can I use a PNP transistor to invert switch operation?

Thread Starter


Joined May 16, 2009
Hi Guys. I'm sure that this has been done a million times before, but try putting "making an open switch closed" or similar into google and see how far that gets you :rolleyes:

I have two problems. One is a custom SPST push switch- replacement is not an option unfortunately. I want to invert it's operation- I want it to pass current when in the "open" position, but not when in the "closed" position. Is there a simple chip I can use to achieve this?

The second is very similar, but it's a tilt switch. The switch opens when horizontal, I want it closed!

The solution I have thought of uses a PNP transistor - Chop the wire after the switch. Connect the switch end of the cut wire to the transistor base, connect the free wire to the transistor collector, and connect the transistor emitter to the pre-switch wire.

When base voltage is low (switch open) then current will flow though the transistor, and when base voltage is high (switch closed) the transistor will prevent current flow. Is this right?

What about the gain element of a transistor? Could that cause damage to other electrics downstream? As I understand it, the gain element only applies when the transistor is not fully on or fully off, which are the only two states I'll be using it in, so I don't need to worry.

Finally, is there a better way to achieve what I'm trying to do??!

Last edited:


Joined Nov 30, 2010
Without any details, the best I could recommend is a relay. Transistors don't universally work with both polarities, AC voltage, any and all levels of current, any and all levels of voltage, etc.

Must have details.