NOTE FROM DAVID: This page is obsolete. This item isn’t available anymore.
AMP hexadecimal (16-position) rotary switches can be purchased from All Electronics for $0.50 (fifty cents) each. The All Electronics item number is RDIP-16. The AMP part number is #54792-1.
AMP hexadecimal (16-position) rotary DIP switch, #54792-1
One of the features of this switch is that it fits into a standard breadboard or 16-pin socket / carrier.
The force required to turn the dial causes the switch to pop out of a breadboard unless you hold down on the top while turning. And the position of the dial requires the switch to placed on the edge of a board. However, when soldered onto a lower board of a robot, neither of the issues are significant. In fact, the location of the dial can be an advantage over dipswitches depending on the design needs.
The dial of the AMP 54792-1 switch
The switch actuator is adjusted with a flat-head-screw-driver-slotted dial at one end. That is to say, you set the number by turning the dial with a screwdriver.
I use this switch on a number of projects in the place of dipswitches where I need to represent a number. It’s easier to read and set a dial that contains numbers than trying to calculate (in my head) the binary value of four switches.
Sample schematic for AMP hexadecimal rotary switch
Above is a sample circuit that turns on LEDs to represent the dial’s numeric value in binary. Note that although a human sees a number on the face of this switch, the circuit or microcontroller sees four individual on/off switches. The value is digital, not analog like a potentiometer or variable resistor.
The LEDs in the schematic receive either +5 volts or ground. Because the four internal switches are SPDT (single-pole, double-throw), no pull-up resistors are necessary to connect the output of the switch to an integrated circuit chip or a microcontroller. The chip receives true high or low logic.