Name the part

What am I, and where was I used ?

Of course I already know what it is, as I’ve used it. One important part has been removed to make it a little bit more challenging. Hint: the magnification factor of this photo is quite large.

If you click on the picture, you’ll see all the helpful comments already posted on the flickr page.

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20 Responses to Name the part

  1. kgroce says:

    Looks like the guts to a thumb switch like you find on a digital camera.

  2. robert says:

    Cold… not 0°K, but still cold. And finding it in a camera would truly surprise me.

  3. robert says:

    Hint: the tiny wires are not connected to the copper structure at all.

  4. futz says:

    Rotary (quadrature) encoder.

  5. robert says:

    No rotation is involved in this device, only vertical motion is possible. As people on flickr have already found out it contains a magnet and a coil.

  6. rf says:

    maybe something like a “bass shaker”?

  7. robert says:

    That was a good one, but it’s wrong. The movement is _exactly_ the same though! The part shown here has a diameter of about 20mm or 4/5th of an inch and is some kind of an actuator. It presses against the upper part, which is conveniently not shown here ;-)

  8. rf says:

    uuuhm next guess: a membrane pump ?

  9. robert says:

    Much simpler ;-)

  10. rf says:

    time for an other hint?

  11. robert says:


    every hint I could think of would be a giveaway. I’ll come up with something tomorrow.

  12. robert says:

    OK. This should help:

    It interferes with matter of a certain kind in a certain state (physical).

  13. rf says:

    mhh every kind of an actuator interferes the state of a thing..

  14. robert says:

    Of course, but is it every actuator’s main purpose to deliberately interfere ?

  15. GS Renouf says:

    I pulled something similar out of an old VCR last week. But, I’m guessing your from your hint that this came from a microwave?

  16. Kevin Groce says:

    Was going to say that it is some kind of buzzer element but I am going to say that it is an part of an air vent control actuator?

  17. robert says:


    This is in fact the bottom half of a small (thumbnail sized) air valve. I salvaged it from a defective blood pressure meter.

    • Kevin Groce says:

      Awesome ! :D *Off Topic** Was this one of the hospital grade ones or was it a like a store one?

  18. robert says:

    It was a ‘little’ one. It conveniently broke right after the warranty had expired.

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