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Momentary or Maintained? How to tell the difference

Posted by Katie Rose on Sep 9th 2015

Whether you are trying to figure out what kind of switch you need or browsing our website to buy what you need it is important to differentiate between maintained and momentary switches. 

Maintained simply means that when you push it on it stays on until you push it off and so on. A typical way of seeing a maintained circuit spelled out on many website is such as this: On-Off-On. Here is an example on our website that shows a maintained circuit:

Maintained Circuit Example

Momentary simply means that it is only On (or off) when you are holding it then it spring returns to the maintained position. Think of your car window, usually it only goes up or down when you are holding it and it stops when you let go. This is an example of momentary. A typical way of seeing a momentary circuit spelled out on many website is such as this: (On)-Off. Any time you see the parenthesis symbol around the function it indicates it is momentary. Here is an example on our website that shows a momentary circuit:

Momentary Circuit Example

These are just a few examples of how they may show up. As always if you are unsure of what you need you can always contact one of our knowledgeable sales staff and they can assist you. We also have our Electronics 101 under our Resources tab to assist you: 

Electronics 101