I am building a nixie tube clock whose power supply in the best (or worst) case scenario will put out ~300V. This is obviously quite hazardous if not handled correctly. I need to use at least 1 spdt switch to configure the clock/switch it on off. Shopping around for switches, I see pretty much all the small flipping type switches are metal.
I managed to get a generic one. When I check for continuity using a multimeter, I can see that the terminals are isolated from the "switch" part which could touch the user, but how can I find out by how much? More importantly, why isn't this sort of thing more defined? Why isn't using metal switches such a big concern? For me it seems like a very big concern. What happens if some wire inside accidentally makes contact with the metal switch case? Why would you take the risk? On the switch it says 250Vac 2A, 120Vac 5A, but I'm thinking this is more to do with the resistance of the switch itself? I.e. how much can pass through it before it can get too hot, cause arcing between the terminals etc? (Correct me if I'm wrong).
I am only planning to switch ~5V for a uC digital signal, and I am planning on integrating a relay to switch the power supply on. Since I want to give this to someone who has minimal electronics knowledge, the last thing I would want to happen is for it to become a hazard. So I want it to make it as safe as possible.
So, my question is quite a general one, what sort of design safety steps do you guys take when you design something like this? Any tips? Why are metal switches so ubiquitous? Because they are more robust? Why isn't the maximum handling voltages clearly stated? How does it deal with sudden voltage spikes?