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SP and DP refer to single pole and double pole, ST and DT refer to single throw and double throw.

Pole refers to the number of circuits controlled by the switch: SP switches control only one electrical circuit. DP switches control two independent circuits (and act like two identical switches that are mechanically linked). Do not confuse ‘pole’ with ‘terminal’. The DPST switch, for example, has four terminals, but it is a DP, not a 4P switch.

Throw refers to the extreme position of the actuator: ST switches close a circuit at only one position. The other position of the handle is Off. DT switches close a circuit in the Up position, as well as the Down position (On-On). A DT switch can also have a center position (frequently On-Off-On).

Single pole/throw and double pole/throw switches are by far the most common switches, but triple and quadruple configurations are also available. They are commonly denoted 3PST, 3PDT, 4PDT, etc.

SPST On-Off

DPST On-Off

Both load terminals can be energized at the same time. They are independent of each other and could be of different voltages.

SPDT On-On

Only one of the loads can be energized at a time.

DPDT On-On

Functions like two separate SPDT switches operated by the same actuator. Only two loads can be on at a time.

SPDT ON-OFF-ON

Only one of the loads can be energized at a time.

DPDT ON-OFF-ON

Functions like two separate SPDT switches operated by the same actuator. Only two loads can be on at a time.

Single-Pole (SP) & Double-Pole (DP) Switch Wiring Diagrams

Diagrams represent both momentary contact or maintained contact switches.

Switches without Pilot Lights

Switches with One Pilot Light

Switches with Two Pilot Lights