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What does momentary mean on a switch?

Views: 0     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-12-14      Origin: Site

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A common question asked by new student of electronics is what is a momentary switch?


The short answer is that a momentary switch is a unit capable of turning any electronic device to either an on or off state when an end-user presses the switch.

This type of switch can actually represent one of two types with the alternative being the traditional on or off switch.

They can be found in all manner of electronic devices and usually take the form of a button to help initiate the state change in a device.

The two types of momentary switch commonly used throughout industry are push-to-break and push-to-make types.


What is a Momentary Switch?

A momentary switch is a switch requiring continuous compression to remain engaged.When wired normally open it does not make contact unless compressed making the connected device switch on, once the compression is removed, the contact will be broken and the device will switch off. When wired normally closed, the switch will always be making contact, the device it is connected to will always be on until the switch is compressed, breaking the circuit until the pressure is removed.




How Does a Momentary Switch Work?


Momentary switches are designed to act in the manner of a regular switch in order to help connect two metal contacts with the goal of completing an electrical circuit.

The primary way that they differ from a traditional switch; however, is that the momentary switch normally requires a button to be pressed to change the state of the switch vice the flicking action required of a traditional light or equivalent switch.

When the “push-to-make” type of momentary switch is pressed, it will connect the metal contacts of the switch when pressed.

When the button is released, the contacts will be released. A push-to-break momentary switch has to be pressed; however, to disconnect the connected electrical circuit and released to then reconnect it.


Momentary switches are for occasions where you want to change a circuit only while you are interacting with it. Doorbells fit this model; so do push-to-test buttons. For more permanent long-term changes, a momentary switch would be inappropriate--for example, when you turn the radio or TV on, you want it to stay on until you decide otherwise.

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