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What Is a Selector Switch?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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A selector switch is a device that is typically connected to other devices, often electronic audio or video input and output devices, and used to switch between these different devices. There are different types of switches used with different types of devices. For example, an audio or speaker switch can be used to connect multiple sets of speakers to a single audio output device, such as a radio receiver and amplifier, and then used to switch which set the audio signal is sent to. This switch is also commonly used with television sets and multiple input devices, such as media players, video game consoles, and cameras.

The term “selector switch” can refer to a number of different devices, though they typically have a common configuration and serve similar purposes. Most switches are designed as a small box, the size often dictated by the number of devices that can connect to it. On one side of the device there is typically space for multiple input and output connections, based on the type of devices that can be connected to it. The selector switch usually has a number of buttons, which each correspond to a different input or output connection, and the push of a button changes what signal is utilized.

An audio selector switch, for example, can be used to connect a single audio output device to multiple sets of speakers. Most audio devices, such as a radio receiver and amplifier, are designed to support a set number of speakers, and excess speakers can potentially damage the system. By using a speaker switch, however, multiple sets of speakers can be connected to a single audio output device. The switch can then be used to indicate what set the audio signal is being sent to, allowing a single setup to provide audio inside a living room, outside on a patio, or upstairs in a home.

Another common selector switch is one used for multiple video inputs that are connected to a single television screen. While many televisions have multiple input connections, these may not always be sufficient for all of the devices a person wishes to connect to it. Multiple input devices, such as video game consoles, media players, video cameras, and computers can be connected to this type of switch, which is then connected to a television. This allows a simple push of a button to change which device signal is received by the television, and more complicated switches can even connect numerous devices to multiple television sets.

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