Units are becoming smaller and lighter even as makers enhance functionality.
China suppliers of relays and other switches are rolling out smarter, high-capacity solutions in line with the trend for increased automation in vehicles. Such models are typically designed for lighting, wiper, security, safety and diagnostic systems.
In combination switches, the selection now includes a number of designs that support controls for automatically turning headlights on and off depending on ambient lighting conditions. These enable front illumination systems to activate instantly at nighttime and under poor weather conditions.
Several companies have also introduced units that work with sensors to stop windows from rising when an obstruction is detected. Such products help prevent hands and other body parts from being caught in the window’s path and injured.
Meanwhile, relay manufacturers are developing more voltage-sensitive versions for recreational vehicles. VSRs enable automatic charging of the starting and house batteries simultaneously when the cut-in voltage of the former reaches a specific level.
When the voltage drops to a certain point, these devices disconnect the two power sources.
Aopec Automotive Electronics Co. Ltd is among the companies already offering VSRs. Its selection includes units with a cut-in voltage of 13.3 or 25.6V and cut-out voltage of 12.8 or 25.6V.
To support the power requirements of the electronic systems now being fitted into cars and other vehicles, suppliers are releasing more switches with voltage ratings higher than 24V. These products currently account for more than 50 percent of existing designs.
Amid efforts to enhance performance, size remains a key consideration in R&D. Keeping constructions compact allows a greater number of switches to be fitted into a vehicle should it be needed. Weight is also a concern given fuel efficiency concerns.
Combination types as small as 14.3x7.5x13.8mm, for example, are now available. Versions as light as 15g are offered, while single relays come in 4g constructions.
At several enterprises, visual appeal is also factored into product development. This has yielded units in various hues to match or complement vehicle interiors. Besides black and white, choices now include red, blue and green. Transparent housings in certain shades are also an option.
Some manufacturers have redesigned the structure of their aftermarket models to fit seamlessly into the car.
Releases in coming months will continue to target North America and the EU. A number of companies are also looking into business opportunities in the Middle East, South America and Asia.
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