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Mechanical RF Switches: All Feature Categories

Mechanical RF switch is an important type of RF switches that are widely used in various RF systems and devices. With the continuous development of RF technology and the expansion of application areas, the demand for mechanical RF switches is also increasing. Therefore, it is crucial to have a deep understanding of their types and characteristics in order to comprehend the development trends in the RF field. This article introduces the feature classification of mechanical switches to assist you in finding the appropriate RF switch for your applications.

What is a Mechanical RF Switch

A Mechanical RF Switch, also known as an Electromechanical switch or RF Relay, is a device that controls RF signals through mechanical operation. This type of switch typically utilizes a mechanical structure to enable the connection or disconnection of RF signals through physical contact. Mechanical RF switches find wide applications in wireless communication systems, RF testing equipment, antenna systems, and other fields.

Characteristics of Mechanical Switches

The encoding of a mechanical switch represents its specific characteristics. Each product code represents a unique type of RF coaxial switch. In the following sections, we will provide a detailed introduction based on different features.

Number of channels

  • DPDT: Double-Pole Double-Throw. It has two switches, each with two output ports, allowing switching between two different circuits.
DPDT RF Switch
DPDT RF Switch
  • SPDT: Single-Pole Double-Throw. It has one switch and two output ports, allowing switching between two different circuits.
spdt coaxial Switch
spdt coaxial Switch
  • SP3T: Single-Pole Three-Throw. It has one switch and three output ports, allowing switching between three different circuits.
  • SP4T: Single-Pole Four-Throw. It has one switch and four output ports, allowing switching between four different circuits.
sp3-6t coaxial Switch
sp3-6t coaxial Switch
  • SP6T: Single-Pole Six-Throw. It has one switch and six output ports, allowing switching between six different circuits.
  • SP8T: Single-Pole Eight-Throw. It has one switch and eight output ports, allowing switching between eight different circuits.
  • SP10T: Single-Pole Ten-Throw. It has one switch and ten output ports, allowing switching between ten different circuits.
  • SP12T: Single-Pole Twelve-Throw. It has one switch and twelve output ports, allowing switching between twelve different circuits.

Interface Type

When selecting an electromechanical switch, it is important to choose the appropriate connector type based on specific application requirements and device interfaces to ensure signal transmission quality and stability.

  • N female: The N-type connector is a commonly used threaded connector for RF applications, known for its good performance and durability. N female refers to the connector on the receiver side, typically used to connect antennas or RF devices.
  • SMA: SMA (SubMiniature version A) is a common small-sized RF connector with a threaded connection and compact size. It is widely used in RF communication, testing equipment, and antenna systems.
  • 2.92mm: 2.92mm (also known as K-type) is a precision RF connector with a high frequency range and low insertion loss. It is commonly used in high-frequency RF systems and microwave measurement applications.
  • 2.4mm: The 2.4mm connector is a precision connector used in high-frequency RF applications, offering a wide frequency range and low insertion loss. It is suitable for high-speed data transmission and microwave measurement applications.
  • 1.85mm: The 1.85mm connector is a precision connector used in high-frequency RF applications, known for its high performance and compact size. It is commonly used in microwave measurements, communication systems, and satellite communication fields.

Frequency Range

  • DC-3GHz
  • DC-12.4GHz
  • DC-18GHz
  • DC-20GHz
  • DC-26.5GHz
  • DC-40GHz
  • DC-50GHz

Operating Mode

  • Normally Open: A normally open switch is in the open state under normal conditions and only closes when an external force or activating signal is applied. Once the external force or activating signal is removed, the switch automatically returns to the open state.
  • Latching: A latching switch maintains its state, either closed or open, without the need for continuous external force or activating signal. It typically uses magnetic or mechanical locking mechanisms to keep the switch in its state until an opposing force or signal is applied to unlock it.
  • Failsafe: A failsafe switch automatically switches to a safe state in the event of a failure or power interruption. It can be either normally open or normally closed, depending on the design and application requirements. In applications requiring system or equipment protection to prevent accidental operations or damage during failures, failsafe switches are frequently employed. These switches are designed to guarantee that any potential failures do not result in unintended actions or harm.

Operating Voltage

When selecting an electromechanical switch, it is important to choose the appropriate voltage level based on the actual operating voltage requirements and equipment specifications. This ensures that the chosen switch can accommodate the required operating voltage range, ensuring proper circuit operation and device performance.

  • 12V: Commonly used in low-voltage applications such as automobiles, electronic devices, and low-power circuits.
  • 24V: Typically used in industrial equipment, automation systems, and control circuits.
  • 28V: Commonly used in high-voltage applications such as aerospace, military, and communication equipment.

Drive Mode

  • TTL (Transistor-Transistor Logic): This driving method uses TTL logic levels to control the operation of the electromechanical switch. TTL is a commonly used digital logic level standard, suitable for many electronic devices and systems.
  • Self cutoff only (applicable for latching switches only): This driving method uses the switch’s own mechanical or electromagnetic mechanism to disconnect the circuit. It is typically used for latching switches, where once triggered, the switch will remain in the closed or open state.
  • Self cutoff and TTL (applicable for latching switches only): This driving method combines the switch’s own mechanical or electromagnetic mechanism with TTL logic levels to control the switch’s operation. It is suitable for latching switches and can be triggered for closure or disconnection using an external TTL signal.
  • Pulse latching: This driving method uses a pulse signal to trigger the latching operation of the electromechanical switch. A single pulse signal can keep the switch in the closed or open state until the next pulse signal arrives.
  • Positive Common: This driving method uses the positive power supply as the common pin and controls the switch’s operation by applying a low level to other pins. It is suitable for applications that require the use of a positive power supply as the control signal.
  • Negative Common: This driving method uses the negative power supply as the common pin and controls the switch’s operation by applying a high level to other pins. It is suitable for applications that require the use of a negative power supply as the control signal.

Connector Type

  • 2*5P JTAG Connector: This is a 2*5-pin connector commonly used for JTAG (Joint Test Action Group) debugging and programming interfaces. It is frequently used in the development and maintenance of electronic devices.
  • 2*8P JTAG Connector: This is a 2*8-pin connector also used for JTAG debugging and programming interfaces. It provides more pins for connecting more complex circuit boards and devices.
  • 2*10P JTAG Connector: This is a 2*10-pin connector used for JTAG debugging and programming interfaces as well. It offers more pins and is suitable for more complex circuit boards and devices.
  • 2*12P JTAG Connector: This is a 2*12-pin connector also used for JTAG debugging and programming interfaces. It provides more pins and is suitable for more complex circuit boards and devices.
  • 1*n Pin Header: This is a pin header connector with n number of pins, usually with a pin pitch of 2.54mm. It can be selected with a specific number of pins based on the requirements and is commonly used for communication, testing, and electronic device connections.
  • D-SUB 9-pin: This is a D-SUB connector with 9 pins, commonly used for serial communication, computer peripherals, and control interfaces.
  • D-SUB 15-pin: This is a D-SUB connector with 15 pins, commonly used for video displays, game controllers, and computer peripherals.
  • D-SUB 25-pin: This is a D-SUB connector with 25 pins, commonly used for parallel communication, computer peripherals, and industrial control interfaces.

Special Options

  • Terminated: This option means that the electromechanical switch comes pre-installed with terminal connectors, making it easier to integrate into circuits. Terminal access simplifies the installation process and provides reliable electrical connections.
  • Miniature: This option indicates that the electromechanical switch has smaller dimensions and size. Applications with limited space benefit from the suitability of miniature switches, which can be seamlessly integrated into compact circuit boards or devices. Their small size allows for efficient utilization of available space while maintaining optimal functionality.
  • Customized Sizes (including irregular shapes): This option allows for customizing the dimensions and shapes of the electromechanical switch based on specific customer requirements. The switch’s form and size can be tailored according to specific application needs.
  • High Power: This option signifies that the electromechanical switch has a higher power-carrying capacity. High-power switches are suitable for applications that require control of large currents or high-power loads, such as motor control and power switches.
  • Wide Temperature Range (-55°C to +85°C): This option indicates that the electromechanical switch has the capability to operate within a wide temperature range, enabling normal functioning under extreme temperature conditions. Wide temperature range switches are suitable for applications with significant temperature variations, such as industrial, automotive, and aerospace environments.
  • Suppression Diodes: By integrating suppression diodes internally, this option ensures that the electromechanical switch actively safeguards both the switch itself and the associated circuits against overvoltage and electromagnetic interference caused by inductive loads. Suppression diodes play a crucial role in shielding against potential damage and disruption.

Mechanical RF switches, as an essential component in RF circuits, possess various characteristics. By understanding these key features, we can select the appropriate mechanical RF switch to meet specific application requirements. With the continuous development of RF technology, mechanical RF switches are also innovating and improving to deliver higher performance and reliability.

Vinstronics offers high-performance electromechanical coaxial switches that provide reliable switching for signal routing, switch matrices, and ATE systems. Additionally, we provide a wide range of RF microwave products, including high-frequency RF connectors, Coaxial Cables, Cable Assemblies, Adapers, loads, Attenuators, SMPM multi-channel connector modules, and more. For further inquiries, please contact us at sales@vinstronics.com.

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