Kathir Sudhir Automation India

Kathir Sudhir Automation India Pvt Ltd

Electronics Instruments Manufacturer & System Integrator for Automation Solutions

How do you control a linear Actuator with Different switches

Linear actuators are versatile devices used to create motion in a straight line, ideal for applications ranging from home automation to industrial machinery. Controlling a linear actuator involves more than just applying power; using various types of switches can add functionality and precision to your projects. In this blog post, we’ll explore different ways to control a linear actuator with various switches, enhancing your ability to create sophisticated and responsive systems.

linear Actuator

Understanding Linear Actuators

Before diving into the control methods, it’s important to understand the basic operation of a linear actuator. Typically, a linear actuator consists of a motor, a lead screw, and a sliding tube. When the motor runs, it rotates the lead screw, which moves the sliding tube in a linear motion.

Key Components of a Linear Actuator System:

  1. Power Supply: Provides the necessary voltage and current.
  2. Motor: Drives the actuator.
  3. Lead Screw: Converts rotational motion to linear motion.
  4. Limit Switches: Prevents over-travel by cutting off power at the ends of the actuator’s range.

Types of Switches to Control Linear Actuators

There are several types of switches you can use to control a linear actuator, each providing different levels of control and functionality.

1. Momentary Switches


Momentary switches are simple on/off switches that only remain active while being pressed. They return to their default state once released.


  • Manual Control: Ideal for applications requiring direct, manual control over the actuator’s movement, such as adjusting a TV lift or a standing desk.

Wiring Example:

Connect the switch to the actuator’s power lines. Pressing the switch will move the actuator in one direction, and releasing it will stop the motion. Using a DPDT (Double Pole Double Throw) momentary switch can allow for reversing the direction.

2. Rocker Switches


Rocker switches stay in the position they are moved to, maintaining their state until manually changed.


  • Fixed Position Control: Useful for applications where you need the actuator to move to a position and stay there without continuous user input.

Wiring Example:

Wire the rocker switch to control the polarity of the power supply to the actuator. In one position, the actuator extends, and in the other, it retracts.

3. Limit Switches


Limit switches are used to automatically stop the actuator when it reaches a predefined position.


  • Safety and Precision: Essential in applications where precise stopping points are crucial, such as in robotics or automated machinery.

Wiring Example:

Integrate limit switches at the desired stopping points along the actuator’s path. When the actuator reaches the switch, it cuts off the power, preventing further movement.

4. Toggle Switches


Toggle switches can maintain their state indefinitely, offering a stable on/off control mechanism.


  • On/Off Control: Suitable for simple on/off control without the need for holding the switch, useful in applications like opening and closing a hatch.

Wiring Example:

Wire the toggle switch in series with the actuator. Flipping the switch to the ‘on’ position will extend or retract the actuator, while flipping it back will stop the movement.

5. Push Button Switches


Push button switches are momentary switches that engage when pressed and disengage when released.


  • Precise Manual Control: Good for applications needing brief, controlled movements, like fine-tuning the position of a component.

Wiring Example:

Connect the push button switch to the actuator’s power supply. Pressing the button will move the actuator, and releasing it will stop it.

6. Wireless Remote Control Switches


Wireless remote control switches allow for remote operation of the actuator via RF signals.


  • Remote Control: Ideal for applications where manual operation is inconvenient or impossible, such as remotely adjusting solar panels.

Wiring Example:

Connect the wireless receiver to the actuator’s power lines. The remote can then control the actuator from a distance, providing both extend and retract commands.

Combining Switches for Advanced Control

In many applications, you might find that a combination of switches provides the best control solution. For example, you could use a rocker switch for basic extend/retract functions, paired with limit switches for precise stopping points, and a wireless remote for convenient operation from a distance.

Example Setup:

  1. Rocker Switch for Manual Control: Connect a DPDT rocker switch to the actuator for basic extend/retract functions.
  2. Limit Switches for Safety: Install limit switches at the endpoints to prevent over-travel.
  3. Wireless Remote for Convenience: Add a wireless receiver for remote control capabilities.


Controlling a linear actuator with different types of switches can greatly enhance the functionality and usability of your projects. Whether you need simple manual control, precise stopping points, or remote operation, there’s a switch solution to meet your needs. By understanding how each switch works and integrating them effectively, you can create sophisticated and responsive systems that leverage the full potential of linear actuators.