Advantages of Tilt switch | disadvantages of Tilt switch or sensor

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Tilt switch or tilt sensor. It mentions Tilt switch advantages or benefits and Tilt switch disadvantages or drawbacks.

What is Tilt switch?

• Both tilt switch and tilt sensor are used for same function. It becomes ON or OFF based on degree of tilt or inclination. Tilt switch is an electromechanical switch where as tilt sensor is an electronic device.
• The tilt sensors are classified as single axis/single output, dual axis/dual output and dual axis/single output.
• Most of the tilt switches are SPST type with either normally open or normally closed.
• Mercury based tilt switch is the oldest type as mercury is the excellent electrical conductor. It uses blob of mercury in a glass bulb. When the bulb is tilted it makes contact with the two leads and as a result current flows when this tilt switch is connected in series with the battery. Due to environmental hazards and other regulatory issues, mercury based tilt switches are replaced by ball type tilt switches or tilt sensors.

Mercury Tilt Switch Ball type tilt switch

The figure-1 depicts both mercury type and ball type of tilt switches. The advantages and disadvantages vary based on different types of tilt switches or sensors.
Refer Tilt sensor basics and types >>.

Benefits or advantages of Tilt switch or tilt sensor

Following are the benefits or advantages of Tilt switch or tilt sensor:
➨Mercury based tilt switch: It is available at low cost and easy to use. It offers very long operating life. It offers low resistance and quiet operation.
➨Ball type tilt switch: This switch type offers multiple contacts and hence tilt direction can be determined. Moreover these switches are less toxic compare to mercury switches.
➨Tilt switches are very small in size.
➨They consume low power for its operation.
➨If properly used, they will not wear out.
➨It is very easy to interface with microcontroller and used for various analysis by writing a simple code.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Tilt switch or tilt sensor

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Tilt switch or tilt sensor:
➨Mercury based tilt switch: Mercury is hazardous due to its toxic nature.
➨Ball type tilt switch (Drawbacks):
• 1. When this tilt switch is subjected to current above its rated specification, arcing may erode its contacts and it will become less reliable.
• 2. The vibration of balls from one position to the other will create erratic or random signals.
➨They require gravity for its operation (i.e. to roll a ball or to move a blob of mercury). Hence these switches will not work under low gravity, reversed gravity or zero gravity conditions.
➨Performance of tilt switch in a vehicle which accelerates or decelerates suddenly may also be unreliable.
➨Tilt switches deliver erroneous results under significant vibration conditions.

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