There are only four main parts in a relay. They are
- Movable Armature
- Switch point contacts
The figures given below show the actual design of a simple relay.
It is an electro-magnetic relay with a wire coil, surrounded by an iron core. A path of very low reluctance for the magnetic flux is provided for the movable armature and also the switch point contacts. The movable armature is connected to the yoke which is mechanically connected to the switch point contacts. These parts are safely held with the help of a spring. The spring is used so as to produce an air gap in the circuit when the relay becomes de-energized.
How relay works?
The relay function can be better understood by explaining the following diagram given below.
The diagram shows an inner section diagram of a relay. An iron core is surrounded by a control coil. As shown, the power source is given to the electromagnet through a control switch and through contacts to the load. When current starts flowing through the control coil, the electromagnet starts energizing and thus intensifies the magnetic field. Thus the upper contact arm starts to be attracted to the lower fixed arm and thus closes the contacts causing a short circuit for the power to the load. On the other hand, if the relay was already de-energized when the contacts were closed, then the contact move oppositely and make an open circuit.
As soon as the coil current is off, the movable armature will be returned by a force back to its initial position. This force will be almost equal to half the strength of the magnetic force. This force is mainly provided by two factors. They are the spring and also gravity.
Relays are mainly made for two basic operations. One is low voltage application and the other is high voltage. For low voltage applications, more preference will be given to reduce the noise of the whole circuit. For high voltage applications, they are mainly designed to reduce a phenomenon called arcing.