Novice question on a simple motor and rocker switches

Thread Starter


Joined Jun 5, 2019
I have a 12V motor that is bidirectional. Ground (black) and Voltage (red) wiring. Reversing the contacts reverses the rotation of the motor.
I'd like to install a rocker switch to control the direction of the rotation.
Does a 3 way (On, Off, On) work? Or maybe a better question is what type of switch should I use?
Maybe the concept of Clockwise rotation, Off, CounterClockwise rotation is a better description of what Im trying to accomplish.


Joined Aug 1, 2013
You need a double pole double throw (DPDT) switch rated for a minimum of twice the operating current of the motor. Whether or not you need a center-off position is up to you; it does not change the switch wiring. Your motor might have a different opinion; many of them do not being slammed into full reverse repeatedly.

Generally speaking, rotary switches do not handle high currents as well as toggles or rockers do.

Please post whatever information you have on the motor: operating current, starting current, manufacturer, model number, web site, etc.



Joined Jul 18, 2013
You can get DPDT centre off switches with an automatic pause at centre, this prevents the undesirable action of instant reverse.
You have to release the toggle at OFF before you can go to reverse.
I would suggest an (on)-OFF-(on) switch with two SPDT automotive relays. the () indicate momentary. If there is no middle position, none is usually used.

The advantage is that you have a better choice of switches and you can employ dynamic braking.

This could be another type of application where the suggested method is not appropriate.

The switch would basically work like an automotive window and the motor will stop immediately

When operating the switch, you "should" pause between changing direction.

You can add limit switches as lomg as they are rated for the relay current, about 150 mA. has the relays and even a dual socket, mostly wired for power door lock applications.