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Double pole switch: what it is and how it works

The single pole and double pole switch is a very common electrical component, which is used for different functions depending on the sector in question.
With regard to the lighting sector, the switch is a device designed to manage a lighting point, for example in a house. At the same time, in the electrical sector, the double pole switch also identifies a type of control that serves to break contact between the source and a household appliance. This is the case with devices such as ovens, washing machines or other large appliances, where the high current load requires a higher protection system which the double pole switch is able to provide.

The following is an in-depth look at the single pole and double pole switch and the other most common types of control. More specifically, we will talk about:

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Difference between single and double pole switches

In order to discover the difference between a single pole and double pole switch, let us first take a closer look at the structural characteristics of each.
The single pole switch is made up of two terminals whose function is to open and close the phase contact, interrupting only one pole of the electrical connection. The double pole switch is not particularly different in terms of structure or installation. It differs in the number of terminals (2 for single pole, 4 for double pole) which, as the name suggests, interrupt both poles of the electrical connection, the phase and the neutral.

This difference in configuration leads to a difference in the intended use of the device. The single pole switch is mainly used to switch lighting on and off: LED lamps, neon lamps, spotlights and light fittings. The double pole switch, on the other hand, is used for household appliances (such as cookers, washing machines, ovens and refrigerators) that have a particularly heavy electrical load. In this case, the device opens and closes the two poles simultaneously in order to completely disconnect the user from the mains and give the load greater protection. This makes routine and extraordinary maintenance of the appliances to which it is applied safer and more risk-free.


Due to this difference in application, there is also a difference in price between single pole and double pole switches: the cost of a double pole component is slightly higher than a single pole but also varies according to the specific accessories required for the button and cover. For more detailed information please contact our technical department. 


Wiring of double pole and single pole circuit breakers: what it consists of

Wiring is a fundamental step to guarantee the correct functioning of the switch. For the wiring of the single pole switch, the phase cable carrying the current is interrupted through the two terminals.
Similarly, the wiring of the double pole circuit breaker consists of inserting the phase and neutral wire into the respective terminals. The phase and neutral are placed at the top of the circuit breaker: cables will be connected to the output terminals, which will be connected directly, or through an electrical outlet, to the source of use.

This procedure is based on a precise wiring diagram. The double pole circuit breaker wiring diagram sets out the instructions to be followed in order to safely connect the control to the electrical system and to activate its operation.


Double pole switch: how does it differ from a circuit breaker?

As illustrated, the switch refers to a control device in a wiring harness or electrical system that controls the passage of electricity by opening or closing a circuit. The diverter switch is also a type of control. Its function, however, is to open one flow and close another at the same time, conveying the current to an adjacent cable. Its structure also has 3 terminals in the single pole version and 6 terminals in the double pole version which allow the electrical connection between the machine circuit and the control.
As with the switch, this component is available in both single and double pole versions. The double pole diverter switch is used to divert two current lines to another pair of lines; its applications are in household appliances as well as in domestic and industrial electrical installations.



Double pole change-over switch: what is it?

The double pole change-over switch is another popular control variant with a structure that is very similar to the diverter switch. It is an input positioned between two circuits, which can open and close them or keep them both open by means of the stop position.
Its task is to change the operating state of a specific piece of equipment. There are several variants of this device, including the momentary double pole change-over switch, the slide switch and the rotary switch. Read more in the article Bipolar and unipolar change-over switch: what is it?

Double pole rocker switch

The double pole rocker switch is a panel-mounted device consisting of a button which, once pressed, remains fixed in position until further operation. The axial double pole switch, on the other hand, always returns to its initial position when pressed. This difference does not affect the operation of the device but is an aesthetic feature of preference. The button of the double pole rocker switch tends to be marked 0/I, which indicates in which position the current flow is interrupted and in which pole it will start.

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Switch symbol: how to add it

The symbols that are added on the keys of the switches are often the standard On-Off or the relative I/0 symbol. The user can request customisation of the SLIM range of switches by means of standard or custom screen printing. The screen printing is either white or black depending on the lens colour chosen for the switch. The customer has the option of customising the double pole switch symbol using the configurator, according to his own requirements.


SLIM switches: the complete offer

To complete the range of switches available, SLIM works with an exceptional partner. This is the Italian company Comelux, a leader in the design and manufacture of highly reliable, quality-certified switches.

The offer includes single pole and double pole controls available for different sizes of drilling template. The CR1, CR2, CR3, CR5, CR7 and SZ10 models are control devices that can be configured as luminous or non-luminous depending on the designer's requirements. The user can choose his own luminous double pole switch configuration by requesting one of the following sources: incandescent lamp, neon/fluorine, LED.

SLIM switches

For all switches in the SLIM range, it is also possible to increase the degree of protection of the button from the front of the panel by adding specific protective sheaths against water or other substances. These PVC protections are available for the different sizes of SLIM components and are necessary in all those applications where liquid impermeability (IP65) is required. According to the user's request, it is possible to assemble this protection directly on the switch or, if preferred, to supply it separately.

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