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What is a Magnetic Reed Switch?

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    Reed Switch

    What is a Magnetic Reed Switch?

    Magnetic reed switches are simple yet effective electrical devices commonly used in various applications such as security systems, alarm systems, and door and window sensors. They work based on the magnetic field generated by a magnet, and the ability of a thin, flexible metal reed to be attracted to or repelled by that field.

    How do magnetic reed switches work?

    The switches consist of two main parts: a sealed glass tube and a flexible metal reed. Inside the glass tube are two contact points, one on each end of the tube. The metal reed, which is made of a ferromagnetic material, is positioned inside the tube in close proximity to the contact points.

    A magnet brought close to the glass tube creates a magnetic field that causes the metal reed to move toward the contact points. As the reed makes contact with both points, it completes the circuit and allows electricity to flow through the switch. Conversely, when the magnet is removed, the magnetic field disappears and the reed moves away from the contact points, breaking the circuit and stopping the flow of electricity.

    These reed switches can be normally open (NO) or normally closed (NC), depending on their default state when there is no magnetic field present. NO switches are open by default and close when a magnet is present, while NC switches are closed by default and open when a magnet is present.

    NO Magnetic Switch
    NC Magnetic Switch

    Applications of reed switches

    The switches are used in a variety of applications due to their simplicity, reliability, and low cost. Some common applications include:

    1. Security systems: They are commonly used in security systems to detect the opening and closing of doors and windows. When a door or window is opened, the magnet is moved away from the switch, causing the reed to break the circuit and trigger an alarm.

    2. Proximity sensors: Switches can be used as proximity sensors to detect the presence of a magnet. For example, they can be used to detect the position of a door or drawer that has a magnet attached to it.

    3. Flow sensors: The reed switches can be used as flow sensors in liquid or gas systems. They are commonly used to detect the flow of water in irrigation systems, for example.

    4. Automotive applications: The switches are used in automotive applications to detect the position of various components such as doors, hoods, and trunks.

    Advantages and limitations of magnetic reed switches

    The main advantages of the switches are their simplicity, reliability, and low cost. They are also very energy efficient and consume very little power when in use.

    However, these switches have some limitations. They are sensitive to strong magnetic fields, which can cause them to malfunction or fail. They are also susceptible to physical shock and vibration, which can cause the metal reed to break or deform. In addition, they have limited switching speeds, and are not suitable for applications where high switching speeds are required.

    In conclusion, the switches are simple yet effective electrical devices that have a wide range of applications. They work based on the interaction between a magnet and a flexible metal reed and are commonly used in security systems, proximity sensors, flow sensors, and automotive applications. While they have some limitations, their simplicity, reliability, and low cost make them a popular choice for many applications.

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