are highly varied based on their intended utility. In electromechanicalsystems,
provide the function of making and breaking electrical contacts andconsequently electrical circuits. Switches responsive to fluid levels have utilized a variety of approaches for opening and closing an electrical circuit. Switches have found particular use inindustrial control systems, where it is often desirable to monitor conditions so that appropriateactions may be taken in response to the monitored conditions. A
is used to performautomatic electrical switching. An electromechanical relay is opened or closed by energizingan electromagnet to either attract or repel a metal contact on a movable strip of metal. A solidstate
has all its components made from solid state devices and involves no mechanicalmovement. They are compatible with digital circuitry and have a wide variety of uses withsuch circuits."
"A switch may be directly manipulated by a human as a control signal to a system, such as acomputer keyboard button, or to control power flow in a circuit, such as alight switch.Automatically-operated switches can be used to control the motions of machines, for example, to indicate that a garage door has reached its full open position or that a machinetool is in a position to accept another workpiece. Switches may be operated by processvariables such as pressure, temperature, flow, current, voltage, and force, acting assensorsina process and used to automatically control a system. For example, athermostatis anautomatically-operated switch used to control a heating process. A switch that is operated byanother electrical circuit is called arelay. Large switches may be remotely operated by amotor drive mechanism. Some switches are used to isolate electric power from a system, providing a visible point of isolation that can be pad-locked if necessary to prevent accidentaloperation of a machine during maintenance, or to prevent electric shock.
Switches are classified according to the arrangement of their contacts in electronics.Electriciansinstalling building wiring use different nomenclature, such as "one-way", "two-way", "three-way" and "four-way" switches, which have different meanings in NorthAmerican and British cultural regions as described in the table below.Some contacts are normally open (Abbreviated "n.o." or "no") until closed by operation of theswitch, while others are normally closed ("n.c. or "nc") and opened by the switch action.