Electromechanical Relays. Mechatronics ECE 5320 Assignment #1 Paul Smart. Outline. Why Electromechanical Relays? Common Applications of Electromechanical Relays The Principle Behind Electromechanical Relays What’s Inside an Electromechanical Relay Typical Sample Application
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Mechatronics ECE 5320
A relay is similar to a switch, it is either open or closed. When the switch is open no current passes through the relay, the circuit is open, and the load that is connected to the relay receives no power. When a relay is closed, the circuit is completed and current passes through the relay and delivers power to the load.
To open and close a relay an electromagnet is used. When the coil controlling the electromagnet is given a voltage, the electromagnet causes the contacts in the relay to connect and transfer current through the relay.
This diagram shows the basic parts of an electromechanical relay: a spring, moveable armature, electromagnet, moveable contact, and stationary contact. The spring keeps the two contacts separated until the electromagnet is energized, pulling the two contacts together.
This diagram shows how to wire an electromechanical relay. When the control circuit turns the electromagnet on, the moveable armature is drawn towards the electromagnet and connects the moveable contact and the stationary contact. This completes the circuit and delivers power to the load.
To Control Circuit
Suppose, there is a need to control a solenoid valve for a water drain application. Control is to be accomplished with a microcontroller. The solenoid valve requires 120 VAC to open. Assuming that a 120 VAC power supply is available, how can control of the solenoid valve be accomplished using a microcontroller that can only supply 5 VDC?
This problem is easily solved using a relay. There are many relays that are turned on and off with a 5 VDC coil. The relay provides the interface between the microcontroller and the 120 VAC power supply that is needed to open and close the valve.
Circuit for Control of a 120 VAC Solenoid Valve
Electromechanical relays are an excellent solution to separate electronic control circuitry and power circuitry. Electromechanical relays are not the best choice in high frequency switching applications and do have a limited life due to wear on the contacts inside the relay. When used in the a proper application, the electromechanical relay provides safe and reliable integration between power circuits and control circuits.