Rotary switches are a broad subcategory of switch types that operate through a rotational action. They’re especially widespread components in devices and circuits that require a single switch to offer more than two positions or functions.
Our rotary switches and accessories include a huge selection of switch configurations, as well as numerous options for add-ons and spares, such as:
- Rotary switch dials, knobs, caps and collet knob dials
- Rotary switch shaft assemblies and spindles
- Rotary switch lock mechanisms, screens and spacers
- Rotary switch rotating open circuits
Leading brands we work with to source high quality, durable, excellent value rotary switches and component parts include Arcol, Knitter-Switch, Honeywell, NSF, Vishay, RS PRO, Hartmann, NKK Switches and TE Connectivity.
How are rotary switches typically used?
Rotary switches are common HMI (human-machine interface) components in numerous kinds of industrial equipment, as well as in a wide range of consumer appliances.
They’re sometimes preferred over other control input methods, such as touch-screens, in applications where software error could be problematic or hazardous. They’re also widely used on mechanical equipment featuring complex circuits where a single switch position needs to open/close various combinations of different contacts at once.
How do rotary switches work?
- Rotary switches turn around a spindle connected to a shaft assembly. This spindle, or rotor, is positioned such that it can make contact with any number of different attached electrical circuits as the rotary switch turns.
- In this way, rotary switches are capable of incorporating greater numbers of poles and throws than most other types of simple in-line switches
- Rotary switches are usually designed to be stepped, rather than completely smooth or linear in operation, to prevent stalling at intermediate stages between two or more connected circuits - although several such dial-based variants are also available.
- The most common assembly type for modern rotary switches involves a ‘star wheel’ mechanism to switch positions at set intervals (say, 30, 45, 60 or 90 degrees)
- Depending on the number of positions required, some rotary switches also employ a toothed washer below the holding nut, to limit or increase the number of available slots a given switch can click between