I have these switches in my home which you push once, they don't flip over just go back to the initial position. We have like 4 of those and I really want to know how they work. Can someone explain please?


1 Answer 1


They are called "momentary push-buttons" and sometimes they are latching types that appear to return to the same position but they mechanically latch the push-action so that (say) a light comes on and stays on then, when you press it again the light goes off and stays off.

Sometimes this is achieved with a non-latching push-button and some electronics that "latches" the press and does the reverse when the button is pressed again.

If you want a mechanical explanation then maybe this is not the site to expect an answer.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Andy: If the actuators return to the original position but the switching toggles, they're called "alternate action" switches. \$\endgroup\$
    – EM Fields
    Sep 6, 2014 at 10:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Alternate action or push-push switches typically have a mechanical action that uses a metal wire as a cam follower so the innards have two distinct stable states. There's also probably a snap action over-center thing that makes the open/close action fast to reduce arcing. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 6, 2014 at 20:36

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