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How do YOU flip a dip switch?

voidstar78

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May 25, 2021
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Texas
So, I search around on this - when you search "how to use a dip switch" you get results that talk about placing it on a breadboard, connecting resistors, and directing flow of electricity, etc.. Which is a perfectly correct answer to the question.


But I'm really trying to ask is: what is the "correct" way to flip the switch on a dip switch.


I know how to flip the dip switches. My question is, how do YOU flip your dip switches?

Some people use a pen, but then that leaves a mark revealing that "someone has mucked with these dip switches!"

Personally, I wouldn't use a needle - but if the power is off, well, maybe that's fine.

I use a toothpick. But, some dip switches are pretty stout and I end up breaking toothpicks. And, a toothpick can still "nick" a dip switch and leave a little mark or indentation.

Maybe those little floss sticks would be better?

Obviously, just use whatever works for whatever situation you're in.

But, is there an "official" way? Is there some $100 purpose built tool, with felt lining that is so posh it won't ever leave any mark and fits perfectly within the slot?


And I'm talking about "normal" dip switches. Hmmm, what's "normal." I suppose I mostly mean those "piano" style DIP switches.

Thoughts? I confess, it annoys me sometimes to see nicked up dip switches, it's like The Three Little Bears Story "someone's been fiddling with my dip switches!"
 

Chuck(G)

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There are three common types--rocker, slide and toggle DIP switches.

I have an awl that I use for all of those. I don't much care for rocker-type switches--too easy to get stuck halfway or worse, broken.

51Ury9y+JWL._AC_SX679_.jpg
 

tradde

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Katy, Tx
I use the pen method. And Yes, it does leave a bit of ink behind. But that doesn't bother me at all.
 

daver2

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UK - Worcester
I use a small flat-bladed screwdriver (commonly known as a watchmakers screwdriver). But I think Al takes the prize for identifying the bespoke tool!

I must admit, I have seen a similar tool being used on a tour of the factory manufacturing our PCB assemblies. Some of our cards have DIP switches (with 'sunken' switches so they are very difficult to operate accidently). It also makes them difficult to operate without the correct tool! The tool they use is antistatic.

Dave
 

SomeGuy

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Marietta, GA
Whatever tool I use will be the WRONG one. Note to self: do not flip dip switches with a hot soldering iron. :p

I would think that ideally one would want some pointy plastic tool to help prevent scratching the switches, especially if they get flipped a lot. But such a tool never seems to be around.
 

maxtherabbit

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VA, USA
I use a small flat-bladed screwdriver (commonly known as a watchmakers screwdriver). But I think Al takes the prize for identifying the bespoke tool!

I must admit, I have seen a similar tool being used on a tour of the factory manufacturing our PCB assemblies. Some of our cards have DIP switches (with 'sunken' switches so they are very difficult to operate accidently). It also makes them difficult to operate without the correct tool! The tool they use is antistatic.

Dave

also use the jeweler's screwdriver, and it cracks me up that the bespoke "tool" is just a fake pen
 

jlang

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I use the pointed end of a HEXACON soldering aid. Nice hi temp plastic. it leaves no proof behind ;^)
It's been in my tool box for about 50 years....

joe
 

norwestrzh

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mount vernon, wa
>> Some people use a pen, but then that leaves a mark revealing that "someone has mucked with these dip switches!"

What's wrong with that? It might be critical information that someone "has mucked with the switch"? AND, the mark left behind could also help a person see which way the switch has been set (as in looking at a photo where it is difficult to see which side of the switch has been depressed (assuming a "rocker type" DIP switch))?

Roger
 

Chuck(G)

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I've never understood why manufacturers of slide-type DIP switches don't color the sides of the slider differently, so that you can see the settings immediately and visibly. Probably shaving a tenth of a cent or two, is my guess.
 

Eudimorphodon

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Thoughts? I confess, it annoys me sometimes to see nicked up dip switches, it's like The Three Little Bears Story "someone's been fiddling with my dip switches!"

When you consider that for most applications a DIP switch is likely to get touched all of once during the product's lifetime it seems like a pretty silly thing to get wound up about. And in that case maybe a nick is good, it lets you know instantly when you look at the card that someone set it to something other than the default.

Frankly if I had a dingus that required me to pound on the DIP switches constantly I might almost rather have jumpers. I could sub the regular ones for those ones with the long easy-to-grab tails on them.
 

jafir

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I've never understood why manufacturers of slide-type DIP switches don't color the sides of the slider differently, so that you can see the settings immediately and visibly. Probably shaving a tenth of a cent or two, is my guess.

I think the engineers at my company have finally stopped putting dip switches on the equipment I have to service. I always have to stare at both the switch and manual for a few seconds before I can figure out which direction I need to go.... the switches are white, but in a black and white manual, is the white box the switch, or is the black printing the switch? :)

They've actually done everything they can to make it clear, even writing the words ON and OFF in the manual above each switch position and giving an example near the front of the manual showing ON and OFF with arrows, but it still takes a second to overcome seeing the white switch as black print.

dip switches.jpg
 

voidstar78

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May 25, 2021
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Texas
When you consider that for most applications a DIP switch is likely to get touched all of once during the product's lifetime it seems like a pretty silly thing to get wound up about. And in that case maybe a nick is good, it lets you know instantly when you look at the card that someone set it to something other than the default.

Fair point :)


I used to use the 5150 onboard dip switches to throttle the system back down to 64KB, 256KB, etc. to verify which programs would still run. And for sure, that's not a suite of dips you want to break. But since then I discovered EATMEM.COM, so less need for that.

Clean dip switches run faster, it's good practice like using premium blinker fluid. :p

Appreciate all the great idea, the awl or an old stylus are great. Can 3d print one of those stylus these days! For the awl, placing metal inside the case makes me a little nervous (such as if you're hands aren't all that steady - I'm not quite there yet, but the day's coming I'm sure)
 
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