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Solid-State Relays vs Mechanical Relays

A relay is a type of electrically operated switching device, featuring input terminals and a set of contact terminals for the means of making and breaking connections within circuits. With relays, a circuit may be managed by an independent low-power signal, or several circuits may be managed with a single signal. Depending on the needs of a particular application and the desires of an operator, there are various types of relays that one may use. The two primary types of relays are electromechanical and solid-state variations, each of which pose different advantages and drawbacks. To help you better choose between different options, we will discuss the differences between solid-state and electromechanical relays.

An electromechanical or mechanical relay is one in which contacts make and break connections through actuation that is driven by a small amount of power. In order to open or close the circuit, an electromagnetic coil is energized with current, causing a magnetic field to form. This magnetic field then pulls contacts apart or pushes them together depending on the resting state of the relay. In general, mechanical relays are known for being fairly inexpensive, though their use of moving parts can often lead to a somewhat short lifespan as compared to other options. An electromechanical relay can be used for numerous applications, often being used for LEDs, heaters, appliances, and other various devices. With their versatile use, electromechanical relays can pretty much be used in any setting as long as specifications and requirements are met.

Solid-state relays are fairly similar to their electromechanical counterparts in terms of operations, albeit featuring no moving parts within the entire assembly. With a lack of moving components, solid-state relays exhibit an increased operational lifetime on average. However, this design does mean that the relay has to operate in a different way to make and break the flow of current within a system. With an internal sensor, control signals can be detected and transformed into a command that switches power to the load circuitry. Based on the application in question, solid-state relays may either be designed for DC or AC loads. While solid-state relays clearly outperform electromechanical options, they are generally more expensive.

While cost can be an important factor in a purchasing decision, it can be useful to be aware of other common comparisons as well. For instance, mechanical relays generate noise when in operation, that of which can cause disturbances in certain applications. For commercial and medical equipment where noise is a concern, the solid-state relay is an optimal choice. Alongside noise, mechanical relays are also known for facing more damage from shock and vibration, consume more power, create more heat, and wear out faster. With the various pros and cons of both parts, it will often boil down to what a user can afford and the type of operations they need.

Once you have taken the time to consider what parts you require, let the experts at NSN Gamut rapidly fulfill all your operational needs with ample time and cost savings for your benefit. Our inventory contains over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. As you explore our ever-expanding database, we invite you to utilize our RFQ service to quickly and easily request quotes for your comparisons. Once we receive a completed form, a dedicated account manager will craft a customized solution and reach out to you to continue the purchasing process, all within 15 minutes. If you are ready to experience the future of part procurement, get in touch with an NSN Gamut representative at your earliest convenience, and we would be more than happy to assist you however we can!


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