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A relay is an electrically operated switch. Current flowing through the coil of the relay creates a magnetic field which attracts a lever and changes the switch contacts. The coil current can be on or off so relays have two switch positions and they are double throw (changeover) switches. The relay's switch connections are usually labeled COM(POLE), NC and NO: COM/POLE= Common, NC and NO always connect to this, it is the moving part of the switch. NC = Normally Closed, COM/POLE is connected to this when the relay coil is not magnetized. NO = Normally Open, COM/POLE is connected to this when the relay coil is MAGNETIZED and vice versa. A relay shown in the picture is an electromagnetic or mechanical relay.