Here’s What You Need to Know About Mercury Tilt Switch

Ever wonder what happens inside your video game controllers when you tilt it? Inside there is a tilt sensor capable of detecting an input change like motion, temperature, moisture, pressure, and light. This change of orientation will give a signal to the tilt switch current or voltages.

Aside from video game controllers, you will see tilt switches utilized by other devices like camera, video camera, thermostats, robots, airbags and car security systems. There are different types of tilt switches like subminiature and mercury free tilt switches, ball-in cage switches, capacitive tilt sensors, accelerometers, force balance sensors and force balance sensors.

mercury free tilt switches

In this article, you will know more of the mercury tilt switches. Mercury switches can open and close a circuit using a drop of a liquid metal. There are different kinds of mercury switches but the most popular is the mercury tilt switch.

Here’s what you need to know about mercury tilt switches:


The advantages of mercury tilt switches are the reason why it became popular. One drop of this powerful liquid metal can definitely close a switch. The advantages are as follows:

•The switches are known to be quiet. You do not need to be wary about unwanted sounds. Mercury switches are quiet because the contacts do not brusquely snap together.
• Mercury switches are highly sensitive because of its extraordinary sensing function. Whether it is an automatic or manual operation, its sensitivity to gravity is unquestionable.
•A small drop of mercury can still carry valuable amounts of current.
•The contacts of mercury switches are kept clean. The good thing about mercury switches is it renews every operation so it doesn’t wear out that easily.


When there are advantages there will also be disadvantages. Buyers should be aware of choosing switches. Look at the advantages and disadvantages. If the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, it is up to you to select it. Here are the disadvantages of mercury switches:

•Mercury is highly toxic. Many new applications exclude mercury now because of its health risks.

•Mercury switches operate slowly because of the inertia of mercury drop. This is not suitable for applications that necessitate quicker operating cycles.

•The glass envelopes are delicate therefore it needs flexible leads to avert destruction.

•It has been established that mercury switches are highly sensitive to gravity. This doesn’t make them ideal for mobile devices.


Mercury switches are applicable in many industries. Some industries are:

•Automotive manufacturers in the past used mercury switches for lighting controls and anti-lock braking systems. They stopped the use of mercury switches in the early 2000s because there is a danger of leaking mercury.

•Fall alarms are a helpful notification for people in the construction industry. Tilt switches will sound the alarm if workers in confined spaces fall.

•Mercury tilt switches are also common in electro-mechanical systems or commonly called vending machines. The tilt switches are helpful because it can detect if a person tries to tilt the machine in the event that products are not properly dispensed.


Due to rising environmental and health concerns, the use of mercury is controlled. Mercury is a poisonous metal and it should be considered hazardous waste if it needs to be disposed of. Mercury can be replaced with contact wires and metal balls.