ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Reed switch without coil. This is an electrical component that is placed in a circuit to allow the circuit to be switched on and off by completing or breaking the circuit. Inside the glass tube are two springy metal contacts that are normally not in contact (the circuit is said to be broken). The contacts are brought together (the switch is said to be turned on) either by an electromagnet or by a permanent magnet (not seen) that magnetizes the contacts. This causes them to attract each other and bend to make contact. When the magnetism is lost, the contacts spring apart. For a reed switch with its electromagnetic coil, see T355/243.
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