What Is a Momentary Action Switch?

••• teptong/iStock/GettyImages

A momentary action switch is a classification in electronics. It describes an electronic switch's contact type, or how a device is instructed to produce an electric charge. Momentary action switches, as the name suggests, are temporarily activated by applied force and returned to normal when the force is removed.

Function of Switches

Switches are electrical components designed to unite or break an electrical circuit for the purpose of disrupting a current or diverting it to another conductor. They typically have one or more pairs of contacts that can be either closed (the internal wires are connected, allowing an electric flow) or open (the wires are separated, nonconducting an electric flow) contacts.

Function of Momentary Action Switches

Momentary action switches turn a process on and off when force is applied and then removed. The applied force makes the circuit closed and the removed force returns them to being open, in its usual position. Commonly found examples are doorbells, car horns and laser pointers.


The trigger for momentary action switches is usually a button but the method of operation could be a key, slide or toggle. Switches can be designed to indicate this momentary action by a light or sound.

Related Articles

How it Works: Voltage Relay
What Is an Electric Relay?
How Does a Solenoid Work?
What Are the Functions of a Zener Diode?
AC Vs. DC Solenoids & How They Work
What Is an Open Diode?
The Uses of NPN Transistors
How to Store Energy by Using Dynamo
How Does a Pneumatic Solenoid Valve Work?
How to Install a Shunt-Trip Circuit Breaker
Uses of Photocells
How Does a Latching Relay Work?
What Is a Flyback Diode?
How Do Push Button Switches Work in an Electrical Circuit?
What Is a Varactor Diode?
Characteristics of a Diode Detector
How to Make an Electrical Circuit with Paper Clips
How a Solenoid Pump Works
How Hydraulic Pilot Valves Work