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Switch orientation

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Harry Davidson, Dec 7, 2003.

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  1. Can anyone point me to a reference giving the conventional orientation
    of on/off switches in different countries? I've spent hours searching
    and haven't found anything useful. Or maybe there's a simple rule such
    as "In North America, up is on - everywhere else is opposite".

    Thanks for any help.

  2. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    The simplest rule of anything at all is - "America opposite". :)

  3. Hmm. I think up/on is the global standard.
  4. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

  5. Down is on in Australia.
  6. jerry

    jerry Guest

    Down is on in the UK, Europe, Scandinavia, and when I was there, Russia,
    South Africa, Australia and NZ
  7. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    But if you've already fallen past a certain pivot point then flicking your
    hand upwards will be easier. Anyway, what's the point of turning off the
    light once you've even started falling? Power outlets generally have a
    slightly recessed switch to minimize to some extent the chance of accidental
    switching, so a last-gasp flick at the switch is unlikely to help whether
    it's up or down for off. I think it's a furphy - just historical in
    different locations.

  8. Fred Bloggs

    Fred Bloggs Guest

    Please conform to the USENET Rules of Trolling: you are either Harry
    Harrison of David Davidson, but not Harry Davidson or David Harrison-
    get it right. Then Sam Samuelson, William Williamson, Paul Paulson, Ed
    Edmundson, George Georgeson(?), Larry Lawrence, Richard Richardson, etc
    etc..will also do.
  9. Tim Auton

    Tim Auton Guest

    Yup, that's been my experience in and around the UK and continental

    I've seen enough that go the other way (or both ways - multiple light
    switches) for ergonomic reasons that I don't think there is a

    Aviation is pretty global - any pilots here know if there is a
    standard in aviation?

  10. Luhan Monat

    Luhan Monat Guest

    Sorry, I refuse to switch my orientation.
  11. Ken Taylor

    Ken Taylor Guest

    The one useful standard in aviation I know of is "don't come down


  12. Thanks to all who have responded so far.

    I understand that there's no single global standard for this - what
    I'm looking for is a listing by country of which is the normally
    preferred direction for "on" in each one. There will of course be
    exceptions, for situations like 3-way switches and probably others.

    The reason I'd like to know is that we export our products to many
    different countries and although it's not a big thing, it would be
    nice to conform to local preferences if I can. I've been assuming that
    anywhere outside North America prefers down as on, but that's probably
    a bit simplistic.

    Anyone else?


  13. Michael

    Michael Guest

    ..... and in Germany. For wall switches, anyway.
  14. Use a push-on, push-off switches, like a lot of test equipment. Then
    they will argue if in is on, or off. On the other hand, you could use a
    double throw switch and an internal jumper to configure the toggle or
    lever type switch to their preference.
    17 days!

    Michael A. Terrell
    Central Florida
  15. I read in that Harry Davidson
    Up-for-on also applies to 'offshore USA' - i.e. where US hardware is
    used. Everywhere else is down-for-on.
  16. No.
    It varies.
    Most of Europe, uses 'down on', for _non safety_ switches. So light switches
    are this way in Germany and the UK for instance. However 'safety switches'
    (breakers on lathes for instance), have to 'knock off', either having a push
    button that switches off, or a lever that is down/off.
    It will depend on the nature of the equipment. Personally, I'd consider
    something like a pushbutton 'signal' switch, as being the most universal
    (these are the ones where you have to push your finger right 'into' the
    switch to turn it on, which then 'stands out', and pushing the standing out
    part, switches it off).

    Best Wishes
  17. YD

    YD Guest

    I always use rotary switches.

    - YD.
  18. Clockwise-on or clockwise-off?
  19. YD

    YD Guest

    Most wall switches I've come across use up as on. Can't recall last
    time I saw an equipment swith with up as off. Why not contact your
    clients and take a consensus?

    - YD.
  20. YD

    YD Guest

    Nudge it either way to toggle. Nudging it too far or too fast ends up
    in blinken-lights. Those chain thingies on chandelieres are fun too.
    Used to tie the neighbour's cat by the tail to one of those. It
    struggled and screamed while putting on a nice light show.

    - YD.
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