For my project I have to switch analog signals in certain combinations. I was going to use reed relays since I prefer to have the least amount of degredation of the signals from the circuit(which consists basicaly of turn on and off the signals in different combinations). I have several questions about relays though that I need to be aware.

  1. Do relays retain there state with no power? At first I thought that one had to switch on the relay by continuously supplying power(i.e. the "contacts" wouldn't "snap" into an on or off state and say there without power)... but I'm not sure about this since I've seen some "on" current and "off" current in the data sheets of some relays. If it is true that one can just pulse the contacts with the appropriate current to turn them off and turn them on this would mean that they would require no power when not being switched?(which is what I would like for my project since it minimizes the power used since I don't switch very often(few times a min at most)).

  1. How do analog switches that use semiconductors compare to relays? I can get 4x's the number of switches at about the same price as one relay(and I will be using about 30 relays). Obviously the analog switches have to be continuously powered which is a drawback but the main thing I'm worried about is how they will affect the signal. Unfortunately I can't seem to find any data on that aspect for the relays or analog switches.

  2. I will be using some simple microcontroller to control the relays but I figure that they probably can't supply enough current to the realys to switch them... I guess I have to read the data sheets and figure out if they can or not and if they can't I will have to use a transistor to control the relays?

  1. Whats the difference between voltage and currents sensing relays? I thought all relays needed current to switch? Hence is it just a matter of how much(i.e., "current sensing" requires a much larger current and voltage sensing requires a little?)?

  2. The only relays I can find seem to come 1 per IC. Is it possible to find ones that are like spdt(but they alternate so one switches off when the other switches on)? or even more like how one can get quad analog switches but instead get quad reed relays(or whatever).

and the last question

  1. Where is a good site to buy components from? Right now I've been looking at Jameco and Newark but Jameco is pretty expensive and as few products but is easy to navigate and search yet Newark is cheaper and has tons of stuff but can be very confusing at times on what they are selling and where its located.

Thanks for any help, AD

Reply to
Abstract Dissonance
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you can do that with a bi-stable relay. pulse it on or off.

you should use relay drivers. 8 drivers in a package.

relays are specified by voltage. for 5v systems you need a 4.5v relay.

are we talking USA?

Reply to
ryan weihl

"Latching" relays will, others will not.

Insufficient information. Your best bet is to look at the datasheets to see if their behavior is okay in your specific application.

Also, in addition to parts that are labeled as "solid state relays" check for solid state switches like the 4066 family. Might (or might not) be a fit.

One option is to use a ULN2803 or similar to "boost" the capacity of the uC output ports. It's basically an array of Darlingtons with a clamping diode on each. If you do this then you'll need to account for drop across the bipolars, of course.

AFAIK these terms are related to "protective" relays, not to the garden variety switching relays you're looking for.

In general there's one coil per package so all contacts are thrown at the same time. Omron, for example, has some 4 pole, double throw relays in one package but one coil operates all four.

Ya, Newark could use nicer "drill down" and filtering capabilities.

Also in the majors are Digikey, Mouser, and Allied; check them as well. However, there are smaller vendors that carry odd lots and surplus items who might have what you're looking for at better prices. They won't carry an entire range of sizes/types but may be selling the remaining

418 relays that got designed out of the 2006 model Acme Rocket Powered Skateboard for a great price (but once those are gone, they may never have that part again). There are others but the ones I usually check (in no particular order)

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Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA
Reply to
Rich Webb

Most relays require continuous power to stay energized but there are some types - usually called latching relays that just need a pulse to switch and no power to remain in the last state.

Whether analog switches will work in your application depends on the signal being switched. The work well for low power low voltage signals

You will need some type of driver circuit between the micro and the relay

It is possible to get relay with spdt contacts - sometimes called form C relays It is also possible to get relays with multiple contacts

The type of relay you want is rated by coil voltage. such as 5v coil or 12v coil. The data sheet will give the must operate and must drop out voltage

Another source is

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- again lots of choices

To find out more about relays choose one that you think might do the job and get the detailed data sheet from the manufacturers web site.

Dan Hollands
1120 S Creek Dr
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Reply to
Dan Hollands

Ok, Thanks for all the replies. Very helpful. I think now I might be able to actually do the project... its so freaken hard to move from the concept to the real thing ;/

Thanks, AD

Reply to
Abstract Dissonance

It can be done. With reed relays one way is to put good magnet near the coil such that the reed almost switches then a forwards pulse on the coil will switch the relay on and a reverse pulse will switch it off.

also latching relays are available that do the same thing

you'll have to get that info from the data sheets a relay typically has an on resistance less than 0.01 ohms whereas the switch chips are moore like


a few cheap transistors can take care of that. probably about 15c each retail.


yes I think so. AUIU a current sensing relay has a low resistance and connects in series with some oother device and switches when it is operating.

I've noot seen any like that.

I've heard good things about digikey.

Bye. Jasen

Reply to
Jasen Betts

You need to start with simpler toys. :-) We all did. Remember the dry cell, one wire, and compass experiment? Another way kewl thing to do is wind a coil of #24 telephone trunk wire, about 2' long, about 1 1/2" diameter, about 5-8 turns per inch, air core, and let it dangle from one end, and pass about an amp through it. ;-)

Have Fun! Rich

Reply to
Rich Grise

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