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Automotive glossary: What is a Relay?

Definition of Relay: A relay is an electrical component, which makes it possible to switch on and off one or more consumers, like the bulbs in the winkers of vehicles, via a second, controlling electrical circuit. Thereby the amperage of the controlling circuit can be far lower than the amperage, that is necessary to operate the consumers. In mechanical relays, the control currency engenders a magnetic field, which again moves a lever for switching the consumers on and off. The movement of this lever when switching the winker bulbs on and off causes the typical, clicking sound when winking. But now, in newer vehicles, electronic relays without moving parts are often built-in. At this, a familiar clicking sound when actuating the winker is often generated artificially by a speaker.

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