Latching and Momentary switches

One of the most elementary and easy-to-overlook circuit component is the switch. There are two types of switches: Latching switches and momentary switches.
They operate in different ways and therefore suit different applications.

Latching switches (Maintained switches)
A latching switch is a switch that maintains its state after being activated. A push-to-make, push-to-break switch would therefore be a latching switch – each time you actuate it, whichever state the switch is left in will persist until the switch is actuated again.

Latching switches are switched on by the user and then remain on until switched off again. They do not require continuous compression from the user.

Latching switches can be found in the home and are used for things like light switches, central heating switches or on stereos.

These switches might also be called toggle or ON/OFF switches.

Momentary switches
Momentary switches require continuous compression. They will switch on when the user compresses the switch and will remain on only for as long as there is pressure on the switch. Once the pressure is removed they will switch off. For example; a door buzzer or an electric drill. You’ve probably got a momentary switch (or 50) right in front of you...keys on a keyboard!


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