Q: What is a rocker switch and what uses do they have in cars?

asked by on November 17, 2015

What is a rocker switch and what uses do they have in cars?

A rocker switch is a type of on / off electrical switch that rocks back and forth on a pivot point between positions when pressed. When the switch is pressed, one side of the switch is raised, while the other side is depressed, similar to the way in which a playground seesaw operates. Most rocker switches are designed to operate low amperage circuits, which make them ideal for control functions in the interior of a vehicle. Rocker switches are also commonly found in many consumer electronics and household appliances, used for their low cost and simple mode of operation.

A slightly more sophisticated type of rocker switch is a spring loaded rocker switch. Spring loaded rocker switches incorporate a spring into the switch which will return the switch to its original position when released. A common example of this type of switch is a power door lock switch; when pressed, the switch will recess to one side to lock or unlock the door locks, but will return to it’s original position when released. Same with a power window switch, which will pivot back and forth to raise or lower the window, but will always return to its default center position when released. Spring loaded rocker switches are useful because they do not require the user to deactivate or turn them off, as they return to the default center position automatically via the spring loaded mechanism.

Rocker switches can be found on virtually all modern vehicles in one form or another; both in their basic form, and when combined with a spring loaded mechanism, making them a very practical choice to control the electronics functions in the interior of a vehicle.

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