• 31/Aug, 2018

Difference between One-Way and Two-Way Electrical Switches

A switch is a simple device that makes or breaks a circuit. A switch can perform mainly two functions- ON, by closing its contacts, or fully OFF, by opening its contacts. When contacts are closed, it creates a path for the current to flow, and vice-versa, an open contact will not allow the current to flow. In electrical wiring, switches are most commonly used to operate electric lights, permanently connected appliances or electrical outlets.

In 1884, John Henry Holmes invented the quick break light switch. His technology ensured the internal contacts moved apart quickly enough to deter the electric arching which could be a fire hazard and shorten the switch’s lifespan. This quick break technology is still employed in today’s domestic and industrial light switches.

The most commonly available and used electrical switches in our homes is the one-way switch. But there also exists two-way switch, though not commonly used. In its working, the main difference between them is the number of contacts they each have. The one-way switch has two contacts and the two-way switch has three contacts. In a two-way switch, there are two, one-way switches combined in one. One of the terminals can be connected to either of the two, but not both at the same time.

The advantage of a two-way switch is the ability to control a single device from two separate locations. A convenient and apt use for them is for locations like stairways, a long corridor or a very large room. So, imagine, it is late at night and you are at the bottom of a stairway. You flip the switch ON to light up the stairs as you walk up. Once you have reached the top of the stairs, with a two-way switch you can simply flip the switch to put the stairway light OFF. The same goes for a long corridor or a large room with more than one entrances. The two-way switch is also super convenient to use as light switch, and possibly the ceiling fan, with the 2nd location accessible besides your bed. So, no trouble of getting out of your bed to operate these appliances.

Another interesting difference between the one-way and the two-way switch is its defined states. The one-way switch has defined ON and OFF states, whereas the two-way switch does not. So, it is most likely that one-way switches will be marked with an ON and OFF position, either by a dot marking or some indicator for ON, position. There is no such marking on a two-way switch because there is no consistent ON or OFF. The ON-OFF can change depending on the position of the second two-way switch.

So, whether you should opt for a one-way switch or a two-way switch is entirely your choice and needs. The one-way switch also called the single pole switch is effective in small rooms, and for domestic electrical appliances. And a two-way switch is apt for multi-door large rooms, stairways and long corridors. An easy switch to operate but a little complicated in installation.

Check Finolex’s ‘Finoswitch’ range, made of superior quality polycarbonate and silver cadmium oxide coated contact points, screws and terminals. They are durable and tested to last over 1,00,000 clicks. The switches are available with a unique fluorescent strip that glows in the dark and acts as a guide.

One way Switch – Image Source : www.finolex.com


Two Way Switch – Image Source : www.finolex.com

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