What is a Push Button Switch?

A push button switch is a simple mechanism that initiates power to a machine, device, or appliance. The body is typically metal or plastic, featuring a durable and ergonomic design. With switches available that provide latching or momentary action, there are push button switches for virtually any relevant application. This blog will explain how push button switches work and discuss typical applications for various push button switch types. 

How Does a Push Button Switch Work?

Push button switches can serve many purposes, but each type operates on a similar principle. When an operator applies pressure to the push button actuator, an internal spring depresses. Contacts attached to the spring connect with the electrical contacts on the switch’s lower end to open or close the electrical circuit. Depending on the switch, releasing the button or pressing it again will retract the spring and return the circuit to its original state.

The initial state of the push button circuit can be open or closed, depending on the application. The type of switch will also depend on the application.

Push Button Switch Types

Push button switches come in two types: momentary switches or push-pull switches. 

  • Momentary. The momentary push button switch has a single pole and is initially in an off state. When the operator presses the push button switch, it changes to on. There are also double-pole momentary switches that provide an additional state of functionality. 
  • Push-pull. Push-pull switches are typically in an off state until an operator presses the button and engages the actuator. The machine or device will remain on until an operator pulls the actuator to its initial position.

An infographic describing push button switches

Selecting a Push Button Switch for Military Applications

Military push button switches undergo rigorous testing and quality control. They must meet high reliability and performance requirements, in addition to ergonomic specifications. Relevant military specifications for push buttons include MIL-S-8805/3 and MS25089. Military push buttons require numerous capabilities, such as:

  • Electromagnetic immunity
  • Extreme temperature operation
  • Resistance to salt spray
  • IP67 or IP68 waterproofing
  • Shock and vibration resistance
  • Matte black chrome finish

Push Button Switches From Amphenol NEXUS Technologies

Amphenol Nexus Technologies can produce durable and tactile momentary switches and push-pull switches. Our experts have extensive experience designing and manufacturing rugged switches used in numerous commercial, industrial, marine, and military settings, such as:

  • Industrial machinery
  • Soldier systems
  • Command systems
  • Ruggedized communications systems
  • Naval systems
  • Ground vehicles
  • Avionics
  • Commercial and military aircraft

Our custom switches allow us to meet your exact specifications, and our military push button switches comply with MIL-S-8805/3 and MS25089. We also manufacture connectors that make it simple to implement our push button switches.

To see how we can help with your next project, please contact us today.

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