Carling switches in RVs, boats, etc


Carling’s Contura series switches are quite commonly found in RVs, boats, and similar equipment. An example is shown below.

This actuators on these switches are removable, with the aid of an inexpensive tool designed for the purpose. This allows the switch series to be easily customized with different legend text/icons to suit different applications, using a shared handful of contact bodies, which look like the below. It can also allow a person to replace a burnt-out switch body while re-using the actuator, in cases where the actuator has custom or non-stock legend text.

When seeking a replacement for such a switch, take a look at the text printed on the side of the switch body. In the example below, the “V8D1” is a key piece of information.

According to the part number breakdown found in the datasheet, this indicates that the pictured switch is a single-pole, double-throw momentary switch, using an 8-position terminal layout with 1/4" quick-connect terminals.

This is the bulk of the information needed if one is to find a workable replacement; the remainder of the part number calls out things such as indicator lights, actuator styles, and similar options. Note however that if one simply uses “carling V8D1” as a search term on the Digi-Key website, the results returned will be all products that include both of the exact terms “carling” and “V8D1” somewhere in their part number or parametric information. While one may need to make further selections regarding indicator lighting etc., the results of such a search in the context of this series of switches are likely to be few in number, and a close or exact match to one’s needs in terms of a replacement.

Finally, the 8- and 10-position terminal housings commonly used to make connections to this switch series can be found here, along with some other related accessories. Contacts that fit into those housings can be found here. Note that beyond helping to avoid accidental mis-wiring (which is a very good idea…) this connector system is not particularly special or magical, and standard 1/4" quick connect terminals for a 1/32" thick tab can be used when connecting to the switch in individual-wire fashion.