Glossary Definition for Relay

Glossary Term: Relay 

Definition

A relay is an electromagnetic switching device consisting of an armature which is moved by an electromagnet to operate one or more switch contacts.

Some advantages of relays are that they provide amplification and isolation and are straightforward. They can switch difficult voltages (e.g. RF or high-powered AC) with complete isolation and no worries about level translation.

Relay disadvantages, compared to solid-state switching, include power efficiency, noise (both mechanical and electrical, including "contact bounce"), size, speed, and reliability. Analog switches are commonly used instead of relays in signal switching applications.

Driving a relay can be tricky because it's an inductive load. Special relay drivers are often used. Contact bounce is another issue. Search the Maxim site for the term "relay" to see application notes on relay driving and for relay driving products.

Keywords

switch, relay, analog switch, contactor, 
Related Parts
  • MAX4822 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Relay Drivers with Fast Recovery Time and Power-Save Mode
  • MAX4823 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Relay Drivers with Fast Recovery Time and Power-Save Mode
  • MAX4824 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Relay Drivers with Fast Recovery Time and Power-Save Mode
  • MAX4825 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Relay Drivers with Fast Recovery Time and Power-Save Mode
  • MAX4886 - Quad, High-Speed HDMI/DVI 2:1 Digital Video Switch
  • MAX4820 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Cascadable Relay Drivers with Serial/Parallel Interface
  • MAX4821 - +3.3V/+5V, 8-Channel, Cascadable Relay Drivers with Serial/Parallel Interface
See Also
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