Types and types of light switches: an overview of connection options + analysis of popular brands
It is impossible to even imagine your house without lighting devices. Still, modern man can not be in the dark. He loves the light. A switch is required for each lamp or individual lamp, otherwise it will not work.
A variety of types and types of light switches have been developed so that a person spoiled by comfort can choose the most convenient options for himself. Let's try to figure them out.
Switch: what it is for
A switch is a switching device that is responsible for closing / opening the electrical circuit supplying the lighting device. It is always installed in the area of the phase wire break. It is impossible to believe the illiterate "electricians", who assert that the zero and phase wires should be fed to the switch.This will cause a short circuit and wiring problems.
Household models of switches are designed to work with wiring using regulatory load. Connect them to the network with other parameters can not. Each of the switches can operate only with a specific operating voltage and current. These parameters are always indicated in the technical documentation and on the device case.
The main task of the device is to provide power to the electrical device and stop it when there is no need to use the lamp. Switches are available in a variety of versions. They differ significantly from each other in a number of ways. Consider these differences more closely.
Switching methods used in switches
When installing switches, only two methods of connecting wires are used that have certain features.
Screw clamping mechanism
To switch the wires in the switch of this type, special clamps are installed, which are fixed with ordinary screws.This method of connection is more complicated to install, but the result is a high-quality contact. Over time, such a connection may weaken slightly and then you have to slightly tighten the screw.
Experts believe that switches with screw terminals are optimal for use with aluminum wires.
Spring Contact Mechanisms
It can be considered as an improved version of the screw clamp. Here there is a spring-loaded plate-contact, which clamps a portion of the exposed wire, thereby providing a fairly reliable connection. This is the easiest way to install.
The main disadvantage of such clips is that the wire must be clamped correctly. Otherwise, the device will not be able to fully work. Spring-loaded switches work best with copper wiring.
Installation method of the switch
The device can be installed in various ways, based on this they are divided into two types.
Overhead appliances.So called switches that impose on the surface of the wall and fix. They characteristically protrude above the wall, which may not look quite aesthetically pleasing. Overhead devices are often used to work with external wiring, but can be connected to hidden.
Devices are more simple installation, reliable and functional. On sale you can find interesting designer models designed for installation in vintage interiors.
Built-in switches.Switches are installed in a suitable cavity size, pre-made in the wall. This greatly complicates their installation, but improves the appearance. The upper decorative panel of the switch protrudes slightly above the wall surface or is completely recessed in it. Built-in models are designed for use with hidden wiring, they cannot work with external wiring.
Housing protection degree
Household switches are operated in different conditions, so their enclosures can be made in different variants of protection. There is a GOST that regulates this degree. In electrics, an IP marking system has been adopted, which characterizes the protection of the case from the ingress of water and solid particles to current-carrying elements.It is applied to the switch and indicated in the accompanying documentation.
The actual labeling is an alphanumeric entry. The first are the letters IP, indicating the type of marking. Next is a figure that indicates the degree of protection against contamination.
The lowest is indicated by zero, the highest - by six. Devices from the "zero" group do not have any protection against dust, devices with the number 6 on the case are completely protected from it. They work well even in areas where there is a high level of dust.
The second digit marking indicates the current level of protection from moisture. There are numbers from zero to nine. The first group of switches is equipped with a housing devoid of protection from moisture. The latter indicates the highest degree of protection.
Such devices can function normally under the condition of complete immersion in water, including in hot.After these two numbers there may be letters that give additional information. But for switches they are practically not used.
Considering this marking, one should choose switches for non-residential and residential rooms of different purposes. For example, for bedrooms and living rooms it will be quite enough to protect the enclosure IP20, in damp rooms and bathrooms you should install devices with IP44, it can be higher.
For saunas, baths or showers, appliances with IP54 are suitable. Similar are installed on the streets, in unheated and dusty rooms. In the latter case, the degree of protection may be higher.
Device control method
There are a lot of options to control the switch, which is explained by the usability of the device. On this basis, these types of switches are distinguished.
Structurally, such switches consist of permanently fixed contacts inside the case and a swinging mechanism, which is pressed by a spring. The latter works in compression or in tension. On this basis, there are two variations of keyboard instruments. In the first, a ball is used, which, when the button is pressed, starts moving along the swinging beam.
It passes the axis and rolls over the shoulder of the rocker, thereby moving the movable mechanism equipped with contacts in the opposite direction. The second type of key switch is equipped with a spring-loaded frame. It has the ability to swing on its axis, thereby breaking or creating an electrical contact. Regardless of the type of device, the switch is switched by pressing a key.
Such switches are characterized by a long service life. Provided with properly selected parameters and proper operation, they can work without fail for several decades. The cost of keyboard devices is small. They are issued in the consignment note or in the built-in version. On sale you can find complex structures, when two or more keys are attached to one base. In some cases, they can be very convenient to use.
Were very popular in 70-80 years of the last century, but in various variations are used today. Their main feature is the presence of a durable lace that comes out of the switch body.Actually you can turn it off / on by pulling this cord. The latter is fixed on the pivot arm, and it, in turn, interacts with the moving contact block.
After the cord is released, the spring secured in the body straightens and returns the pad to its original place. An interesting modification of the cord device is a device for controlling two or more groups of light bulbs. They react to the amount of tension of the lace. At the first one of the lighting units is turned on, at the second - the next one and so on. Switching off is carried out in reverse order.
Retro style pushbutton switches
Pushbutton-type switches operate on the key principle. This means that the first pressing of the button closes the contacts, the second opens. There are varieties of such switches that work with so-called self-return buttons, when the device operates without holding the button.In this case, a relay circuit that controls the lighting is additionally connected.
Push-button switches successfully work in all kinds of floor and desktop lighting devices. They are found in wall models, but in this case, the button replaces the spring-loaded lever. Such devices are durable and reliable. Models with a decorative enlarged button are especially convenient, they are usually installed on the basis of floor lamps.
Innovative sensory models
Such devices operate without any mechanical impact. To close / open the circuit, just lightly touch the special sensitive panel located on the outside of the device. Such panels can operate either in button mode or in key mode. The design of the touch switch includes an electronic circuit that operates on semiconductors, a sensitive element and the switch itself.
The touch element responds to tactile contact and sends the received signal to the electronic circuit.It transforms it into a team that is understandable to the executive body, which fulfills it. Touch devices are universal. They can be equipped with additional sensors and respond to their signals, or work remotely.
Devices with remote control
These switches provide the ability to control the lamp at a distance. For this, a special remote control is used, which over the air channel transmits commands to the lighting device. Actually the switch in this case is a receiver equipped with switching contacts that cut into the supply wire of the lamp.
In case you have to control LED or fluorescent lamps, zero and phase are supplied to the power supply unit.
The console may have a different design, more often it is made in the form of a small keychain. The range of his work depends largely on the materials from which the building was erected, and on its construction. On average, the power of such radiation is enough to overcome about 20-25m.The remote can not work without power, which is carried by batteries. In such a control circuit can be used microprocessor controllers. This will enable the use of additional functions: timer, light intensity control, etc.
Switches with integrated sensors
The design of such devices includes detectors that analyze specific environmental parameters. This may be the absence or the presence of movement of a fairly large object in the area of responsibility or the intensity of illumination. The signals from the sensor go to the controller, which analyzes them. As soon as the parameters determined in advance are fixed, a signal is sent to the executive body.
Then the circuit contacts are closed / open. Such switches can most often be programmed. That is, the user can independently set the device response parameters. The devices are very easy to use and can significantly saveenergy, because they only work when there is a real need to turn on the lights.
Pass-through or flip devices
Switches of this type can be considered a kind of keyboard models. Their main difference is that they do not open / close the contacts, but switch them. As a result, one of the lamps connected to such a switch lights up or goes out. Reversible devices make it possible to control the lighting from several places remote from each other at once. One or several lighting devices can be connected to such switches.
Popular manufacturers: whom to prefer
The quality of switches, like any other products, depends largely on the manufacturer. Companies that have earned a good reputation strictly monitor the quality of their products, guaranteeing customers a long and trouble-free service for their products. Therefore, when choosing a switch for your home, it is important to pay attention to this moment and, if possible, choose products from a reputable manufacturer. Let's talk about the best of them.
Legrand Company from France
The French brand entered the market in the middle of the 19th century. with china.After the emergence of electricity, porcelain became in demand as an insulator, the company took up products for electricians. The management initially relied on the use of the latest technologies in production, which gave good results - the company is one of the five best European manufacturers of electricians.
Products Legrand is known in more than 150 countries around the world, it is sold under various brand names including Contactor, BTicino, Sarlam, Legrand and others. Products of the company are distinguished by the highest quality, safety and reliability. The product range is very wide, it includes a variety of wall switches. Among them you can find traditional models, as well as unusual combination devices.
They are a three-key or standard switch installed in a common housing with a socket. The company pays special attention to the quality of components. In addition, the enclosures of all devices, regardless of their cost, are made only from self-extinguishing plastic. This greatly increases the safety of operation of devices.Legrand produces devices of various designs that fit into any interiors.
Swedish company ABB
Appeared at the end of the last century as a result of the merger of two major Swedish concerns. Today it is one of the leading manufacturers of wiring accessories. Their distinguishing feature is the highest safety and quality. The brand offers convenient modular solutions that allow you to collect the necessary variations of the proposed elements. For the production of shells are used only shock-resistant, UV-resistant materials.
Among them are natural, such as steel, wood or bronze. Structural simplicity of products involves simple and quick installation. The ABB brand range includes several product lines, each of which has a special, easily recognizable design. For example, Reflex is made in the traditional strict geometric shapes, but Impuls has soft rounded lines.
Collections of wiring accessories are varied.And even in the basic collections, the manufacturer offers not only standard solutions. For example, in all there are frames with a fluorescent coating, which in the dark highlight the body of the device. ABB products are notable for their high cost, which some attribute to significant shortcomings.
Brand from France Schneider Electric
Founded in the 19th century. as a company producing weapons, has long mastered the markets of the electric power industry and has become one of the leaders in the production of electrical installation products. In the product range Schneider switches with light indication, through passage, with remote control, with sensors and other complex variations. And all of them are of the highest quality.
A distinctive feature of Schneider products is the presence of bronze spring contacts. This eliminates the need for an additional clip and does not lose the quality of the created contact. Due to this, installation of products of the French brand is extremely simple and fast. The design of electrical installation devices is a wide variety. Here you can find interesting models in different ranges: from laconic classics to catchy avant-garde.
All collections of the brand include removable frames of horizontal and vertical types of different colors. The company's products are represented by several model lines. Unica is very popular, offering modular devices that allow you to create various combinations of elements on the basis of a unified seat.
Products from Schneider differ in high cost, and this applies even to standard models, not to mention the designer models.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
Everything you need to know about switches:
Compare wiring devices from different manufacturers:
What does marking the degree of protection of the body:
Modern switches are complex devices that allow you to make a person's life as comfortable as possible. At the same time, they also help to save electricity, this applies to high-tech models equipped with light and motion sensors. Manufacturers produce products of various designs, which allows them to easily fit into the interiors of the most different styles. Among the variety of models it is easy to choose for yourself the most suitable option, you only need to determine which switch is needed for the existing operating conditions.