Toggle switches are mechanical devices that play a crucial role in making or breaking electrical connections within a circuit. They achieve this by utilizing an actuator that can be manually moved or toggled between different positions, thereby closing or opening electrical contacts.
The defining characteristic of toggle switches lies in their number of poles and throws. The term "pole" refers to the number of separate circuits that the switch has control over. For instance, a single-pole, single-throw (SPST) switch is responsible for controlling just one circuit. In simpler terms, it functions as an on/off switch, connecting or disconnecting two terminals with a single throw.
Toggle switches can also have changeover contacts, which are commonly referred to as double throw (DT). These switches have the ability to control two separate circuits. When toggled, the electrical contacts are moved from one position to another, effectively changing the connection from one circuit to another.
In summary, toggle switches are mechanical devices that manipulate electrical connections in a circuit. Their functionality is based on manually moving an actuator or toggle between different positions. The number of poles and throws defines the type of toggle switch, indicating the number of circuits it controls. Single-pole, single-throw switches handle one circuit, while double-throw switches enable the switching between two separate circuits.