Carling Rocker Switch (V-series) P/N’s Explained

Below we’ll explain everything you ever wanted to know about Carling V-series options and part numbers

Have you ever been stuck trying to find the correct V-series Carling rocker switches (often called contura)?  You’re at the right place.  We’re going to walk through the sometimes complicated, yet incredibly useful part number scheme.

We’ll explain what each digit means, and what the options are.  We’ll discuss how to find a suitable substitute for a hard to fine Carling rocker switch.  And We’ll walk through some example part numbers.

1 – Carling V-Series Spec Sheet

You should probably start by opening the spec sheet in another tab.  Skim over it real quickly.

Lots of info, right?  We’ll be focusing on the part number scheme on page 10 primarily with some reachback to page 8 and 9 (the circuit diagrams).

Over 250 million switch options available!

If you look at page 10, you can see Carling has a TON of options.  Digit two allows 22 different circuit styles.  There are 14 different base styles in digit four, and 32 different illumination styles in digit five!

In fact, a little math tells us there are over 250 million possible part numbers in the first 8 digits alone (272,498,688 to be exact).

1.A – Inventory and Market Availability

250+ million possibilities!  How in the world does Carling stock all those part numbers?

Carling does not stock any inventory

Well, they don’t.  The product is so flexible, with so many options, Carling manufactures switches to order from distributors like Rocker Switch Pros, or other system manufacturers.  When any system, be it a generator, or tractor, or 4-wheeler, or boat is designed, an engineer specs a certain part number by looking at the spec sheet.

They order 500, or 1,000 or 10,000 or whatever number of rocker switches they need, and Carling builds and ships them.  The flexibility is awesome, but can create havoc for you when you go to replace a single switch.  Unless some distributor has ordered a case of them, the it could literally be impossible to find for sale (in volumes of 1 anyway).

Obviously you don’t want to pay for a case of custom manufactured switches to make the awning retract on your RV.  That’s where we come in.  Once you walk through this Carling rocker switch guide, you’ll be able to find and select the switch that meets your requirements from an endless sea of possible parts.

2 – Carling Part Numbers

This is the full Part number scheme:

carling rocker switch part number scheme - full p/n

However, were going to talk just about the first 8 digits today.  The last 6 digits talk about the actuator, but because we sell the actuators separately (plus it complicates matters) from the switch bodies, we’ll only address the digits pertaining to the rocker switch body:

carling rocker switches part number scheme - first 8 digits

3 – Digit #1 – Series

The first digit is easy.  It’s always a “V” for Carling V-series Rocker Switches.

You will have only the first 4 digits stamped on the side of your switch (the rest you have to reverse-engineer).  The first of which will always be a V.

1. carling rocker switches - series (digit 1 highlighted)
1. carling rocker switches - series options (zoom in)

4 – Digit #2 – Circuit

Now we’re talking.  Digit number 2 is the Circuit designation – very important.

The circuit digit has three important elements.  It tells you a lot about your Carling rocker switch:

  • What the positions of your switch are, and if they are momentary or latching
  • A Single or Double Throw
  • Tells you what terminals are closed (connected) in each position

Let’s dive into the second digit in your Carling rocker switches part number:

2. carling rocker switches - circuit (digit 2 highlighted)
1. carling rocker switches - series options (zoom in)
2. carling rocker switch circuit description with positions highlighted up - down - center

4.A – Rocker Switch Positions

There are three potential positions in your Carling rocker switches.  #1, is when the switch is up.  #2 is centered (if there is a center position), and #3 is when the rocker switch is down.

Shown in the center, under “1”, “2”, and “3” of course.  “NONE” is listed for #2 if there is no center position.

(ON) always means a momentary function – like a horn switch would be

You can see here it’s basically a grid of ON’s, OFF’s, (ON)’s, and NONE’s.  The first row is a simple ON-OFF switch (Circuit “1”, or “A”).

4.B – Single Pole and Double Pole Rocker Switches

The second important part of the circuit designation is whether the Carling rocker switch will be single pole or double pole.

“Poles” are often misunderstood.  People often incorrectly call the terminals on the back of the switch a pole.  Others incorrectly call the “throws” a pole.  Saying “double pole” when meaning a “double throw” ON-OFF-ON switch for instance.

Poles are often misunderstood

What a pole actually means is how many different (and isolated) inputs a switch has.  A double pole rocker switch will be capable of switching two voltages for example.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll assume you understand the difference between a single and double pole rocker switch.

2. carling rocker switch circuits with single pole and double pole highlighted
2. carling rocker switches diagram: circuits with connections in each position shown

4.C – Connections – Which Terminals Are Connected

The final important part of the Carling rocker switches circuit designation is which terminals are closed (ie, connected).

As you can see, terminals 2 and 3 are always connected when the switch is up.  Terminals 1 and 2 are always connected when the switch is down.  This is the nature of how the electromechanical rocker inside the switch works.

terminals 2 and 5 are always the inputs

Now IF the switch is a double pole, there will also be a connection between 5 and 6 when the switch is up, and 4 and 5 when the switch is down.

Finally, this section shows some specialty circuit connections.  These switches are pretty rare, but useful.  Our engine start switch for example has the specialty circuit designation “M”.

diagram of the terminals on the back of carling rocker switches

We’ve included a diagram of the terminal layout of how all Carling rocker switches are organized.

All terminals are not necessarily present on any particular switch.  But, the terminals will always be numbered and located as shown in this diagram.

Notice that terminals 1, 2 and 3 run down the left side.  And terminals 4, 5 and 6 run down the right.  These are the meat and potatoes of the switching mechanisms on Carling rocker switches.  Terminals 1-2-3 are one pole, terminals 4-5-6 are only there on double pole switches.

Terminals 7, 8, 9 and 10 (if present) are for switch lighting only.  Everytime and always.  Terminals 7 and 9 are always negative (return current for lamps).  Terminals 8 and 10 are always independent lamp positives.

5 – Digit #3 – Rating

The rating of your Carling rocker switch is also fairly straightforward.

“D” is the most common when dealing with automotive Contura switches because they run on 12Vdc.

“B” is what you’d look for for 24V systems (note, “D” rated rocker switches with no light in them can also be used on 24V systems because the contacts are the same as “B” rated switches).

“1” rating in digit 3 means they have a special gold plated contact with minimal resistance.  In most automotive applications operating at 12Vdc or 24Vdc the corresponding “D” or “B” rating can be substituted.

C, E, D, M and N ratings rare and you probably won’t run across them.

carling rocker switch voltage rating
voltage rating for carling switch

6 – Digit #4 – Rocker Switch Termination and Base Style

The termination style is important if you need to use a specific connector on your rocker switch.  It can also get you in trouble because it can cause conflicts with other digits making an “impossible to produce” part.