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Top 5 Safety Precautions When Switching Relays

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UPDATED: April 13, 2018

A relay is a mechanical device that is operated by a small electric current which turns on or off a larger current. Think of it as a lever that switches on another device or appliance. Relays work through an electromagnet which is a wire that becomes somewhat like a magnet when electricity flows through it. In truth, relays make it possible for tiny currents to activate large ones. Just like any other electrical device, you need to be extra careful when switching relays.

Switching Relays

  • Mounting and Dismounting

Before you mount or dismount a relay, make sure that the power supply is turned off. This safety precaution goes as well even if you just want to inspect the device. By doing this, you reduce the risk of receiving an electric shock if the power is turned on. The switch might also burn if you fail turn it off. In mounting and dismounting, avoid dropping the relay. Do not also attempt to dismantle it. Doing so will greatly affect the performance or even damage the relay itself.

  • Wiring

Wire the terminals properly. Improper application will prevent the relay from functioning well and may result in the failure of insulation between circuits. Defective wiring may also result in burning and eventual damage to the device. Perform wiring only when the power is switched off to avoid accidents and mishaps.

  • Selecting the Correct Switch

When choosing switches, you have to consider the load conditions and the environment. Relays usually have selection guides to show you how to choose the proper switch for the operating environment, actuator type, load and current. Choose a switch that is best suited for the current actually used and only select the switch after confirming the load to avoid damage to the device.

  • Testing the Relay

Before using the relay, make sure that you have performed all the tests needed to confirm applicability as problems may arise during actual operation. In testing relays, use an environment where the relay will be operated and under the actual conditions, if possible. Only use the relay for a specific number of operations so as not to affect the performance of the device and to prevent possible burning.

  • Knowing the Load Types

Loads differ in types and current. When switching relays, you need to understand that switches are selected based on the type of load. Higher inrush current requires more contact abrasion. Accordingly, contact shifting and welding might occur which would result to burning or short circuits.

Relays play important roles in our daily activities no matter how insignificant it may seem to use. We use relay for remote and current switching, among others. It has become valuable as it can control high currents and voltages by using a small amount of voltage. It is also used for AC power lines as a power switch. However we use relays, it is imperative that you adopt safety precautions as you will be dealing with electricity. Keeping safe should be your top priority.

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