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C4 Adjustable Stop Instructional Video

Rotary Switch Basics

* Why So Many Switches? * Frequently Asked Questions *

Why So Many Switches?

With 24 different series in our rotary catalog, making a decision on which switch will fill your needs can be confusing. Here is a simple explanation that may help you decide.




Smallest rotary switch we produce

C2, C3

Designed for printed circuit boards


Low cost, yet designed for lots of options

C5, C6

Most economical switch we produce


Available up to 24 positions


Smallest switch designed for MIL-SPEC ruggedness


Developed for solder termination or PC Board applications


Catalog version offers silver alloy contacts


Readily available through distribution


Most economical open-frame switch


Superior index provides smooth, reliable feel


Higher contact rating @ 2.25 amps


Provides 18 positions


Provides 24 positions with a frame less than 3 inches


Strong positive index


Linear action, up to 5 positions


Catalog version spring return action


Highest rating we offer @ 11 amps switching


Designed for printed circuit boards and 24 positions


High reliability, designed with MIL-SPECs in mind


Highest quality rotary switch we produce


Available up to 32 positions


Available up to 48 positions in a frame under 3 inches

Frequently Asked Questions

Parts of a Distributor Label

If it doesn't say ROHS on the label, then it's not ROHS compliant.


Q1. What is a Pole?
A1. A pole is an isolated circuit (or input).

Q2. What is a Section?
A2. A section (or deck or wafer) is what the contacts are mounted on.

Q3. What is the difference in Shorting and Non-shorting?
A3. A shorting contact is also known as "make before break" and describes the action of the contact as you select your switch positions. The switch will momentarily "short" postion 1 and 2 together when you rotate from position 1 over to position 2. A non-shorting contact is also known as "break before make". The connection is momentarily broken when you rotate from position 1 over to position 2.

Q4. What is an Index Angle?
A4. An index angle is the number of degrees between each position. For example, our D4 series is 30 degrees between all 12 positions (for a total of 360 degrees).

Q5. Can you make Binary Coded switches?
A5. Yes, including some gray code switches as well.

Q6. Do you provide Knobs or Dial Plates?
A6. Yes, we offer a variety of knobs and dial plates which can customize the look of your panel. However, you must purchase them separately from your switch.

Q7. Are your switches Waterproof?
A7. We can waterproof some of our enclosed rotary and miniature switches. Our C4 series rotary and WT/WR series miniatures with actuator seals now meet the IP67 standards.

Q8. Can you change the "Feel" or Torque of the switch?
A8. Yes, we can adjust the spring in some switches to create a lighter or heavier feel.

Q9. When should you use Gold Plating?
A9. Gold plated contacts should be used when your product needs a longer shelf life. Also, if the switch will not be actuated for a long period of time after installation, we recommend the use of gold plating.

Q10. What is the difference in Open Frame and Closed Frame?
A10. The open frame switch is our wafer type switch. This construction is designed with spacers between sections, which makes the electrical components visible. The closed frame switch is our module type switch. This switch is completely closed with no spacing between the sections and the electrical components are not visible.

Q11. What is the difference between Current Capacity and Current And Voltage Rating?
A11. Current carrying capacity, measured in amps, is the maximum load that this switch will carry with the contacts in a closed position. Current and voltage rating is the tested amperage and voltage capacity when you switch the contacts between positions under load. When you switch between positions, an electrical arc occurs. Over a period of time, this arc causes contact wear. A switch with the contacts closed has no arc, and the carrying capacity is higher.

We hope this answers your questions and gives you a better basic understanding of the Electroswitch rotary product line.
E-mail us if you have questions not answered here or need more assistance.


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