factors for finding the perfect switch for your application
The process of selecting switches does not always receive the time and attention it deserves. Given the relatively low cost and simple nature of most switches, often they are selected without full consideration of the features and functionality they offer. Depending on the application, there are certain parameters that will guide a designer to choose a particular switch, but amidst the myriad of options that are available it is all too easy to be led astray.
Driven by Data
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) is generating vast amounts of data across all sectors. This data needs to be stored or, more often, communicated. The necessity of accommodating the required antennas, transmitters and additional circuitry can have a drastic impact on the space available for operational, detection and data collection components, such as switches. Despite this, switches must still interface with the user, while also withstanding harsh environments and aggressive interaction. Manufacturers of medical equipment, for example, are increasingly focusing their investments on developing the systems and platforms to store, correlate and analyze this data. Designers must therefore carefully select switches that are capable of meeting demanding specifications, including miniaturization and low power consumption.
Meeting Physical Demands
With the growth of wearables, the demand for switches is growing. While wearable devices have been around for some time, there are different philosophies when it comes to designing devices for different industries. Components within medical wearable devices, for example, need to be resilient against rough treatment and environmental challenges, while also working the first time, every time. The challenge for designers is to ensure that every individual component is fit for purpose within the demanding environments in which these machines operate. Switches are a vital part of the interface between a user and a device, so when it comes to ensuring consistent performance, long life and quality of the switches, making the correct choice is crucial.
Within the industrial sector, for example, switches are used in a variety of applications including CNC machine controls, safety and position sensors, battery chargers, power supplies and gas detection equipment, to name but a few. One thing they all have in common is that space is limited on the PCB, both when it comes to height and footprint. This form factor is becoming increasingly important as the functionality of devices increases, making the real estate on the PCB even more valuable.
Another crucial consideration for switch choice is the required signal current. There is a great variety in electrical requirements depending on the product design, with some switches needing to handle low signal currents for PLCs and microprocessor inputs, while some need to handle higher currents in order to actuate relays.
Choosing Electrical Switches & Outlets
How to choose switches and outlets while avoiding pitfalls.
Choosing electrical switches and outlets for a remodeling project or new home addition can be daunting. There are so many features to consider including style, color, finish and usage. The last thing you want to do is to select the wrong devices and delay the completion of your project.
Make A List
In each room requiring devices sketch and list each device location and shape. Alternately, put a numbered sticker on each one and add to a list. Miscounting is a VERY common mistake so carefully review your totals and discuss it with your electrician. Make sure you haven’t forgotten a switch around a corner that would look odd if not coordinated with the rest of the devices in an adjoining room, or missed an outlet hidden behind a piece of furniture. You might not see it now, but that device may be visible in the future if you redecorate or move
Be Familiar With Device Descriptions
When choosing devices, have a clear understanding of what terms mean. Often people will select an outlet not realizing that these come in several variations. Do you need a Decora outlet (the large, block style rectangular opening for two receptacles) or a duplex outlet (for two slightly rounded plugs on one device)? Is your electrician installing Decora rockers or toggle switches? A “switch” could refer to either.
Consider Updating Your Current Devices
The trend in devices is to use “Decora style” decorator switches, outlets and dimmers. There are several benefits to selecting these. First, all devices fit into the same size opening, limiting the variety of plate shapes needed. A light switch, an outlet or a dimmer could easily be interchanged allowing more flexibility if last minute changes are required. Decora rocker switches are also easier to use for the elderly or mobility challenged. Visually, Decora devices give a more cohesive look because of the standardized shape.
Access and Usability
If it would be convenient to turn on a light from more than one location, then a 3-way or 4-way switch would be required. Devices that control a single location are referred to as single pole devices. A three way device allows a light to be controlled from two switch locations. A four-way device allows control from three separate switch locations. Be sure to confirm with your electrician whether multi-pole devices can be installed in the desired locations. Another popular option is to install dimmers that allow lighting to be adjusted according to mood. Many dimmer switches have preset buttons to easily retain desired settings.
things to consider before installing smart light switches
When turning your old, dumb house into a smart home, one of the best places to start is with lighting. For starters, you can test the waters with a single smart bulb or set of lights — letting you dip a toe in the smart light pool before diving in head-first.
Smart bulbs, switches or plugs?
First, make sure you’re getting the right kind of smart lighting for your home. Smart switches are one of the more common options when it comes to smart lighting. You can find them at pretty much every big box home improvement store
Smart bulbs, for instance, not only let you remotely control the lights or put them on a schedule, they often also let you change the color of the lighting on the fly. Smart plugs keep things simple while letting you turn an existing lamp with a regular light bulb into one you can turn off and on from anywhere. They sometimes let you track energy consumption, as well. Both of these options come with a plug-and-play installation. If you don’t like it or want to move it later on, you can with little to no effort.
Smart switches, on the other hand, are the modest midpoint between the other two and the most natural to use. You can still control the lights from the wall switch like you always have, but you’ll get some added benefits, like dimming or a pop-out remote that will still give you easier manual control of the lights. But they’ll also work with existing light fixtures that may not accommodate a smart bulb. That said, installation is much more hands-on and permanent.
Alexa, Google, Siri and more
When choosing which smart switch you should go with, consider what the switches are compatible with. If the smart switches you choose can communicate with Amazon Alexa, Google Home ($99 at Crutchfield), HomeKit or SmartThings, the possibilities for how you can control your lights or what you can do with them are virtually limitless.
Tips for Identifying Light Switches in Your Home
Being able to identify the designs and types of light switches around your house will help you choose the best replacements. Here’s a quick look at the most common light switches.
Single-Pole Switch. Single-pole switches are the most common. These switches use a simple on-off toggle to turn lights, devices, and receptacles on and off from a single location. Flipping the switch on single-pole models connects or disconnects the circuit. Most single-pole switches are marked with on and off settings. It’s important to wire your single-pole switch in the correct direction to ensure the markings match the position of the switch. A single-pole switch will have two brass screws on either side of the switch. These brass terminals house the incoming and outgoing hot wire. Some switches also come with a green ground terminal.
Double-Pole Switch. Double-pole switches also utilize an on-off toggle and can only control lights, devices, or receptacles from one location. But with four brass terminals, double-pole switches can house two hot wires, which means that double-pole models can switch to a 240-volt circuit. Double-pole models also utilize a green ground screw.
Three-Way Switch. Three-way switches come in pairs and allow you to turn lights on or off from two locations. This makes them ideal for controlling long hallways. Three-way designs are more complicated than single- and double-pole switches; the hot wire in three-way designs is connected to the common screw (COM). The remaining terminals are used to wire the leads for switches. Three-way switches also come with a green ground screw.
Four-Way Switch. Four-way designs are combined with three-way switches to control lights from three or more locations. You can identify a four-way switch by its four terminals.
Factors to Consider Before Choosing Enterprise Switches
Nowadays, to set up an enterprise network, network switches for enterprise are necessary, connecting the users in local geography such as an office, departments or buildings connected to each other and allowing data transferring to the assigned devices. It is an indisputable fact that Ethernet switches matters a lot in an enterprise network, no matter it is small or large-sized. Before you make your choice of buying enterprise switches, here are some criteria you need to consider.
Map out the Enterprise Network
The most critical thing you should make clear is your requirements including the network size, the purpose of the network, the devices which will be connected to the switches and the future network planning.
After identifying the network size and the future needs of your business, the switch function and features are what you should pay attention to. If you are running a small-sized enterprise where there are fewer than 200 users and no need for future expansion, the network model can be two-tier internetworking architecture. For mid-sized to large enterprises, the three-layer hierarchical network model is needed. Based on the three-layer hierarchical network model, the switches in the enterprise can be divided into access layer switches, distribution layer switches, and core layer switches. Choose enterprise switches according to the three layers can be a good way for each layer has its functions as well as characteristics
Evaluating Enterprise Switches
After deciding the enterprise network architecture, you should get some information about enterprise switches which will help you better choose the switches you will deploy. If you are aware of the switch specifications, you can skip this part and go directly to the next which will give your suggestions on evaluating switch suppliers.
Port Speeds and Cabling Connections
There is a wide range of network switches available in the market. 1 Gigabit Ethernet, 10 GE, 40GE and 100GE ports are all supported by the modern enterprise switches. These interfaces can be a combination of RJ45 ports for copper connectivity and SFP or SFP+ uplink ports with higher speeds for fiber connectivity. In terms of the cabling connections, Ethernet connections with standard RJ45 ports can be more economical. Sure the network switch interface selection is influenced by the installed cabling. If you have already installed Cat6 or Cat6a cabling, then choose switches with RJ45 ports; If multiple fiber cabling is installed, then choose switches with SFP, SFP+, or QSFP+ ports. Despite the fact that Cat6 cable running from the access closet may be less expensive, the distance it can reach will be limited.
Based on the environment where you are going to install switches, the switch size, the operating temperature, relative humidity are all your considerations. In a place where space is limited, you must examine the switch dimensions and ensure the rack space is adequate for the switch deployment. If the temperature of the installation environment is either too hot or too cold, it is necessary to check and choose the switch which can operate in a harsh environment. Also, be careful about the moisture migration and penetration caused by high humidity which will impact the operation of the devices.