First appearing in the 1930s, reed relays were once a critical component of telecommunications systems. Despite phasing out of telecommunications, they are now more prolific than ever as they find use other applications such as automatic test equipment, electronics, etc
Reed relays are relays with contacts made of a magnetic material with electromagnetics that act directly on the switch inside of requiring an armature. This relay contains a reed switch, an optional diode, an encapsulating package with connection terminals, and a coil for creating a magnetic field. When used correctly, this type of relay is a perfect device, especially since it has inherent isolation between voltage controls and operating coils. This type of mechanism allows for a flawless signal switching.
The reed switch, a component within the relay, has two metal shaped blades created from highly magnetic material. These blades are encapsulated inside a glass tube, making them resistant to corrosion. This glass seal also protects debris from entering the switch, allowing for a lengthy mechanical life. Due to their magnetic nature, the blades are attracted to each other and with enough of a push, the blades will touch, forming an electrical contact. These two blades are the only point of contact within the switch.
Reed switches have many different varying factors, one of which is size. Longer reed switches do not require long-distance blade deflection, allowing for the blade gap to be closed more easily. Shorter reed switches are typically made with thinner materials to allow for easier blade contact. These small switches allow for small relays to be constructed, a critical aspect when space is an issue. Reed switches are used to generate electricity in a circuit. The generation of electricity inside a circuit is critical, making reed switch a necessity to operate to anything with a circuit board such as an aircraft or a vehicle.
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