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Sheogorath's Blog


Depending on the time of the day a friend, a colleague, a wise guy. The beauty of the world is its sense of humor to show humans their way by letting them search their own.


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Why light switches click

Today I learned that light switches click because they are usually spring loaded to keep the switch time as minimal as possible. As switches are made of 2 conductors set up in a way to connect or not connect, the time between being connected and getting enough air between the two conductors is intended to be as minimal as possible. This is done by a spring, that pushes the conductors either together or away from each other, as soon as a critical point is hit, resulting in the clicking sound. All this is done to minimize arking. Arks anywhere in your daily electron’s life are something to avoid, because they are hot and usually not healthy for your equipment. In best case they corrode your contacts in worst case they cause a fire. All in all, something to avoid, therefore switches are spring loaded and clicky.

I came across that while watching some YouTube videos about power grids. The title “Switches are Clicky; Here’s Why” caught my attention and I wasn’t disappointed. As someone who already opened a switch, the inside wasn’t a surprise, but the why was still a bit surprising. Especially since I’m usually try to move switches as silent and careful as possible because I don’t like it when stuff makes lots of sound when I use it1. It also taught me that the switch of my bed side lamp during my childhood was really bad.


  1. My keyboard might be the exception.