This article, the first of a two-part series, investigates the causes of failure in electromechanical relays. In Part I, the author examines contact-related failures due to the buildup of nonconductive particles and films and the effects of arcing and wear. Part II, scheduled for the May 2018 issue of EDFA, presents examples of failures caused by nitrous gases, phosphoric acid crystals, and wax. It also examines a case involving a sealed relay that popped open during operation.

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