Homemade Electric Switch


Controlling electrical circuits by powering them on and off requires a device known as an electric switch. These devices control and regulate the current that travels along the circuit. The most common example of an electrical switch's use is powering the light fixtures in households. There are various types of electric switches available and sold commercially; however, you can build a simple electric switch with the use of common household materials. Creating your own switch can be recreational, as well as educational.

Things You'll Need

  • 8-by-4-by-1-cm wooden block
  • Paper clip
  • 2 thumbtacks
  • Insulated wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Soldering iron
  • Electrical rosin-core solder
  • 3.5-volt flashlight bulb
  • Battery holder
  • 2 AA batteries
  • Cut three pieces of wire with wire cutters to approximately 10 inches in length. Strip about half an inch of insulation on each end of the wires.

  • Place the wooden block on a flat surface. Insert one of the thumbtacks into the wooden block towards the center.

  • Insert the metal end of the second thumbtack through the eyelet of the paper clip. Place the second thumbtack into the wooden board approximately half an inch from the first thumbtack. Ensure that the paperclip can rotate around the thumbtack and touch the first thumbtack.

  • Wrap one of the ends of the first wire around the unoccupied thumbtack on the wooden block. Wrap one end of the second wire around the thumbtack the paperclip is attached to. The paperclip should still be able to rotate when the wire is attached to the thumbtack.

  • Attach the free end of the first wire to the negative post on the battery holder. Solder the connection for security.

  • Solder the unoccupied end of the second wire to the bottom of the lightbulb socket.

  • Connect one end of the third wire to the lightbulb cylinder -- metallic stem of the bulb -- and solder the connection. Attach the unoccupied end of the third wire to the positive post on the battery holder and solder the connection.

  • Place the two AA batteries in the AA battery holder. Swivel the paperclip around the thumbtack so it touches the other thumbtack on the wooden block. The completed circuit will power the lightbulb.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use caution when handling electrical materials and soldering. Wear rubber gloves for protection when you are building the switch.

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