If the electrical circuit for devices requiring a high amperage consists of a power source, a switch, and a light bulb that are directly connected, the switch and the wiring harness must be of a high capacity that can withstand the high amperage. However, through the use of a low-amperage current, a switch can turn a relay ON and OFF, which in turn, can apply the high amperage that flows to turn the light bulb ON and OFF.
The diagram on the left describes the mechanism of a relay. When the switch closes, the current flows between points 1 and 2, thus magnetizing the coil. The magnetic force of the coil attracts the moving contact between points 3 and 4. As a result, points 3 and 4 close and allow the current to flow to the light bulb. Thus, through the use of a relay, the switch and the wiring harness to the switch can be of a low capacity.
A thin metal strip which burns out when too much current flows through it, thereby stopping current flow and protecting a circuit from damage.
A heavy-gauge wire placed in high amperage circuits which burns out on overloads, thereby protecting the circuit.
Fuses in circuit diagrams appear as shown in the right side in the illustration.
Types of relays
Relays are classified into the following types, depending on how they open or close:
1. Normally open type:
This type normally opens, and closes only when the coil is energized.
2. Normally closed type:
This type normally closes, and opens only when the coil is energized.
3. Double throw type:
This type switches between two contacts, depending on the state of the coil.