What Is a Micro Switch?

What Is a Micro Switch?

Have you ever wondered what a micro switch is and how it works? In digital circuits, while they may be small in size, these switches are critically important components that have the ability to influence an entire circuitry’s performance. Whether powering up applications or controlling power supply voltage, micro switches provide reliable support as one of the most ubiquitous triggers built into electrical systems. Let’s take a closer look at what exactly a micro switch is and why it has become such an essential feature for so many critical projects.

What is a Micro Switch?

A micro switch is a type of switch that has a smaller size, making it ideal for applications where space is limited.

It can be used to activate or deactivate electrical circuits and create different types of outputs. Depending on the model, they may be available with mechanical, vacuum, magnetic or optical sensing elements to trigger the switching action. In some cases, multiple contact points are also available for additional flexibility in their use.

They are typically constructed from plastic or metal materials such as copper and brass and have an IP rating that indicates its degree of protection against dust and water ingress. These types of switches can come in various shapes including miniature toggle switches, push buttons, rocker switches and more.

Micro switches are popularly used in consumer electronics such as appliances, mobile phones, gaming consoles and other devices. They are also commonly used in industrial applications, robotics, medical equipment and automotive systems to control various processes.

What is a Micro Switch?

In conclusion, a micro switch is a small switch that can be used for various applications. It is designed to provide reliable operation while occupying less space than conventional switches. Its form factor makes it ideal for use in consumer electronics, industrial settings, robotics and more. Additionally, they come with different sensing elements and configurations which make them highly configurable depending on the needs of the application. This versatility has made Micro Switches an indispensable part of many modern systems today. [1]

Micro Switch Construction

Micro switches can be constructed in a variety of ways, but most are built with a contact surface and an actuator. The contact surface is typically made up of two rigid metal pieces that form an electrical circuit when they come into contact with each other. The actuator is the piece that’s moved by some external force to bring the contacts together or apart. This could be anything from a lever being pushed down to a button being pressed. It’s important to remember that micro switches don’t require much force in order to operate, so they’re often used when precise control is needed in tight spaces.

Due to their low power requirements, micro switches are also popular for applications where battery power needs to be conserved. In addition, they’re typically constructed with either plastic or metal housings that protect the electrical components from dust, dirt, and other environmental factors. This makes them a great choice for use in harsh environments as well.

In short, micro switches provide quick, reliable switching action and require very little force to operate. They’re also relatively inexpensive which makes them popular for applications where cost is a factor. Finally, their sturdy construction helps ensure that they can be used in tough conditions without any issues. As such, they are often the go-to option when it comes to controlling low power circuits in tight spaces. [2]

Micro Switch Construction

How does a Micro Switch Work?

A micro switch works by using a mechanical actuator to open or close an electrical circuit. The actuator is typically a plunger, lever, roller or other device which physically moves when the switch is operated. When the actuator is in the “off” position, it will keep the circuit open; when pushed into the “on” position, it will close the circuit and allow electricity to flow. Many micro switches have adjustable contact points to customize their response according to specific needs. They are usually small in size and require minimal force to activate them.

These features make them ideal for use in applications such as automotive controls, appliances, computer accessories and commercial machinery control systems. Their accuracy also makes them well-suited for precision instrumentation and control systems, measuring instruments and medical equipment. Because they are highly reliable, durable and very cost-effective, micro switches are the preferred choice for many applications.

Micro switches offer a wide range of benefits including low power consumption, long lifetimes, consistent performance and easy installation. Additionally, their low contact resistance helps reduce wear on contacts over time, making them more reliable in the long run. With so many advantages to consider, there is no doubt that micro switches continue to play an important role in modern technology.

Features of Micro Switches

Micro switches, also known as snap-action switches, are devices that use an electromechanical design to quickly switch between electrical circuits. They are small and have a few features that make them highly reliable components for automation applications.

Some of the key features of micro switches include:

  • High precision: Micro switches offer high precision due to their precise operating force. This ensures a secure connection and helps minimize power loss or potential damage caused by faulty connections.
  • Low contact resistance: Micro switches feature low contact resistance which helps keep electrical signals within acceptable limits. This reduces power consumption and helps maintain stable operation even in harsh environments.
  • Long mechanical life: The long lifetime of micro switches often surpasses 10 million cycles, making them durable and reliable components for long-term application.
  • Quick response times: Micro switches are designed to respond quickly when their contact points are disturbed. This fast response time makes them ideal for applications that require rapid switching or resetting of electrical circuits.
  • High shock and vibration resistance: Micro switches feature high shock and vibration resistance in order to ensure stable operation even in tough environments. This helps reduce the risk of unexpected power losses or malfunctions due to sudden shocks from outside sources.

These features make micro switches a reliable choice for automation systems where precision and reliability are key requirements. They can be used in a variety of applications, from consumer electronics to industrial control systems, as well as medical instruments and home appliances. With their small size and reliable performance, micro switches are a great option for many automation solutions. [3]

Features of Micro Switches

Micro Switch Circuitry

Micro switches are typically composed of two sets of electrical contacts, an actuator mechanism, and a housing. The electrical contacts inside the switch allow electricity to flow through the circuit when the switch is engaged. However, when the actuator is moved away from its original position, the circuit is opened and no electricity can pass through it. This simple principle lies at the heart of all microswitch circuitry.

The most basic application for micro switches involves connecting them in series along with other components such as resistors or transistors to create a complete circuit. By doing this, devices can be automatically switched on or off depending on whether certain conditions are met — for example, if a door is opened or closed. Other more complex applications include using micro switches to control motors and actuators, allowing them to be precisely manipulated with the flick of a switch.

Overall, due to their small size and low cost, micro switches are an invaluable addition to almost any circuit design. Whether you’re creating a simple device or something more complicated, having one or more micro switches on board can save you time and money in the long run.

Micro Switch Vs. Limit Switch

In comparison to a micro switch, limit switches are larger and more robust. Limit switches also have mechanical components which includes a plunger, roller lever, spring lever or whisker that actuates the switch contact when it comes into contact with an object or surface.

Limit switches tend to be used in industrial applications such as controlling machines and motors. They can also be used in safety systems where precise accuracy is not required but endurance and reliability are important due to the heavy load involved in these applications.

On the other hand, micro switches are more precise than limit switches and have no moving parts except for an actuator button. This makes them ideal for applications requiring precise positioning as they can detect movement as small as 0.005 inches. Micro switches are widely used in consumer electronics such as PCs, phones and home appliances, as well as medical instruments and equipment.

In conclusion, micro switches and limit switches both have their own unique advantages for different types of applications. Depending on the need of the application, one type may be more suitable than the other. It is important to consider all factors before determining which switch type is best suited for the job. [4]

Micro Switch Vs. Limit Switch

Micro Switch Types

Micro switches are classified according to their actuation type, contact form, and travel characteristic. Each one is specifically engineered for a particular application.

Actuation types include lever, plunger, roller-lever, toggle or rocker arm, keylock, snap action with auxiliary contacts, stay put/push button models and hall effect devices.

Contact forms are either normally open (NO) or normally closed (NC) and can be single pole double throw (SPDT), single pole single throw (SPST), double pole double throw (DPDT), and double pole single throw (DPST).

Travel characteristics highlight the motion of the actuator when it makes contact. They are usually defined by the length of travel and the force required to actuate.

Micro switches are essential components in a variety of industrial and consumer applications, including vending machines, coffee makers, office equipment like printers and copiers, automobiles for airbag deployment or locking systems, and home appliances like washing machines and microwave ovens.

They are also used in safety-critical applications such as elevators and escalators. For these reasons, micro switches must be constructed from durable materials that can withstand long-term use in harsh environments. Common materials include stainless steel housing and plastic housings with silver alloy contacts.

Benefits of Using Micro Switches

Micro switches offer several advantages when used as an electrical switching device. For starters, they are incredibly reliable and long lasting due to their simple design and robust materials used in construction. With minimal wear over time, a micro switch can provide consistent performance for many years making them ideal for applications where dependability is paramount.

Additionally, they are very cost-effective compared to other types of switches, providing excellent value for money. Micro switches also tend to be highly versatile, with a range of sizes available that allow them to fit into tight spaces or be integrated into larger systems – making them suitable for virtually any application imaginable!

Benefits of Using Micro Switches

Finally, micro switches can easily be customized with various actuators and contact configurations allowing engineers to tailor the switch’s operation to suit their needs. This flexibility makes micro switches an ideal choice for a wide variety of applications from simple industrial settings to complex automated systems.

In short, the combination of affordability, durability, and versatility make micro switches a popular choice among engineers and technicians alike. Whether you need reliable performance or customizability, micro switches are sure to provide the right solution! [5]

Disadvantages of Using Micro Switches

Although micro switches are small, inexpensive and offer reliable operation, there are several disadvantages that should be considered when selecting the switch for a project.

One disadvantage is that these switches do not withstand high temperatures or rough handling well. The actuators on some models may become loose over time due to repeated use, which can reduce the reliability of the switch and cause erratic performance. Additionally, dust and other contaminants can interfere with the proper functioning of these switches.

In addition to their mechanical limitations, micro switches have relatively low current ratings compared to larger switches. Generally speaking they cannot handle more than 1 amp at a time without burn-out or malfunctions occurring. This makes them ill-suited for applications involving higher power requirements.

Finally, due to their small size and lightweight, micro switches are not well-suited for applications that involve heavy loads or require higher precision than the switch can provide. They may be susceptible to shock, vibration or other environmental factors that could lead to inaccurate performance.

Where Is a Micro Switch Used?

A micro switch is a versatile and reliable device that can be used in a variety of applications. Commonly, it is used to detect the presence or absence of an object, for example as part of a security system.

It can also be used to control the speed or direction of motors and other machinery. In addition, it is often employed as an intermediate relay in complex systems where its small size makes it convenient and cost-effective. Micro switches are even found inside some video game controllers, controlling things like button presses and joystick tilt angles.

Finally, they are widely used in industrial automation systems such as robotics, 3D printers and automated assembly lines. As you can see, there are plenty of potential uses for this tiny but powerful component! [6]

Where Is a Micro Switch Used?

Applications for Micro Switches

Micro switches are found in a variety of applications, ranging from everyday household items to industrial machines and medical equipment. Micro switches are commonly used in appliances, such as washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. They can also be found in automotive systems, helping control the acceleration rate or brake pressure of vehicles. In addition to these uses, micro switches are deployed in safety circuits on heavy machinery like forklifts and cranes, providing protection for operators by monitoring operations.

Many medical devices include micro switches that help monitor vital signs and provide an emergency shut-off switch for potentially dangerous situations.

Finally, micro switches are used extensively in computers and other electronic devices for power control and input/output actions. The small size and low cost of micro switches make them ideal for these applications.

Overall, micro switches are a versatile and durable component in the world of electronics, appearing in a diverse range of products and devices. They provide reliable switching action at an affordable price point, making them a go-to choice for many applications.

How to Select the Micro Switch?

When selecting a micro switch, there are several factors to consider.

Firstly, the type of application should be identified in order to select the correct switching force and operating temperature range.

Secondly, physical size should be taken into consideration as some applications require very small switches with a miniature footprint.

Thirdly, the electrical specifications must match the requirements of the application – such as voltage, current ratings, insulation breakdown values etc.

Fourthly, different types of actuators can be selected for different operational characteristics; for example a push-button or roller lever actuator may provide momentary contact operation while a toggle lever actuator may provide latching contacts.

Finally, certain features such as dust covers or protective boots may be necessary depending on environmental requirements. By considering all these factors, it is possible to select the most suitable micro switch for an application.

How to Select the Micro Switch?

Furthermore, the quality of a micro switch should also be taken into account when selecting one. A good quality product will offer reliable performance with a long life and will be resistant to vibration or shock. It should also provide accurate operation without any unexpected switching operations due to incorrect contact alignment.

By taking all these factors into consideration, a suitable and reliable micro switch can be selected that meets the requirements of an application.

Maintenance of Micro Switches

Maintenance is an important aspect of its long-term reliability. Proper maintenance is essential to keep it functioning optimally, as well as extending its lifespan. Maintenance tasks should be performed regularly and include cleaning the contacts, adjusting or replacing the actuator and checking for any signs of wear or damage.

Additionally, keeping a check on the environment in which the switch operates can help reduce dirt build-up or other potential issues that can arise over time. Lastly, periodic testing should be done to ensure the switch continues to function properly and consistently to avoid unnecessary downtime due to malfunctioning switches.

Following these simple steps will help maintain your micro switches and extend their life so you get maximum value from your investment. [7]


What is a micro switch used for?

A micro switch is used in a variety of applications, such as controlling the flow of electricity in an appliance or system, providing feedback when a button is pressed, or detecting the presence or absence of an object. In automotive and industrial settings, they are used to activate safety features and perform routine maintenance tasks. The small size of the micro switch makes it ideal for use in tight spaces where other switches won’t fit. Additionally, micro switches can be set up with adjustable activation pressures, allowing them to function over a range of conditions.

How does a micro switch work?

A typical micro switch consists of two metal contacts enclosed within a hard plastic case. When pressure is applied to the outside of the case, one contact slides across the other, completing a circuit and triggering an electrical signal. This signal can be used to activate a device or alert a user that the switch has been activated.

What are some advantages of using micro switches?

Micro switches offer many advantages over larger, more complex switches. They require very little space, making them ideal for use in tight enclosures. The construction of micro switches is also relatively simple, meaning they are inexpensive compared to other types of switches. Additionally, their small size makes them much easier to install than larger switches. Finally, due to their adjustable activation pressures and robust construction, these devices require minimal maintenance and can stand up to tough conditions for extended periods of time.

Are there any drawbacks associated with using micro switches?

The main drawback associated with micro switches is their limited current handling capabilities. Since they are designed to control relatively simple circuits, they aren’t able to handle large amounts of electricity or power. Additionally, smaller micro switches may not be suitable for use in high-temperature environments due to the potential for contact erosion or thermal runaway. Finally, some applications may require larger switch contacts than what can be found on a typical micro switch.

Are there any safety considerations when using a micro switch?

Yes – it is important to ensure that all wiring and connections meet national and local safety regulations before attempting to install a micro switch. Furthermore, since these devices are used in close proximity to electrical components, it is important to wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, goggles and clothing when handling micro switches. Additionally, using the wrong type of switch for a given application can lead to serious safety issues, so it is important to consult a professional if you are unsure about which type of switch to use.

Useful Video: Micro Switch Working. Micro Switch connection .snap Action Micro limit switch working Animation.


A micro switch is a type of electrical switch that is designed to be operated with very little force and with minimal movement. Its small size makes it ideal for use in high-density applications, as well as those where space is limited. It can also be used to provide feedback or control signals in an automated system. Micro switches are reliable, durable and cost-effective. They offer a wide range of uses and make an excellent choice for many applications. With their versatility and long lifespan, micro switches are one of the most popular components used in the field of electronics today.


  1. https://www.herga.com/news-media/news-archive/what-is-a-micro-switch-
  2. https://www.circuitspecialists.com/blog/what-are-micro-switches-and-what-makes-them-so-great/
  3. https://www.elprocus.com/micro-switch/
  4. https://chintglobal.com/blog/micro-switch-advantages/
  5. https://www.electricalterminology.com/micro-switch/
  6. https://www.engineersgarage.com/insight-how-micro-switch-works/
  7. https://www.avnet.com/wps/portal/abacus/resources/article/understanding-micro-switches-and-hysteresis/