC).
  • Active Area (contact):
    Electrical junction comprising a multitude of contact a- spots through which electrical current passes from one connector component to the other.
  • Actuation:
    Operating or releasing a switch by depressing or releasing its actuator or rotating its shaft.
  • Actuation Force:
    The force required to change a switch actuator from one position to another. Measured exactly when switch changes state. Torque for rotary products.
  • Actuator:
    Toggle, Rocker, Slider, Paddle, Pushbuttons, Shaft
  • Air Gap:
    The minimum distance between separated mating contacts in their fully open position.
  • Alloy:
    A metal created by combining two or more metals to obtain a specific physical property
  • Alternate Action:
    Push to close and push to open the switch. A given circuit condition remains after removal of actuating force. Also known as “push-push switching action”. Typically, alternate action pushbuttons do not visually indicate the position of the contacts. Contrast to latching action.
  • Ambient:
    Surrounding operating conditions external to the switch. This includes physical atmosphere, as well as the form and nature of applied electrical and mechanical loads.
  • American Wire Gauge:
    A standard system used for designating the size of electrical conductors. Abbreviated AWG. Based on specified ranges of circular mil area. American Gauge numbers have an inverse relationship to size.
  • Ampere (A):
    A unit of electrical current.
  • ANSI:
    American National Standard Institute; a standard-setting agency of the United States which approves the design and/or performances of electronic/electrical components distributed in the world market.
  • Antistatic Switch:
    An antistatic device will withstand a specified potential without conducting between the actuator typical value 8-20 kilovolts DC.
  • Arc:
    Gaseous electrical discharge between separated contacts of a switch, involving a stream of electrons, metal vapors and ions.
  • Arcing:
    The flow of electric current between switch contacts during opening or closing of the contacts. This current flow can be damaging to the contacts of a switch.
  • AWG:
    A standard system used for designating the size of electrical conductors. Abbreviated AWG. Based on specified ranges of circular mil area. American Gauge numbers have an inverse relationship to size.
  • Bezel Mount:
    Switch mounting method from the front of the panel that has an attractive portion of the switch exposed on the front panel.
  • Bifurcated Contact:
    A wiping movable contact consisting of spring fingers that grip the fixed contact. Typically found in slide switches.
  • Blade:
    The moveable component of the switch used to complete the electrical circuit. (See Figure 1)
  • Boot:
    A rubber part used to protect a switch from water or dust. Usually found between the button of a switch and the case inside of the switch. An external boot can be placed over a button or toggle lever to protect the switch from water or dust.
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