Blog: Kirsting.com Electrical Basics Of Switches When the word “electrical” is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind are switches. Switches are electrical components that are supposed to break an electrical circuit, divert current from one conductor to another or to interrupt the flow of current. There are many modes of operating switches, for example, direct operation through human hands, device controlled operation, and the like. The most common type of switch is the manually controlled electromechanical version. A switch has two states – open and closed. In the open state, the flow of current is obstructed as the circuit remains open. In the closed state, the circuit is complete and current flows freely: this is what in layman’s terms can be referred to as the device being “switched on”. There are all sorts of switches available that suit the needs of equipment, users and most importantly the function the switch has to perform. Normally in public places what you would see are anti-vandal switches. The name suggests their resistance to vandalism in the sense that they can withstand extreme performance conditions like heavy rain, heat, impacts, etc. that are akin to public places. A very apt example of this kind of installation would be the one seen on pedestrian crossings. An anti-vandal switch is able to withstand heavy abuse by the public. A tamper-proof switch is counted as an anti-vandal switch type which can only be operated by authorized personnel. They may be in control of special functions such as those in a voting machine.