DIP switches are a special design of slide switches. They are applied, among other things, on printed circuit boards or main boards and are used to configure certain basic settings. The abbreviation stands for “dual in-line package”, which gives a direct indication of the design of the switch. A DIP switch has two parallel rows of terminals and is colloquially called a piano switch, piano DIP switch or jokingly a mouse piano because of its characteristic appearance. Other names are the scientific terms dual-in-line switches or DIP switches. Depending on the design, names can differ from flat profile DIP switch to flat or ultra-flat piano DIP switch.
DIP switches are used in a wide range of industries and applications, for example on the main boards of various control cabinets, in PC systems or for setting hand-held transmitters. The function of DIP switches is similar to that of jumpers. A DIP switch offers them the advantage of a self-contained design and thus a firm, permanent connection to the circuit board.
Depending on the number of switches and jumper positions, which can vary between two or three, there can be a difference in the number of possible settings on the DIP switch.
In addition to DIP switches, there are other variants of switches that offer similar functions. For example clock switches or coding switches or rotary coding switches.