When an electromechanical relay is de-energized rapidly by a mechanical switch or semiconductor, the collapsing magnetic field produces a substantial voltage transient in its effort to disperse the stored energy and oppose the sudden change of current flow. A 12VDC relay, for example,may generate a voltage of 1,000 to 1,500 volts during turn-off.
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With the advent of modern electronic systems, this relatively large voltage transient has created EMI, semiconductor breakdown, and switch wear problems for the design engineer. It has thus become common practice to suppress relay coils with other components which limit the peak voltage to a much smaller level.
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