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I'm making a simple switch box and I've done quite a bit of looking but I can't find a 4 pole single throw switch anywhere on the major component seller sites in the UK (farnell.co.uk etc.), although I imagine if there is one it wouldn't be reasonably priced.

So, can anybody think of a simple and fairly cheap way I could use a single pole single throw switch to control 4 circuits, or perhaps some alternative to achieve the same goal? Ideally I would like to use a basic rocker switch, but beggars can't choosers.

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5 Answers 5

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If consuming power in one of the states is acceptable, you can use one or more relays and energize their coil(s) using a single circuit through the available switch.

There are also "solid state relays" and various do-it-yourself transistor/FET/SCR/etc circuits which could be suitable for switching various types of loads.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yep - that will be just fine, the solid state relay will be lovely... Thank you very much. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – R4D4
    Nov 19, 2011 at 6:51
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What about this or this from Farnell?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hm, the first one is a little pricey, but I'll look into the second one - thank you. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – R4D4
    Nov 19, 2011 at 6:51
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One approach which is sometimes used in consumer electronics is to have multiple slide switches on a PCB, and have a piece of material with a hole or notch cut for each slider. It's a little clunky, but it allows for any arbitrary number of poles. Some cassette recorders used this technique for the "record" button (the switches rewired the transistors in the playback amplifier into the circuitry necessary for recording).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, yeah, I did think about something like that but to be honest it seemed fairly tricky to make compared to just getting some off the shelf component. Shame as it would probably be easier to use... \$\endgroup\$
    – R4D4
    Nov 20, 2011 at 0:48
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Have you considered reed switches? While I haven't tried it, I would guess that if you have a bunch of reed switches sitting next to a non-magnetized bar of ferromagnetic material, bringing a magnet close to the bar would trigger all of the reed switches, and moving the magnet away would allow them all to drop. The reed switches might not all trip at the same time (some magnet placements might cause some to open while others remained closed, or vice versa) but I would expect one could consistently make it so that all switches would be closed when the operating lever was in one marked position, and all would open when it was in another.

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If you are binary inclined you could use two 2-pole switches (one single and one dual) to route power to one of four destinations.

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