In pursuit of designing a reed switch with high voltage and high power capability, many elements contribute to the overall architecture of the device. Some essential characteristics one needs to know when going down this path to High Power greatness are: Carry Current, Contact Resistance, Voltage Breakdown, and Switching Voltage, to name a few. Here are the basic questions to ask when designing your high voltage/high power reed switch.
How big can I make it?
As with any reed switch design or application, physical size is one of the first considerations. When creating a high voltage switch, the size of the gap between the two contacts is a critical factor, along with the actual thickness of the blades. These two features will determine the glass diameter needed in order to efficiently enclose all of the reed switch’s components.
Physical size also gets into the subject of blade design. You want to ensure that the reed blades are making contact at just the right surface area and overlap to ensure maximum capability.
How much power?
The amount of power we want the switch to be capable of will dictate many of the other electrical characteristics, including current and voltage. When you are considering power, you want to specify what voltage you want your switch to be able to hold, and you also want to take into consideration how much voltage you actually want to have applied to the switch in order to get it to activate.
There are many relationships within the architecture of the high power reed switch design that play on one another to create the perfect combination of elements that will achieve our goal. For instance, the coating material of the contact area could potentially affect the breakdown voltage, and the thickness of the armature versus the contact area thickness has an affect on breakdown voltage as well. The gap size contributes to the relationship of the current carrying capacity, and the dimension of overlap of the two blades determines what you will see on switching voltage.
The high voltage, high power reed switch design is not just a matter of hermetically sealing to blades inside glass tubing. There are many questions to answer and various routes to explore to arrive at the best suited high power application for your design.
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