Switch Locks – Are They Locks or a Switch?

Switch locks are both a lock and a switch. The locking part can be anything from an inexpensive single or double bitted lock to a high security lock. They are based on the popular cam lock design. On the rear is the actual switch that is activated when the key is turned.

The switch can have multiple functions and comes in many different designs being made of different types of materials. The type of switch used is determined by what it is supposed to operate. If it is to open a security gate then the switch contacts could be made out of a silver coated material; however, let’s say that the switch is to be used to launch a missile; it would be constructed out of a high grade material usually with gold plating.

The switch itself comes in multiple functions such as:


  • On-Off function where power is supplied as long as the switch is in the on position
  • Momentary function is where the key is turned to the on position then it springs back
  • On-Off-On function is where the switch would have two operations depending on which way the key is turned


The switch could also be single, double or multiple operations with each having its own application. For example a multiple switch can operate many items with a single turn of the key. They can also be set to operate in a certain sequence. The connection to the switch can be by wire being either soldered or attached to the switch terminals. The switch could also be directly connected to a PC circuit board or computer.

The lock part of the switch lock is made very similar to a cam lock. It can be made from zinc alloy or brass coated in multiple coatings. In the missile launching example I gave above a high security switch lock would be used such as the Medeco High Security Lock. These types of locks give a high level of key control and are patented. They are also highly pick resistant and offer a high degree of physical security. china cam lock

Type of Locks Used:


  • High Security-Provides the highest level security
  • Double Bitted-Provides a medium level of security
  • Single Bitted-Provides an economical utility type of security


Switch locks are now being made with some type of electronic control instead of a key. It could be a push button, card access, biometric or even RFID. Switch locks will always provide an electrical way to operate a mechanical device.

George Uliano is a security professional with law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds 3 patents on different Padlock and Cam Lock designs. This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide “The Right Lock” with The Right Security” at the “Right Price”.


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