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Designing with a Rocker Switch


From being used on a vacuum cleaner to being used on a life-support machine, a switch controls the incoming power. Its purpose is to open and close a circuit. Opening a circuit (device OFF) breaks the connection which stops current flow. Closing the circuit (device ON) allows the current to flow again.

A switch consists of an actuator (the moveable part), housing, contacts and terminals. The actuator comes in a variety of styles, such as rocker, rotary, toggle, and push-button. Variations in switch designs define how the switch opens and closes the circuit. Interpower carries the double-pole, single-throw rocker switch design.


Double-Pole, Single-Throw Design

Many global wiring systems are non-electrically polarized. By using a double-pole, single-throw switch, the contacts cut off power to both the line and neutral when flipped into the off position. Many international standards require the simultaneous switching of both current-carrying conductors. Many North American standard agencies also accept this design.




Rocker Switch Characteristics

Rocker power switches are usually used in mains power applications, such as in a home computer or a large piece of manufacturing equipment. They can fit in industry standard panel cutouts and can carry agency approvals, current ratings, and contact spacing that are appropriate for global applications.

The rocker design works well as a power switch:

  • The switch extends little beyond the panel on which it is mounted.
  • The switch contains markings indicating position, which eliminates the need for separate power indicators.
  • A rocker switch is usually harder to accidentally activate than a push-button switch.
  • A rocker switch generally can handle more current than a push-button or slide switch, because a snap action switch design can be used.
  • This switch may help save assembly labor, because it snaps directly into a panel with no additional hardware required.

The switches offered by Interpower contain silver-plated contacts which are specified for many electrical and electronic applications, such as computers, power tools, industrial controls, instrumentation, medical, and telecommunications. Connections can be made via 6.3mm or 4.8mm quick disconnects.


Additional Resources

For more information on switches offered by Interpower, see Switches and the Featured Product page.

Interpower offers a 1-week U.S. manufacturing lead-time on non-stock Interpower products, no minimum order or dollar requirements, and same day shipping on in-stock products. Blanket and scheduled orders along with value-added services are available. If you have questions, Interpower offers free technical support. You can check the website at, e-mail (United States) or (United Kingdom) or contact Customer Service in the United States at (800) 662-2290 or in the United Kingdom at +44 (0)1908 295300.

Free Guide to Worldwide Plug and Socket Patterns & Power Mains (Single-Phase)

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Interpower Components Ltd.  10 Kelvin Drive  Knowlhill  Milton Keynes  Buckinghamshire  MK5 8NH  United Kingdom

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