We are excited to announce that Chibitronics now carries reed switches, which are useful for creating surprising special effects in your paper circuit projects!
What’s a Reed Switch?
A reed switch is a small electrical component containing two thin fibers that are highly susceptible to magnetization. In the most common type of reed switch, called a “normally open” reed switch, these thin contacts usually contain an opening or gap between them, as illustrated in the diagram below.
When integrated into a circuit, this open gap prevents electricity from flowing through the switch unless a magnet is placed nearby. For this reason, we’ll be referring to this type of reed switch as a “magnet on” reed switch. When a magnet is placed on or near this type of switch, magic happens!
If a magnet is within range, the force of its magnetic field causes the fibers inside of the “normally open”/ “magnet on” reed switch to move closer together until they touch, closing the opening and forming a connection that allows electricity to flow through it. When this happens, and the circuit closes, you’ll notice some sort of actuation in the circuit, such as the lighting of an LED, the turning of a motor, or even the sound of a buzzer!
When the magnet is pulled away from the reed switch, the fibers move apart again, recreating the opening that was there before. With the switch now open, the flow of electricity within the circuit is once again disrupted.
To learn more about reed switches, or how to make a magic wand that triggers a reed switch in a circuit, visit Magical Magnetism: Intro to Reed Switches (Magnet On).
Check out these fun project ideas made using Reed Switches (Magnet On):
See how Jill Dawson creates a magnetic magic wand to light up a circuit containing a reed switch.
See how Melissa Goodman uses a magnetic elephant to light up a pair of balloons, using a reed switch hidden beneath a cloud.
See how Yukiko Inami uses a magnetic ghost on a string to alternate between a light up a moon and a glowing jack-o-lantern, with help from two reed switches hidden beneath the scene.
See how Melissa Goodman uses a magnetic frog to light up flowers, using a reed switch hidden beneath a lily pad.
See how Melissa Goodman uses a magnetic bee to light up some buzzing bees, using a reed switch hidden beneath a flower.
See how Yukiko Sugiyama uses interchangeable, magnetic text bubbles to light up a cauldron, bat, and stars, using a hidden reed switch.
See how Jill Dawson uses a magnetic flower to light up a fluttering concertina (accordion book), using a reed switch hidden in the front cover.
Happy Crafting! 🙂