A mechanical relay consists of mechanical contacts, whereas a photorelay is a semiconductor contact consisting of MOSFETs for output. Because of the above, photorelays have the following benefits compared with mechanical relays:
- 1.Free from contact wear and thus highly reliable (long life)
- 2.Small, lightweight and easy to mount
- 3.High-speed switching (several times faster than mechanical relays)
- 4.Low power consumption: several mW (compared to approx. 100 mW for mechanical relays)
- 5.Less bounce noise owing to the absence of mechanical contacts
However, there are disadvantages:
- a.In contact resistance (ON-state resistance), the difference between metal and semiconductor is too large.
- b.In the contact open/close capacity (ON-state current), for photorelays, the range that can be covered by one device is very limited.