A solid state relay (SSR) is just what it sounds like; an IC that acts like a mechanical relay. They allow you to control high-voltage AC loads from lower voltage DC control circuitry. Solid state relays, have several advantages over mechanical relays. One such advantage is that they can be switched by a much lower voltage and at a much lower current than most mechanical relays. Also, because there's no moving contacts, solid state relays can be switched much faster and for much longer periods without wearing out.
They accomplish this by using infrared light as the 'contact,' a solid-state relay is really just an IR LED and a phototriac sealed up into a little box. Thanks to the fact that the two sides of the relay are photo-coupled, you can rely on the same type of electrical isolation as in mechanical relays. These particular solid state relays can switch 400VAC and 8A.
If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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It is very easy to integrate this into a project since Sparkfun provides the EAGLE footprint and sample circuits. I was able to add an AC switching element to my board very quickly. Initially, I was wondering why it was AC only and then I realized that when you switch off the relay, it is only changed once the load passes through zero volts and goes negative. As a DC load does no such thing, this device can switch it on - but not off.
The device is functions as expected and it is clearly marked for AC loads by Sparkfun so this is just me pointing to the obvious.
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Used this in my very first Arduino project and was quite satisfied. Using it to switch 150 watt resistive load - rather tame for the 8 amp rating so there is no heating issue.
This relay is a huge upgrade over the mechanical relays you might be used to (no clicking, much more reliable). However, keep in mind a few things..
1) The internal switching mechanism is an IR LED, so don't forget a current-limiting resistor in your design! (I'm glad I bought two, because I fried my first one.. facepalm.)
2) While the current rating is 8A, you'll need a heatsink to operate this high. Without a heat sink, you shouldn't operate at >2.5A at room temperature. Be sure to check out the datasheet (p.6 Fig.2) for more info.
I'm using a tiny arduino to turn a street light on and off using a Cadmium Sulfide Cell. I'm using this relay to switch the 120v power to the mercury vapor street light. When the light comes on it pulls several amps as the arc starts, then the current demand decreases to about 1.5 amps. This switch has worked perfectly for two weeks. I just purchased 3 more just to hold in case I have another use for them. It cycles on/off once a day and stays on for about 10 hours.
I bought this part as an easy way to control some grow lights remotely (no I don't live in CO, so not that kind of growing). I assembled this on a custom designed PCB with the relay, some heavy duty terminal blocks and pinouts for a TMP102 temp sensor, all this controlled by a Particle Photon. Overall the project works well, though having a heatsink is mandatory for any loads over maybe 0.5A, anything after that it gets uncomfortably warm (and decreases it's lifetime), at my demand of 160W(1.33A) things get hot enough to make me uncomfortable, the data sheet tells you this same story but you have to read carefully to understand the devices limits, if you try to pull 8A you will need some serious heatsinking or you'll let the magic smoke out, nothing to mess around with when working with 120VAC.
The one real bummer was me connecting the control lines to the holes spaced for the AC input on the first revision of the PCB (a very well learned $30 mistake), I should have probably noticed it, but their are no markings in the SF Eagle library for this part, it just shows the outline, so you have to go by the hole spacing, subtle if you aren't expecting it. Be mindful in your design process and this is a great buy, just don't expect mechanical relay power performance without some serious effort on your part.
This is the smallest sold state relay I found and it is very nice and easy to install..
I lost both due to error in circuit. Used my one spare to check circuit changes and works great. Sorry I can't buy more to finish project as out of stock with no date expected to be available
Sorry, this one is being retired. :(