Working with DIP switches

I want to use a rotary DIP switch to set an ID number on a number of identical boards I am using for a project. I have run into the following three lines in the data sheet and I can't make sense of them:

Contact Rating:

Non-Switching: DC 50V 100mA
switching: DC 5V 100mA
Minimum: DC 20mV 1uA


What do these lines exactly mean? What is the meaning of Switching as opposed to non-switching?

• Can you post the datasheet? – Butzke Sep 24 '13 at 16:17
• Are you sure the switching voltage rating is higher than the non-switching? – JYelton Sep 24 '13 at 16:26

Switching refers to the voltage and current that the switch can safely handle when transitioning from open to closed or closed to open without excessive arcing and damaging the contacts.

Non-switching refers to voltage and current that the switch can safely handle when the contacts remain in one position.

The minimum rating is a little more complicated. If the switch is operated with too little current, it can build up resistance (from dirt and corrosion) and eventually fail. A small amount of arcing is actually desirable to keep this accumulation from happening. This is also known as "wetting" current.

Reference: Switch contact ratings on AllAboutCircuits.com.