How Do Buzzers Work?

buzzers-work Credit: David Goehring/CC-BY 2.0

According to British Telephones, a magnetic effect is produced when a battery is connected to a buzzer's circuitry and the button is pressed. This causes electricity to flow through the coils, which attracts the armature and produces a sound. The current breaks at the device's contact screw, thereby collapsing the magnetic field until the buzzer's button is pressed.

Buzzers are available in a variety of styles. Magnetic buzzers emit audio via a coil, while electromechanical buzzers may use a bell in their design.

Mechanical buzzers do not operate with electricity. Instead, they rely on a tightly wound spring. Hand buzzers and alarm clocks that are manually wound are mechanical in design. Piezo buzzers can emit a variety of beeps and buzzes and are often used on car doors and to indicate computer errors.

Buzzers are employed for use on microwave ovens and conventional ovens as well. Timing devices depend on buzzers, as do alarms for seat belts and dashboard warning lights. Buzzers are also used during recreational activities. Most game shows require players to hit a buzzer when they are ready to answer a question or want to signal the host. At college and professional basketball games, buzzers sound when the clock runs out of time.