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issue: April 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electronics Report
Taking on the World

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With global approvals and a low profile, a new sugar-cube relay is designed to meet the needs of international appliance companies.

Omron’s latest subminiature relay features a universal PCB layout and meets RoHS compliance standards with cadmium-free contacts.

According to Omron Electronic Components, its new G5LA relay series is a cost-effective alternative to industry standard sugar-cube-style relays. Designed with a universal PCB layout, the subminiature relays offer a switching capacity of 10 A at 250 V ac or 24 V dc on the normally open contacts and 5 A at 125 V ac or 24 V dc on the normally closed contacts, with a typical electrical life of 100,000 operations at those rated loads.

“Omron was able to achieve this load rating through the use of flexible, high-powered design tools and improved process automation, allowing for precision and repeatability during relay construction,” notes Mark Boston, Power Relay product marketing manager. “It gives design engineers a relay with robust switching capacity in a small package, meeting an industry-standard ‘sugar-cube’ relay footprint that is cost-effective.”

Measuring 19.6 × 15.6 × 15.6 mm, the relay features a lower profile compared with the company’s existing relay lines. Boston notes that while there are competitive low-profile models available, the G5LA offers several unique advantages, including global approvals and a high comparative tracking index (CTI).

“Omron has gone a few steps further, providing optional class-F coil insulation models, employing environmentally friendly cadmium-free contacts, and including the CQC Chinese safety standard approval on all standard models,” he says. The components are also approved by UL, CSA, and VDE, and are RoHS compliant, making them “globally ready,” according to Boston.

The relay’s CTI of more than 250 V offers another design advantage, Boston says. “CTI is a measure of conductivity at the surface area of a material. It is directly related to creepage distance requirements,” he explains. “The advantage of using materials with high-voltage CTI ratings is minimizing relay dimensions while still achieving required creepage and clearance distances. That allows for the possibility of making smaller relays, which will use less space on a PCB. This in turn helps designers meet challenging PCB space requirements.”

Boston adds that design engineers are also affected by CTI because European safety standards place a strong focus on this. “There are certain applications where a CTI greater than or equal to 250 V is required by European safety standards,” he says. “That means any product sold for worldwide consumption where this rating is required will impact design engineers.”

The relays are designed to operate in an ambient operating temperature range of –40° to 85°C, and nominal coil power consumption is 360 mW for the 5-, 9-, 12- and 24-V dc coils. Consumption is 480 mW for the 48-V dc coil.

Applications include traditional white goods, HVAC equipment, and security appliances. Another possibility is lower-horsepower spa controls. “Typically, [spa] customers employ a G7L- or G8PT-style relay that can handle 1 or 2 hp rating at 250 V ac,” Boston says. “However, for smaller-load spa controls of say 0.5 hp or less at 250 V ac and switching 5 A or less resistive, the G5LA is a much better choice. It is much smaller, more cost-effective, has lower nominal power, and has quicker operate-and-release time versus a G7L or G8PT relay.”

Suppliers mentioned in this article:
Omron Electronic Components LLC

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