A Brief Overview of Common Push Button Switches

A push button switch is a common switch type, allowing for a user to actuate a process upon depressing the button of an assembly. When a push button switch is activated, contacts will typically be held together so that electricity may flow. Such switch types are commonplace for many appliances and electronics found within homes and workplaces, and they may come in a large variety of types to accommodate different needs. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of some of the most common push button switch types, allowing you to find what is best for your particular requirements.

When the application only requires power for a minimal amount of time, a push to make button may be used. With such types, the user may press down on the actuator to connect the contacts, and they will break as soon as pressure is released. These types of switches are common for applications such as doorbells, keyboard keys, and calculator buttons where constant electrical connection is not needed for operations. Circuit board push button switches are somewhat similar in their operation, restricting the circulation of electricity until the push button is temporarily actuated.

Push to break switches are the opposite of a push to make switch, and they are considered normally closed (NC) types. Push to break switches are the most common variation, and they allow for the flow of electricity to be broken upon depressing the button. As soon as the button is released, however, current will continue to flow.

Dual push button switches are when two states are separated into two buttons. Typically, such assemblies will come in the form of an “on” and “off” button in which one establishes the electrical connection while the other breaks the contacts. To ensure that users can discern the difference between each, one is often a green cap push button switch while the off button will typically be a red cap push button switch. Such variations may also come in the form of an illuminated push button switch assembly, taking advantage of LEDs for indicating status.

2-Position push button switches are those that feature two set positions for the means of switching the device between an on and off state, and they are somewhat similar to the dual push button switch type. These types may have a push button switch guard made of plastic for their protection, and a key may be required for their actuation. In some cases, users may also take advantage of 3-position push button switches for select uses.

For industrial applications, industrial push buttons are most common. Such types consist of built-in units which contain the actuator, fixing collar, and contact block. Due to their use for industrial applications, such push button switches are specifically designed for simple installation for the means of easy maintenance. Generally, industrial push button switches may be used for controlling power for heavy machinery so that it can be stopped quickly for emergencies.

Beyond such examples, numerous other variations exist such as lens push button switch, locking push button switch, indicator push button switch, square push button switch, and push to make door switch assemblies. Before choosing a particular type, it is important to ensure that the voltage rating of the switch matches the intended application so that there are no issues for operations. When it comes time to begin sourcing the various push button switches that you need for your requirements, NSN Stocks is here to help.

NSN Stocks is a premier supplier of NSN parts, board level components, aviation parts, and other such items, and we are your sourcing solution for top quality push button switches. Whether you are in need of parts that are new, used, or obsolete, we offer competitive pricing and rapid lead-times on everything we carry. Peruse our expansive part catalogs at your leisure, and our team of industry experts is readily on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process with quotes for your comparisons. Begin the part procurement process today with the submission of a completed RFQ form and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.


September 21, 2022

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