What are car switches and how are they used?

There are lots of different types of switches from toggle switches, push buttons, WOT (Wide open throttle) switches, starter switches, rocker switches and lever switches. Every switch is different in appearance, function and use. A switch is a critical part of any vehicles electrics, its used to turn on or off electrical functions in a car.

What is the difference between a momentary and latching switch?

A momentary switch is active when being pushed, an example of this is the vehicle horn. However, a latched switch will stay in its on/off position until it is changed, an example of this is your headlights.

What are the different types?

A toggle switch is manually triggered by a lever mechanism. It is a simple electrical switch that must be operated by the user. Whenever the user moves the short handle either backwards or forwards, the switch moves between open or closed positions. Once the switch is in closed position, the electrical contacts in the switch are connected together, thus completing the circuit and allowing power to flow. A switch in its open position is the opposite, creating a break in the circuity. Their simple mechanical nature makes them ideal for use in high-currently circuits like external fuel pumps, or additional lighting. Toggle switches are normally used in race cars to run various functions such as fuel pumps, ignition, nitrous bottle heaters etc. A toggle switch is perfect for direct-wired systems that are not controlled by a relay because it can handle a large amount of electrical voltage or current.

Momentary switches are used in Race cars for functions such as the horn.

A rotary switch operates by rotating and is ideal for use when multiple positions are needed. An example of this in a high performance car is a calibration switch which allows drivers to switch between engine maps or traction control settings.

A battery cut off switch stops the electrical load transmitting from the car’s battery to the entire system. These are used on race cars for safety reasons and preventing battery drain when the vehicle remains not in use for extended periods of times. Battery cut off switches are sometimes connected via a metal cable to a lever positioned outside the car. This is used in case the vehicle is involved in an accident and emergency teams want to cut all power.

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