An Overview of C&K’s Snap Action Switches for High-Precision and Detection Applications

2 months ago by Sam Holland

C&K has recently launched their LCW series of compact, sealed, snap-acting switches for high-accuracy and detection applications.

These robust and cost-effective switches, named LCW012T00SDC, save space when mounted on PCBs and feature a contact rating up to 0.1A. Besides having a compact design, the switches come with a variety of terminal options and actuator styles.

 

Features

A contact rating up to 0.1 amp implies that the switches deliver highly repeatable action and are fit for signaling. In addition, these new generation switches have an electrical life of 10,000 cycles. This means that they are highly reliable and can support applications with extended lifespans.

The switches are rated IP67—namely they are dust-tight and can be dropped into a water body up to one metre in depth for up to 30 minutes—and are certified by UL61058-1 as fully RoHS-compliant (i.e. not hazardous to the environment).

Their operating temperature falls between −40°C to 120°C, making it possible for these switches to be used in harsh environmental conditions. Better yet, the switches have an unlimited moisture sensitivity level (MSL 1), and this means that they can be exposed to moisture for an indefinite period of time.

Other specifications can be found on the C&K website.

 

Diagram that shows the dimensions of C&K's LCW series subminiature sealed switches. Image courtesy of Mouser.

 

The actuator button, switch cover, and switch housing are manufactured using polybutylene terephthalate (PBT), which is one of the toughest and most versatile engineering thermoplastics available: it’s strong, lightweight, and comes with excellent electrical properties that make it a favorable insulator in the electrical and electronics industries.

The material is also resistant to hydrocarbon oils and has strong dimensional stability besides having high dielectric strength and great insulation resistance.

The terminals are made of brass while the stationary contacts and the movable contacts are made of AgNi10 and copper respectively.

 

What Sets Them Apart

Their compact size means they can save space on the PCB while the variety of actuator configurations (lever, simulated lever, short lever, pin plunger), making them adaptable.

A key advantage, as highlighted by C&K, is that these switches have a snap mechanism for detecting vandalism. This means that whenever there is an attempt to tamper with the energy meter, a signal will be sent to alert the owner about the attack. This snap mechanism makes these switches ideal for metering in hard-to-reach locations.

According to C&K’s global product manager, Jeffrey Phan, the sealed snap-acting switches offer great value for money because C&K has not only made them affordable, but has also ensured they meet all the necessary quality standards. Therefore, customers are guaranteed to receive quality switches at affordable prices compared to other alternatives in the market.

 

C&K Switches' LCW series sealed switch. Image courtesy of Mouser.

 

Applications

The switches deliver highly repeatable action—owing to a ≤ 0.1 A contact rating—that makes them perfect for high-accuracy detection applications like pressure and temperature switching in thermostatic controls, air conditioners, sump pumps, and motorised equipment.

The RoHS compliance, IP67 rating, and the −40ºC to 120ºC operating temperature make the switch even more usable in harsh environmental conditions like near an industrial oven or a water body where it can be subjected to dust, high temperatures, and moisture.

Their tolerance for harsh conditions makes them suitable for use in the industrial market, and the fact that C&K offers a variety of terminal options and actuator interfaces makes these switches scalable. Therefore, a user can mix and match different characteristics to meet the requirements for a given application.

An electric lifespan of 10,000 cycles makes these switches reliable and capable of running for an extended amount of time before experiencing mechanical failures.

Add this advantage to their physical size, agency approval (certified to UL 61058-1), and their capability to work in sub-zero temperatures, and you have yourself a robust switch that can have numerous applications in computers, smart energy metering, and switchgear.

In smart energy metering, for example, the LCW series switches can be used as tamper-proof switches. Any little external force and/or pressure that is applied to the actuator—and caused by a human or physical object—will trigger the switch to open or close an electric circuit at high speed. This will then send a signal that tampering is ongoing.

One advantage with using the LCW series switches is that even though the switch may not be actuated for a long time, it will still send a signal whenever your meter is vandalised in any form.

 

Closing Thoughts

C&K is a trendsetter in high-quality electromechanical switches, and their latest addition is a testament to their commitment to producing high-quality products.

Among the other alternatives available in the market, the LCW series are worthy contenders owing to their affordability, compact size, range of terminal configurations, and their tolerance to harsh environmental conditions.

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