Rotary Switches

Also known as selector switches, rotary switches consist of a spindle or rotor that has contact arms/spokes projecting from it to form a star wheel-like mechanism. Each of these arms are contacts for an electrical circuit. The mechanism can have varying numbers of switching positions and the operator only has to turn the knob to select which application to use. This could be a simple on/off or something more complex like changes in speed. Rotary switches are available in a number of configurations, which affects how many positions or applications they can control. While most have an arm pivoting on a central axis, some switches have a bridge between two adjacent contacts which means it can only be switched from one position to another. The actuator, or knob, varies in appearance according to application although most are clearly labelled for ease of operation. Rotary switches have a large number of uses. They can often be found in factories where they control machinery. Electronic test equipment and scientific apparatus are often fitted with rotary switches too. Some common domestic appliances are operated by this form of switch such as manually-operated washing machines, floor fans and blenders.

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