Our automotive relays are engineered for DC voltages in passenger comfort and infotainment systems and power levels in harsh environments. Automotive relays are used in almost all harnesses and box-modules through a vehicle, including the car’s rear and front area, passenger and engine areas, body control, powertrain, and roof, seat, door, and fan modules. Our portfolio is designed to provide switching functions that support modern electrical conveniences and advanced safety features in today’s vehicles. Our standard and customized relays provide critical switching functions in automobiles, trucks, buses, and commercial, construction, and off-road vehicles. Our automotive relay types include plug-in relays, PCB relays, high-current relays and high-voltage relays, including automotive contactors. With decades of experience in worldwide support for relay development and production, we offer application support from relay specialists.
Looking to better understand the technical terms used for relays? This guide defines the key terms, including bistable relay, coil operative range, contact arrangement, derating curve, operate voltage, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
High-Voltage Automotive Relays and Contactors
Q: What is the difference between a relay and a contactor?
A: In general, both terms designate an electromechanical switching device, working on the same physical principle, where a coil is used to generate a magnetic force that mechanically operates an electric contact. While the term relays is widely used in various industries for low and medium power devices, the term contactor is more common in the high power area. The magnetic “motor” is typically realized with a plunger in the center of the coil body for contactors, as opposed to a hinged armature design, which is normally used for relays.
Q: The new generation of contactors works without a gas-filling. What is the advantage of non gas-filled contactors? Can a gas filled contactor rupture?
A: In order to protect the switching contacts, and to support a quick extinguishing of switching arcs, many contactors are filled with pressurized inert gas. Nitrogen or Hydrogen is commonly used, SF6 (Sulfur-hexafluoride) is also applied, mainly in industrial applications. On the flip side, a pressurized gas filling requires a lot more effort in the design and the manufacturing process, to ensure a reliable holding of the gas throughout the lifetime of the contactor. As such contactors must be hermetically sealed by nature, it also bears the risk of rupture, when extremely strong arcing – in case of high over-currents or short-circuits – generates excess gas pressure inside the contact chamber.TE’s latest contactor designs therefore work with no inert gas, also eliminating the need for a hermetic seal. These designs are still environmentally protected against pollution and allow a gas exchange and an equalization of inside and outside pressure, which practically eliminates the risk of rupture in case of extreme arcing. Link to EVC 250 Video.
Overview video featuring our next generation of contactors. TE's EVC 250 is a compact, high-voltage contactor used in hybrid, full-electric and fuel cell vehicles, on-board charging systems and works without pressurized contact chambers.
Automotive Relay Types
PWM Relays and ISO Relays
A pulse width modulation (PWM) relay is essentially a relay that utilizes solid state control to operate. In addition, the use of a PWM is typically employed to regulate the power requirements of the relay coil hold current. This, in turn, helps in reducing heat dissipated by the relay coil. This method is generally employed for coil hold power efficiency and heat reduction of the relay coil and overall structure.
ISO mini relays are manufactured with a 1” cube body and feature four pins, or terminals, on the body. Also referred to as a make-and-break relay, it has only one high current circuit, and a contact that is either closed or open, depending on whether the relay is at rest or energized. When a contact is broken with the relay at rest, this is called Normally Open (NO), while if the contact is closed with the relay at rest the relay is Normally Closed (NC). NO relays are more common than NC relays. A standard relay with one circuit closed when the relay is closed and the other is closed with the relay is energized, is called a changeover relay and has 5 pins. Standard relays are commonly used in vehicle electrical systems.
From automotive relays and interconnects to cable assemblies and sensors, we make the rugged, reliable connectivity solutions that can address the complex power requirements for today's automobiles. Our solutions are engineered to withstand harsh environments and manufactured to tolerate high temperature, vibration, shock, and pressure for long-life in electronic control systems. Download this catalog to learn more about our solutions for automotive power distribution.