As versatile as electromechanical relays can be, they do suffer many limitations. They can be expensive to build, have a limited contact cycle life, take up a lot of room, and switch slowly, compared to modern semiconductor devices. These limitations are especially true for large power contactor relays. To address these limitations, many relay manufacturers offer ”solidstate” relays, which use an SCR, TRIAC, or transistor output instead of mechanical contacts to switch the controlled power. The output device (SCR, TRIAC, or transistor) is optically-coupled to an LED light source inside the relay. The relay is turned on by energizing this LED, usually with low-voltage DC power. This optical isolation between input to output rivals the best that electromechanical relays can offer.
|Solid State Relay|