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DC rated rocker switches?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Glenn Ashmore, Feb 12, 2004.

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  1. I think I know the answer to this but I would like some other opinions:

    I am trying to select some sealed DC rated miniature rocker switches to
    be used as manual overrides for a remote digital DC lighting system.
    Real estate on a boat electrical panel is limited so the circuit is SMT
    and designed to be very small. Size of the switches is important. DC
    switching is harder on the contacts than AC because of arcing but these
    switches will be used only to operate navigation lights should the
    digital system fail so they will cycle much less than 30-40 times a
    year. Maximum load on any circuit will be about 4 amps with a maximum
    inrush load of possibly 8 amps.

    It seems that only one in ten miniature rockers is DC rated and those
    that are are 3 to 4 times as expensive. Almost all DC rated rockers are
    "standard" size. Evidently to give the contacts more thermal mass.

    In the course of my search I was surprised to find that the rockers on
    Cessna, Beachcraft and many other light aircraft are not DC rated. The
    reasoning being that a typical landing light switch might be operated at
    most 2-3,000 times over 10 years so derating a 25,000 cycle AC rated
    switch by 90% is acceptable to the FAA.

    So, unless someone comes up with a good reason not to, I am going to use
    [email protected] switches.

    Glenn Ashmore

    I'm building a 45' cutter in strip/composite. Watch my progress (or lack
    there of) at:
    Shameless Commercial Division:
  2. Have you looked at automotive parts? They may not be
    labeled as waterproof, but I've never seen one with water in
    it (ask me about the rare, but enthusiastic thunderstorms
    and the time my driver's-side window gasket failed).

    If panel space is that tight, how about an add-on panel
    with the "right" parts??

    Mark L. Fergerson
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