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Old 27-06-2009, 00:47   #1
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Switches - Is Up 'On' or 'Off'?

I am just in the middle of making my new switch panel and became interested to know what CF members thought of the rationale of toggle switch positions with regard to ON & OFF.

In Oz, it is customary to move the lever DOWN to switch the circuit ON.

What direction do you move the switch on your boat (or your country).

I am comfortable with either direction as in my field (avionics), it is customary to move the lever UP to switch the circuit ON and correct me if I am wrong but I understand this is the norm. in the USA.
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Old 27-06-2009, 01:23   #2
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Here if it is unlabeled, then up is ON and down is OFF, just like a light switch!
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Old 27-06-2009, 01:52   #3
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gp: just like a light switch in the u.s. you mean

in a lot of the rest of the world - and certainly most of the former british empire - down is ON
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Old 27-06-2009, 03:12   #4
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Canada: up = on.

Annoying to buy a toggle switch that is not labelled. Only option is to test it before installation in a panel.
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Old 27-06-2009, 04:30   #5
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All the more reason to buy only "Double Throw" switches
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Old 27-06-2009, 04:37   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clearsea View Post
Canada: up = on.
Annoying to buy a toggle switch that is not labelled. Only option is to test it before installation in a panel.
North American (up = "on") SPST switches will have the terminals on the right hand side, when viewed from the front.
A single raised dot (braille ?) indicates the up (on) position on otherwise unlabelled switches.

This is just a matter of convention, so it doesn’t really matter which way you orient your switches; provided you remain consistent, and it makes sense (intuitive) to you.

SPST = Single Pole Single Throw

Note the missing (green) safety ground, in the picture. Tsk, tsk.


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Old 27-06-2009, 06:00   #7
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"Note the missing (green) safety ground, in the picture. Tsk, tsk."

And you won't, it's house wire in the picture. In Ontario it'salled NMD-7 wire. The ground is a bare wire that is attached to the ground screw on the box.
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Old 27-06-2009, 07:01   #8
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... it's house wire in the picture. In Ontario it's called NMD-7 wire. The ground is a bare wire that is attached to the ground screw on the box.
Right.

A single-pole switch has two brass screw terminals. Both are hot leads for one incoming and one outgoing line (black). Those are all the wires that connect to the switch.

The neutral wires (white) tie together separately and the ground wires tie together separately in the box.

Many new switches include a (green) ground screw; others may not have one. If you have the choice, get a switch with a ground screw terminal. That's where the bare copper or green wire connects (& box gnd).

I can't see a (bare) ground wire in the first picture I posted.
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Old 27-06-2009, 10:17   #9
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In the great state of Georgia. On = Up.
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Old 30-06-2009, 03:17   #10
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If you use the down = on for your panel, then you will confuse all the north americans and slow them down if they try to steal your boat.
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Old 30-06-2009, 07:10   #11
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Down is on

Yup, you have all resolved it. My visits throughout Africa, UK, etc. have all light switches down for on, whereas in the USA, the opposite applies. Wait until you try and sort out which plugs fits for what country's electrical outlet. That's fun.
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Old 30-06-2009, 07:29   #12
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Right.

A single-pole switch has two brass screw terminals. Both are hot leads for one incoming and one outgoing line (black). Those are all the wires that connect to the switch.

The neutral wires (white) tie together separately and the ground wires tie together separately in the box.

Many new switches include a (green) ground screw; others may not have one. If you have the choice, get a switch with a ground screw terminal. That's where the bare copper or green wire connects (& box gnd).

I can't see a (bare) ground wire in the first picture I posted.

Hey Gord:

I believe that I see the bare ground wire connected to the box's right side mounting screw.
I feel better. How about you??
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Old 30-06-2009, 11:15   #13
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I am just in the middle of making my new switch panel and became interested to know what CF members thought of the rationale of toggle switch positions with regard to ON & OFF.

.
If something falls against the switches or sweeps the face of the panel would you prefer that the switches be turned on or off!
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Old 01-07-2009, 02:43   #14
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Ahh... I knew if I waited long enough, someone would bring this up.

So if I fall against the panel, I want everything to turn ON. That way, I will know from all the lights, strobes, pumps kicking in etc that I have "done" something. As none of the circuits are life threating, then it is a sort of "failsafe" mode.

But I like Capt58's reasonong also .
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Old 01-07-2009, 08:02   #15
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Either direction is perfectly ok, but you should choose one way and stick with it throughout. Also, some of the reasoning for up being on is that it's more difficult to accidentally flip a switch upward than it is to accidentally hit it downward.
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