A Guide to Mercury Tilt Switches


A tilt switch is a mechanism that can detect orientation or inclination. They are sensors that turn on or off when tilted to one side or the other, respectively. One of their advantages comes in their simplicity, in the sense that they are small, cheap, use low power, and are easy to use. They serve as digital sensors in a number of environments, such as in the security system of houses. They have even more applications in other areas.


Tilt switches are normally cylindrical in shape, with a conductive mass in the cylinder, such as a blob of mercury. There will also be two conductive poles in there to complete the connection when the masses touch both sides. When there is a movement that causes the cylinder to shift position, the mass in there will roll to one end, thus making the necessary connection to turn on the switch.


The simplicity of the mechanism involved is what makes the tilt switches easy to use. The design ensures that any movement triggers a connection, thus sending the right message as needed. There are different designs of tilt switches out there, but the principle of their operation followed the same format. The length of the cylinder and the materials used in making the sensors dictate the sensitivity they will have.


 A mercury tilt switch is one in which the connecting mass in there is a blob of mercury. Whenever the mercury rolls as a result of a shift in the position of the cylinder, it ends up completing the circuit, thus turning on the switch. Apart from the blob of mercury, the cylinder may have air, inert gas, or vacuum. To turn off the switch, there has to be another shift in position that will cause the blob to move in the other direction, thus cutting off the connection. Read more about sensors at https://www.dictionary.com/browse/proximity.


Mercury tilt switches present certain advantages that make them ideal for use in security systems. They, for one, are cheap. A small drop of mercury has low resistance, which allows the switches to carry plenty of current, thus diversifying the application of the switch. There is also its sensitivity to gravitational forces, which make for a sharper sensor, thus allowing its application in simple low force mechanisms in manual or automatic operation. The switch will also be quiet since there are no contacts snapping together. The movement of the blob of mercury also comes with an over-center effect, ensuring there is no chattering when the switch tilts. Be sure to find out more details here!


Such simplicity, effectiveness, and ease of use make mercury switches one of the best examples when it comes to setting up a home security system. The fact that they cannot be manipulated by radio interference or magnetism makes them the best choice one can go for. Start now!

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