Pickering Electronics Blog

Contact Abuse

Posted by Graham Dale on Sep 15, 2016 12:30:00 PM

Relays are sometimes considered slightly mundane and often little thought is given to them, which occasionally causes vulnerabilities. This blog post discusses contact abuse and will help you maximise the reliability of your design whilst using Reed Relays


High current or high power inrushes are the most damaging and most frequent cause of contact damage. Reed Relays have specified maximum Current, Voltage and Power ratings. The Power figure is simply the product of the voltage across the open contacts before closure and the instantaneous current as they first make.

We at Pickering have lost count of the number of times that we have heard something like “I was only switching 5 volts at 50 milliamps onto this CMOS logic board” when the user has completely disregarded the current inrush into the liberal sprinkling of decoupling capacitors and several micro-Farads of reservoir capacitance on that board.

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Topics: Reed Relays, contact abuse, Current Inrush