Pressure Switches: What They Are and How They Work

Pressure switches are common components that are often found in fluid systems, managing the operation of pumps. When certain predetermined pressure thresholds are met, the pressure switch is capable of activating and deactivating pumps as necessary. Additionally, such devices may also serve process control systems, allowing for steady pneumatic or mechanical pressure to be held. To find the best solution for your particular needs, it is best to have a basic understanding of the functionality of pressure switches, the various types that exist, and their common applications.

As an electromechanical device, a pressure switch is used to switch an electrical circuit on or off when triggered by pressure. The point at which pressure causes the switch to actuate is known as the set point, while the point at which the switch turns off is known as the cut-out point. Though pressure switches may slightly vary in design depending on their application, there are a few common components that are integral to their basic functionality.

The diaphragm of the pressure switch is the element that provides for pressure detection. Generally, this component is constructed with a pressure sensitive material that is pliable. With an adjustment spring, the set or cut-out points can be established. In some instances, a switch may have two separate springs for the set and cut-out points. With an AUTO/OFF lever, the pressure switch may be manually turned off as needed, typically being used during installation or maintenance procedures. For some switch components, a knob may be used in lieu of a lever, providing the same functionality. In order for the switch to transfer the current that it is managing, electrical contacts will connect together during operation. Lastly, terminals ensure that the contacts can establish connection to an external power source.

Depending on the application and its needs, the two main types of pressure switches that one may use include those that are normally open (NO) and normally closed (NC). The difference between each is how the contacts sit in the switch during their resting state. With an NO switch, as an example, contacts stay open until a certain pressure threshold causes them to close up. With NC switches, on the other hand, contacts will stay closed until a specific set point is reached. As compared to an NO switch, an NC switch can have a set point or cut-out points.

With their common features and capabilities, there are numerous applications that benefit such components. Within compressed air systems, pressure switches manage the activation of the compressor. Within HVAC equipment, pressure switches are typically implemented for safety, ensuring that furnaces switch off when negative pressure is detected. Additionally, pressure switches can also detect leaks. For processing equipment, pressure switches are optimal for managing a steady rate of flow. Lastly, pressure switches are also widely found in pumping systems, maintaining water levels in reservoirs by effectively managing the operations of pumps. In such applications, NO contacts may be used.

Whether you require a cup pressure switch, NO pressure switch, NC pressure switch, or other similar devices, look no further than Fulfillment by ASAP. As a premier supplier of aviation, NSN, and electronic parts, we are your sourcing-solution. With our market expertise and purchasing power, we leverage time and cost savings for our customers. Additionally, we go to great lengths to guarantee the quality and caliber of our offerings, operating with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. Take the time to explore our offerings as you see fit, and our team is always on standby 24/7x365 to assist you through the purchasing process however necessary. See why customers steadily depend on Fulfillment by ASAP for all their operations when you request an RFQ today.


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