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Relay Basics

Relay Basics

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Published by Sakshi Tyagi
basic concept of relay circuits
basic concept of relay circuits

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Published by: Sakshi Tyagi on Oct 06, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Relay Basics:A relay is used to isolate one electrical circuit from another. It allows alowcurrentcontrol circuit to make or break an
electrically isolated 
 high currentcircuitpath. One example where a relay is useful in car audio is in the power antenna orremote output of a head unit. We already said that the average remote lead canonly handle about one half of an amp of current. If a circuit with a large amount of current must be controlled by the remote output lead of a head unit, a relay couldbe used to buffer the remote output from the head unit. The basic relay consists of a coil and a set of contacts. The most common relay coil is a length of magnet wirewrapped around a metal core. When voltage is applied to the coil, current passesthrough the wire and creates a magnetic field. This magnetic field pulls thecontacts together and holds them there until the current flow in the coil hasstopped. The diagram below shows the parts of a simple relay.Relay Demo:Drag your mouse over the picture below. You'll see how the relay closes to allowcurrent to flow through the bottom lamp when the coil is connected to the powersource. You can see how current flows through either set of contacts depending onthe position of the movable contact. If you have a slow connection, you may haveto hold your mouse over the image until it loads completely. Since this page has aLOT of graphics, this will work best if you let the page load completely before usingthis demo. Clicking on the picture will bring the image to the top of the frame.
 The table below shows just a
of the available relay configurations.
 This is aSinglePoleSingleThrow relay. Current will only flow through the contacts when the relay coil is energized.This is aSinglePoleDoubleThrow relay. Current will flow between the movable contact and one fixed contact when the coil is DEenergized and between themovable contact and the alternate fixed contact when the relay coil is energized.The most commonly used relay in car audio, the Bosch relay, is a SPDT relay.This is aDoublePoleSingleThrow relay. When the relay coil is energized, two separate and electrically isolated sets of contacts are pulled down to makecontact with their stationary counterparts. There is no complete circuit pathwhen the relay is DEenergized.
This relay is aDoublePoleDoubleThrow relay. It operates like the SPDT relay but has twice as many contacts. There are two completely isolated sets of contacts.Yep! You guessed it. This is a4 PoleDoubleThrow relay. It operates like the SPDT relay but it has 4 sets of isolated contacts.
lay Specifications:There are two specifications that you must consider when selecting a relay for use in aautomobile, the coil voltage and the current carrying capability of contacts. The coilvoltage for relays used in automobiles is ~12 volts. This means that if you apply 12 volto the coil, it will pull in and stay there until the applied voltage is removed from thecoil. The current rating on relay contacts tells how much current can be passed througthe contacts without damage to the contacts. Some relays have different current ratinfor the NC contacts (which are held together by spring tension) and the NO contacts(which are held together by the electromagnet). If you need to pass significant currenthrough the NC contacts, you may want to check the manufacturers specifications forthe relay.

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