Dual Inline Package Switch

What Does Dual Inline Package Switch Mean?

A dual inline package switch (DIP switch) is a set of manual electrical switches designed to hold configurations and select the interrupt request (IRQ). DIP switches are used in place of jumper blocks. Most motherboards have several DIP switches or a single bank of DIP switches. Commonly, DIP switches are used to hold configuration settings.

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Normally DIP switches are found on motherboards, expansion cards or auxiliary cards. They consist of tiny rectangular components that contain parallel rows of terminals (terminal pins) and a connecting mechanism to the circuit board.

Programmable chips on a computer and extra self-configuration hardware have drastically eliminated the need for DIP switches. The trend is for settings can be accessed through a software control panel, allowing for easier and more convenient changes.

Techopedia Explains Dual Inline Package Switch

DIP switches were originally used to select the IRQ and memory addresses for ISA PC cards; they were mostly mounted on printed circuit boards but were also used to store settings in many arcade games and set security codes in garage door openers and wireless telephones.

There are many types of DIP switches. Two of the most common are:

  • Slide and Rocker Actuator DIP Switches: These are typical on/off switches with a SPST (single-pole, single-throw) contacts. They have a one-bit binary value with a standard ASCII character.
  • Rotary DIP Switch: This DIP switch has several electrical contacts which are rotated and aligned. They switches can be small or large and provide a selection of switching combinations.

Less common DIP switches are SPDT (double pole single throw), DPST (double pole single throw), DPDT (double pole double throw) MPST (multiple-pole, single-throw) and MTSP (multiple-throw, single-pole) DIP switches.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.