- on Miscellaneous Electronics
- Published in issue 12/2003 on page 0
Reducing Relay Power Consumption
Relays are often used as electrically controlled switches. Unlike transistors, their switch contacts are electrically isolated from the control input. On the other hand, the power dissipation in a relay coil may be unattractive for battery-operated applications. Adding an analogue switch lowers the dissipation, allowing the relay to operate at a lower voltage. The circuit diagram shows the principle. Power consumed by the relay coil equals V2/RCOIL. The circuit lowers this dissipation (after actuation) by applying less than the normal operating voltage of 5 V.