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Can I use a AC switch in my DC project? Answered

I'm trying to install LED lights in and around my car. Can I use a AC switch in a DC circuit/system? The AC switch is rated as 10A 125V AC / 8A 125V / 4A 250V AC / 1/3 HP 125V AC. I plan on putting the switch between the 12v DC car battery and the 12v DC to 5v 5a DC regulator (which then powers the microcontroller and LEDs). Is this doable and safe?

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mpilchfamily

Best Answer 4 years ago

Calculate the wattage. So a switch rated for 125V @ 10A it can handle over 1200 watts. As long as your DC circuit isn't using more wattage than that you'll be fine.

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anuvanoobmpilchfamily

Answer 4 years ago

Outstanding! The wattage shouldn't top 50 watts (5V 10A) for the initial phase of the project. Thanks.

Is this the case with any basic AC stuff (not converters, regulators, etc.) one would want to use in a DC project (i.e., the wattage factor)?

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mpilchfamilyanuvanoob

Answer 4 years ago

A switch is neither AC or DC but can handle both. What kind of 'AC Stuff' are you talking about?

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CaptainJester

5 weeks ago

Please do not listen to the answer selected as the best.

SHORT ANSWER: AC and DC switch ratings are very different.

LONG ANSWER: This information is not correct. When it comes to switches it is more than about the raw power the materials can handle. It is also about switching speed. When you flip a switch in DC an arc occurs and if the switch does not switch fast enough the switch will wear down quickly over time until it just burns out or catches fire. Since AC is constantly switching direction no arc will last more than 1/60th of a second, so it can handle more switching current. There are demonstrations of this effect on You Tube. You can also read about it here: https://www.electronicdesign.com/analog/choosing-right-switch-know-your-ac-your-dc