Switch Kits For Designers


above: Five-drawer metal cabinet (left) contains all necessary parts for assembly of line of modular push-button switches. Modules contained in this convenient Centralab kit can be assembled in more than 1 1/2 million combinations to produce an extremely broad range of switching devices. The photo below shows many of the miniature Alco switches that are available in kit form. Each kit is selected to offer engineer or technician most-wanted types.

MOST switch manufacturers offer designers assortments or kits of their products for use in prototype equipment and for breadboarding. Such kits help the engineer design new equipment by providing him with a large number of switches from which to choose for incorporation into his product. The kits also help the switch manufacturer by showing the designer what standard products are available. If a choice is made from standard rather than from custom-designed switches, then costs can be kept lower.

Sampler kits are usually fairly complete, and a reasonable price is generally charged by the switch manufacturer for the assortments.

There are two main types of these kits. One type is merely a grouping or assortment of a number of samples of a manufacturer's complete line.

Each switch in the assortment is a complete ready-to-use device. Another type of switch kit, apt to be more complete and more expensive, actually permits the designer to assemble his own switch from separate contacts, rotors, stators, shafts, and hardware. Tools are often included in such a kit. Following are some examples of switch kits available from several manufacturers.

Centralab has a new switch kit that provides all necessary components for complete assembly of a line of modular pushbutton switches. Included are mounting brackets, latch bars, and switch modules that will furnish interlocking, momentary, or push-push switching action. Six each of 30 basic brackets are included along with 60 two-pole, double-throw modules; 60 four-pole, double-throw modules; 45 six-pole, double-throw modules; and 20 eight-pole, double-throw modules. Hardware and tools are included along with a complete set of instructions. Cost of the entire kit, which is housed in a five-drawer metal cabinet, is $150. Stackpole Carbon Co. (Electro-Mechanical Div.) is offering a kit to facilitate the design and development of prototype enclosed rotary switches. The kit contains a full complement of parts to construct upwards of twelve complete rotary switches of varying electrical configurations. Complete and easy-to-follow instructions are included. Parts are readily available for restocking the kit. Complete kits are available for less than $100 from this manufacturer.

Oak Manufacturing Co. has a number of switch kits available to aid users in developing prototypes. As a matter of fact, most of the company's rotary switches are available in kit form for this purpose. As an example of how elaborate one such kit is, among many other parts it includes 40 switch shafts, 400 index springs, hundreds of various spacers, about 2000 contact clips, hundreds of rotors and stators for both phenolic and ceramic rotary switches, plus a large assortment of hardware. Some of the special hand tools included are a file fixture for rotor blades, rotor-blade cutting pliers, eye-letting pliers, and an index spring insertion tool. The cabinet containing the kit is almost two feet square by 4 1/2 inches deep. Shipping weight is between 50 and 75 pounds.

Additional parts may be ordered to maintain a complete kit. Incidentally, these kits are not intended to be used to make switches for production runs but rather for developing prototypes.

Alco Electronic Products has available ten sampler switch kits for engineering use. These kits consist mainly of miniature toggle, pushbutton, and rotary types. They give the designer a variety of complete switches and do away with special inventories and small-quantity purchase order requests. One typical sampler assortment consists of six miniature toggle switches, ranging from a single-pole, double-throw unit to a four-pole, double-throw switch. These six switches would ordinarily cost over $17 separately, but they are available as an assortment in a plastic box for $14.

(source: Electronics World, Oct. 1967)

Also see: Open-Frame Rotary Switches
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