Click here to Skip to main content
15,113,131 members
Articles / Internet of Things / Arduino
Technical Blog
Posted 11 Feb 2014

Tagged as


5 bookmarked

Arduino: How to Wire a Relay

Rate me:
Please Sign up or sign in to vote.
3.25/5 (4 votes)
11 Feb 2014CPOL4 min read
Arduino: How to wire a relay

Here's my quick tutorial on how to hook up a relay to an Arduino; specifically an electromagnet switch relay from Omron, the G5SB-14.

You can use the relay that's referred to with AC voltage, i.e., to turn on and off mains-powered applications such as lamps and such, BUT DO THIS ONLY ONLY ONLY if you're very confident in your abilities and take your safety seriously. AC POWER KILLS if you are not careful.

Here's a breadboard-look of how it's hooked up:

You'll see the Arduino on the left hand side providing power to the relay and the accompanying components, and on the right hand side is the red LED I'm powering via its own battery (you could, if you like, power the LED by the Arduino).

First off, we'll use the Arduino's digital pin 8 to send a signal to the relay, through the other components. So hook up the pin 8 to a 1 kohm resistor. Why the resistor, because the transistor I'm using that will catch the signal from the pin no. 8 can't handle the full 5v voltage from the digital pin.

Next, the transistor. Why use one? Because we can't operate the relay by the signal from the digital pin alone - it hasn't enough juice to switch the relay's internal magnetic switch. So hook up the transistor as per the image, with:

  1. the center pin - the base - hooked up to the digital pin via the resistor,
  2. the emitter - the left side of the transistor, when you're looking at the flat side of the component - hooked up to ground and
  3. the collector - the right side of the transistor - going to the rectifier

What's a rectifier? Well, it's a diode that guards the curcuitry from electrical flow from the relay when it's switched off, and a sudden change in current flow surges from the relay. To the relay it's like a night-club bouncer preventing the rush of current from entering the delicate transistor and Arduino - like "You behave, you relay, or I'll rectify your ass", so to speak. It's like a one-way street for current. If you're just messing around and reproducing this or a different example, you can go without it, but at your own peril.

Hook up the rectifier (in series) to one end of the relay coil, and hook the other end of the coil to power. It really is a coil inside the relay: Powering the coil creates a magnetic field inside the relay, 'creates' a magnet if you will, that attracts a metal pin inside the relay enclosure, which in turn touches one of two tiny contacts (on and off) and creates a connection between them.

That's the Arduino part of the tutorial. Now we need something for the relay to actually turn on and off. In this case, a red LED, powered by the battery. Hook up the battery, the LED as shown in the picture (don't forget the resistor unless you're willing to sacrifice an LED or two on the alter of trial-and-error), and connect the relay.

In connecting the relay, hook up the relay's 'common' pin to ground. This pin is the one that holds on to one end of the metal pin which is to touch either contact - labelled normally on (NO) and normally closed (NC). Refer to the data sheet of your specific relay to make sure it's hooked up correctly - it's not always such that these labels - NO, NC and COM (for Common) are written on the relay itself.

The way the relay is used, is thus: if you want the relay to turn something off when signalling it from the Arduino, you must connect your application's power source - in this case the battery for our LED - to the normally opened (NO) pin. If on the other hand you want to use the relay to turn something on, you must connect the power source to the normally closed (NC) pin.

The below pictures show the orientation of the pins on the Omron relay that's used here, the G5SB-14:

If you hook up the example-breadboard, you should be able to do what did I: Play an Arduino sketch which turns the relay on and off every 5 seconds. Here's the example code:

// connect digital pin 8 to the transistor, via a resistor
int led = 8;

// the setup routine runs once when you press reset:
void setup() {                
// initialize the digital pin as an output.
pinMode(led, OUTPUT);  

// the loop routine runs over and over again forever:
void loop() {

delay(5000);               // wait for 5 seconds
digitalWrite(led, HIGH);   // turn the relay off
delay(5000);               // wait for a second
digitalWrite(led, LOW);    // turn the relay on

That's it - that's how you hook up a relay to the Arduino. Happy switching on and off!

I'm including a bunch of pictures below, of how I've set it up on my breadboard. Hopefully the pictures might be helpful.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Denmark Denmark
No Biography provided

Comments and Discussions

QuestionUmm suggestion... Pin
glennPattonInThePub317-Feb-14 3:30
professionalglennPattonInThePub317-Feb-14 3:30 
AnswerRe: Umm suggestion... Pin
harleydk17-Feb-14 12:06
Memberharleydk17-Feb-14 12:06 
GeneralRe: Umm suggestion... Pin
glennPattonInThePub317-Feb-14 23:43
professionalglennPattonInThePub317-Feb-14 23:43 

General General    News News    Suggestion Suggestion    Question Question    Bug Bug    Answer Answer    Joke Joke    Praise Praise    Rant Rant    Admin Admin   

Use Ctrl+Left/Right to switch messages, Ctrl+Up/Down to switch threads, Ctrl+Shift+Left/Right to switch pages.