Overview of modern switches

Finally, having changed the apartment, I got rid of the invention of some domestic kulibin, with the tricky name “switch with a pull cord”. Probably everyone knows what it is. Remember: in order to turn on the light, you have to fumble along the wall for a long time, catch every now and then trying to slip out of the hands of the laced lace hanging from the ceiling, and then, finally grabbing it, pull it with all your might? If you’re lucky, the switch will work and the light will come on. But since the “trigger” gets loose over time, you have to pull it several times…

So, thank God, these torments are in the past. Now I just press the switch button. True, there are some inconveniences here. Firstly, from the previous owners I got the switches that are already quite “old”. Secondly, our builders, for some unknown reason, set the switches quite high. So I decided to do everything right. So that the switches in the house are in accordance with all the rules of modern electrical engineering. But first, let’s define what a correct modern switch is..

For reference:

  • Indicator light – a luminous “eye” on the switch key;
  • Control switch – a switch with an indicator light that shows whether the light is on or off;
  • Dimmer (dimmer) – combines the functions of a switch and a dimmer;
  • Installation box – a hollow box that is inserted and fixed in the wall. It houses the wires and the inside of the switch.
  • According to the method of fixing the wires, the switches are divided into switches with screw and screwless terminals.

    In the first case, the wire is clamped between the contact plates with a screw. This method of fastening is good for aluminum wires: during operation, they can heat up and gradually deform over time (as experts say, they begin to leak). Then the contact weakens, sparks, heats up. But you just need to tighten the screw – and everything is in order. Copper wires can be connected with a screwless clamp – a special terminal. Fast, simple and reliable.

    By the method of installation, the switches are divided into switches for hidden and exposed wiring

    For example, in country houses or in old Stalinist houses, the wires are usually fixed outside, on the wall – this is open wiring. There are special “overhead” switches for it. Now in city apartments, as a rule, wires are tucked into the walls. And in the place where the switches are installed, a small cavity is hammered. By the way, if earlier the switches were held only by the “legs” abutting against the wall, then recently there have appeared metal fastening plates with holes: an installation box is placed in the wall cavity, and the switch is already attached to it with screws.

    What are the switches? Most often, there are one- and two-key switches on sale, less often three-key switches. In Europe, for example, if more keys are needed, a group of one-key or two-key switches are combined with a common frame. The Americans and South Korean manufacturers do not limit themselves to three keys. They even make six-button switches, and on each key there is an indicator light. This also distinguishes their products from European switches, where indicator lamps are only in single-button versions..


    One-button switch, Two-button switch, Three-button switch, Dimmer with a total load of 300 W

    The possibilities of modern switches are not limited to turning on and off the light. Some of them have turned into switches. I will explain what it is with an example. One of my acquaintances has such a device in the country. Going down at night from the second floor to the first, he turns on the light upstairs with one switch, and turns off the downstairs with the other. Very comfortably. It is, of course, difficult for a layman to distinguish a switch from a switch in appearance. Therefore, almost all foreign manufacturers draw a connection diagram on the inside of the device..

    Wonderful thing – illuminated switches and control switches. True, with external similarity, they work according to different schemes. The already mentioned indicator light is installed on the illuminated switch. It will show you the location of the switch in a dark room or corridor: you don’t have to fumble with your hands in the dark, bumping into furniture and sharp corners. But a lit light on the control switch signals: the device (or light) is on. Such a switch can be installed, for example, at the entrance to the basement, in order to know whether the light is on there or not. The lamp does not light – it means that it is dark in the basement, and vice versa.

    The switches include dimmers, or dimmers. They not only turn on the light, but also allow you to adjust its brightness – from blinding radiance to subdued intimate lighting. To choose the right device, you need to know the total load that it can withstand. For example, the figure 300 W, marked on the dimmer, means that it can be used to change the brightness of a five-arm chandelier with 60 W bulbs. However, just in case, we advise you to purchase dimmers “with a margin”.

    Switches for bathrooms, saunas or outdoor installations, naturally differ from the usual ones. So that they can withstand high humidity, street dust and dirt, a plastic or rubber casing is placed between the decorative cover and the inside of the switch. At one company I was told that their employees set up an experiment: at home in the bathroom, they pour such a switch from the shower every time. And what? A whole year has passed and the switch is still working properly.

    What are anti-vandal switches? It turns out that there are such people today. In principle, they are intended for public buildings, they are usually made of impact-resistant plastic or metal. It is not an easy task to break or smash such a “strengthened version”.

    By the way, not only anti-vandal switches are made of metal, but also expensive, exclusive series. But the main body of the switches is made of plastic, and the inner part is made of non-conductive materials (special composite materials).

    What causes these devices to break down most often? First, due to poor contact between the wire and the contact plates: the switch begins to heat up, spark. At best, the plastic housing can melt; at worst, a fire can break out. Secondly, the “longevity” of the switch largely depends on the mechanical strength of the plastic and ceramics. For example, a switch can be accidentally hit or hit. Brittle plastic will not be scratched, but may crack. More plastic will withstand the impact, but will get scratched over time. And bad ceramics, it happens, cracks almost immediately, even during installation.

    How do you choose a good switch? Here are some simple tips.

    Inspect the selected switch carefully. On the inside, the current and voltage values ​​for which it is designed, as well as the quality standard icon of the country where it was produced, must be indicated. On domestic switches or on imported packaging, there should be a sign of our Rostest – this is a kind of state guarantee against possible troubles.

    The difference between a “hot” cheap switch and a quality product with clear lines and a smooth surface, in principle, is easy to see. If you want to be 100 percent sure of the quality of your purchase, buy switches from reputable companies. By the way, large manufacturers have a huge selection of models, series and colors of switches, and every year something new appears..

    P.S. As a result of my “marketing research”, I came to the conclusion that the switch control system, which is carried out from a remote control (very similar to a television remote control), is probably suitable for me. Of course, this pleasure is not cheap, but comfort is more expensive.

    Katya Tets

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