For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s time to break out the machines with switches for moving snow and ice. Folks in Buffalo have gotten the rudest early arrival of winter this year, with up to 80 inches of snow falling over a couple of days. Snowplows have been moving the snow and ice, but with so few places to put it all, it took a long time to clear the snow in Buffalo. In storms like these, owning a plow might be the only way to get out of your driveway and onto the street.
Snowplows come in various shapes and sizes. They can be straight, angled, or V-shaped and meant for mounting on a truck or ATV. Regardless, once mounted, a switch often controls the angle and height of the plow using hydraulics. Chains can also be used, but these controllers offer immense ease and precision of use and often utilize momentary rocker or toggle switches.
For hydraulic lift motors, the ST Series toggle switches are a good fit. The ST1, ST2, and ST3 Series all offer momentary functionality and 2 HP electrical ratings. The ST4 Series is protected against dust and moisture at an IP68 rating and operates in temperatures ranging from -10 to 55°C. It’s rated for 1.5 HP and offers two or three positions.
And if rockers are preferred, the R5 Series high current rocker switch is perfect. Not only is it rated for up to 1 HP and offers momentary functionality but marking option “H” features arrows for either “up” and “down” or “right” and “left.”
Snowblowers are essential in our neck of the woods. Since we reside in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” we get what we call “lake-effect snow.” Because of all the humidity created by the lakes, snowstorms tend to intensify in Minnesota. Over the last decade, Minneapolis has averaged almost 55 inches of snow per year, but the real problem isn’t the total snowfall, which would rank 54th amongst U.S. cities behind Billings, MT. The problem is how it all seems to fall at once. Shoveling is inevitable, but the less you must shovel the better your back will feel. Work smarter, not harder. Get a snowblower.
Most snowblowers require a keylock switch to start, and the KO Series from E-Switch is a perfect option. Of the many options available with the KO Series, the KO117 and KO118 might be best. They both feature zinc alloy die cast housings that are chrome-plated and five-disk tumbler mechanisms with dust shutters to keep dust and snow out of the switch. You can check out all of the KO Series options by viewing this datasheet.
Ice Resurfacing Machines (Zambonis)
Winter is also pond hockey season in the State of Hockey, where we have more than 70 outdoor ice rinks. Moving snow off an outdoor rink can be done with a snowplow mounted on an ATV, but if the snow isn’t too deep, an ice resurfacing machine, or Zamboni, will do.
Like Band-aid, Zamboni is a brand name that has been adopted to describe ice resurfacing machines regardless of manufacturer. Frank J. Zamboni invented the ice resurfacer to maintain the ice at a rink in Southern California that he and his brothers owned. Now his name is one of the most famous in ice sports history, right up there with Gretzky and Boitano.
Ice resurfacers feature a myriad of switches, including a momentary pushbutton like for the horn, which is used more often than you’d think. Most of the switches, however, are illuminated rockers like the R1966 Series. These switches operate things like the headlights, board brush, and wash water pump.
The R1966 Series rocker switches operate in temperatures ranging from -30 to 65°C, so resurfacing an outdoor rink on the coldest day of the year won’t be an issue. While the R1966 Series isn’t sealed, the switches are located far enough away from the area where the water tanks are filled that they’re rarely subjected to moisture. I can attest to this as a former ice maintenance technician. Even when the hose got away from me, the switches on the dashboard seldom got wet.
If water is a worry, though, the RBW2 Series rocker switch is sealed at an IP66 rating and operates in temperatures ranging from -20 to 85°C. These switches also provide a life expectancy of 50,000 cycles and full illumination options with neon or incandescent lamps. This way you always know if you’ve left the wash water pump on, which will damage the pump.
When snow falls, don’t get mad. Be glad you have the switches for moving snow and ice this winter.