I was browsing for push switches on Element14 and due to the vast amount of choices, I wanted to narrow down my search. However I stumbled across the filter category "Switch Operation" and was confused as to the following terminology:




Where X can be either "On", "Off", "(On)", "(Off)".

Currently, I know the brackets mean momentary which I assume is the state when the button has to be held or pushed by the user. I also know that a SPST with switch operation of On-(Off) is a NO pushbutton and Off-(On) is NC pushbutton, but the existence of other possibilities just confuse me. What do they mean?

There seem to also be filters that seem to be weasel words. So there's "latching" and "Push-On Push-Off" along with "Push-Pull" and "Pull-To-Cheat". Are my assumptions correct?

I even tried to look in the datasheets but they don't really define much, like what is On-(On) vs On-On.


A X-X switch has two possible (stable, for a non-momentary switch) contact positions, or a maximum of two throws if you will. An X-X-X switch has three possible contact positions, or a maximum of three throws, although many of them are double throw switches where the third (center) position is an OFF position.

A "latching" switch is the same as "push-on push-off" or "push-pull" -- all of these mean that the switch does not have any momentary positions in it, although the position designator ("On-On" or whathaveyou) is the ultimate guide to this. The manufacturer's datasheet should provide a schematic symbol or some other sort of usage documentation for the switch, as well.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.