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issue: December 2008 APPLIANCE Magazine

Appliance Enginer-Technology Report
Low-Cost Resistance

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 A new series of rocker switches offers appliance engineers water resistance at an affordable cost.

Designed with a silicone rubber actuator and snap-fit mounting, new rocker switches from Cherry Electrical Products (Pleasant Prairie, WI, U.S.; www.cherrycorp.com) are suitable for applications requiring resistance to dust and water intrusion. Key applications include outdoor power equipment, commercial appliances, and medical devices; however, Steve Hugener, director of marketing, says increasing consumer interest in outdoor cooking is also a key driver for the application of the new switches.

“The KC and KD series are members of a new family of Cherry switches that are more suitable for appliance applications,” Hugener says. “There are other high-current user interface switches on the market that are fully sealed, but those have generally been designed for vehicular applications in trucks…and tend to be fairly large and expensive.”

Whereas vehicular switches are typically sealed for submergibility, Hugener says the water resistance of the new series is defined only from the front side of the panel. “They’re water- and dust-resistant to IP56 when mounted in the panel, but they’re not waterproof on the back side, behind the panel,” he explains. “The result is a significantly less expensive switch, and a switch that we feel is more appropriate for appliance applications.”

Both the single-pole KC series and the double-pole KD series use heavy-duty silver alloy contacts to achieve current ratings of 20 A at 14 V dc and 16 A at 125 V ac. According to Hugener, the higher current ratings make the switches more versatile and applicable to a wider range of applications. “This may allow the appliance engineer to avoid proliferation of part numbers for various applications, and it may allow the use of miniature rocker switches in applications where they were never used before,” he says. “We can foresee these switches being used in high-current applications such as wet/dry vacuums, outdoor power equipment, and outdoor lawn care equipment. Until now, we believe that engineers designing these products have been forced to sacrifice switch durability by selecting unprotected switches to achieve price objectives. We hope that these products will allow engineers to avoid those sorts of compromises in the future.”

Said to be the highest-rated switches of their size and type on the market, the components are UL certified for both 125-V-ac and 250-V-ac applications. They’ve also been tested for dc applications, making them suitable for battery-powered applications. “With 14-V dc ratings of 20 A, we believe they carry the highest dc ratings of any rocker switch in a 20-mm-diameter package,” Hugener claims. “The KD series contains two high-current switching circuits, so it can switch on-off two devices simultaneously—for example, a light and a fan.”

The switches fit an industry-standard panel cutout and are available in lighted and nonlighted designs. The standard termination is 0.187 in. (4.8 mm) quick-connect tabs. The KC series also offers 0.173-in. (4.4-mm)–diameter solder tabs and PC through-hole straight termination options.

New round, water-resistant rocker switches from Cherry Electrical Products were subjected to streams of water to ensure that they would be suitable for outdoor and washable applications.

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