Key switch

A key switch (sometimes called a lock switch to distinguish it from a keyswitch) is a switch that can be activated only by the use of a key. They are usually used in situations where access needs to be restricted to the switch's functions.

Key switches are available as components with solder connections, and are available with a variety of ampere ratings. They may use tubular or other specially-shaped keys for extra security.[1]

Key switches have been used for a variety of purposes, up to and including the launch of nuclear missiles.[2]

In less secure applications such as corridor and restroom lighting controls in public buildings, tamper-resistant switches with a simpler key mechanism may be used instead.[3][4]


  1. "Key switches". Maplin Electronics. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  2. "Simulation of a Peacekeeper missile launch". Defence Imagery. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  3. "Low-Cost Security Measures for School Facilities" (PDF). National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  4. "Product Bulletin for 30 Amp AC Toggle Switches". Leviton. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
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