Contact points

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Contact points is the name of the rivet making electrical contact in small relays and switches. It is also used as the name for the metal pad that makes contact in larger contactors. The ones designed for carrying a small signal and low currents and made up of silver, palladium or alloys of those. For really weak signals gold plated silver is usually used to keep contact resistance down and get a good contact. At currents above 20 mA silver is self cleansing and gold plate is undesirable. Don't expect to find gold plate if the current switched is higher.

For high power switching silver, silver tungsten or silver molybdenum alloys are used, look at contactors.

Low cost and cheap equipment some times uses silver plate or very thin silver on copper to keep costs down. Usually found as switches on lamps and other cheap equipment.

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