Whenever we deliver machinery to Germany, most emergency buttons (and especially Schlagtaste/Schlagschalter) are labelled 'NOT-AUS'. However, every once in a while I encounter items (like this one) which are labelled 'NOT-HALT' instead.

Are they equivalent, or is there a (minor) difference between them? I strongly suspect one of them is preferred over the other, but my German is insufficient to know which.

Both translate to 'EMERGENCY STOP'. For extra context the DIN 61310 and 60204 (of which I only have the English IEC versions) can be taken into consideration.

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    This is a severe safety issue. I'm afraid you will have to consult a lawyer or the legal departement anyway for confirmation. – guidot Feb 5 at 12:46
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    @guidot Around here, things like this are handled by engineers. Not by lawyers. We don't have a legal department either. – Mast Feb 5 at 13:02

Going by word meanings only, Halt means stop and Aus means off. So there definitely is a difference. Since we are talking about technical norms here, the difference ought to be defined by the relevant document, which unfortunately is not publicly accessible. However, a short Google search yielded the following result which indicates that the technical definitions are in accord with the general word meanings:


Not-Halt und Not-Aus haben unterschiedliche Definitionen, siehe hierzu Anhang E der EN 60204-1:2006.

NOT-HALT (Stillsetzen im Notfall) Eine Handlung im Notfall, die dazu bestimmt ist, einen Prozess oder eine Bewegung anzuhalten, der (die) gefahrbringend wurde.

NOT-AUS (Ausschalten im Notfall) Eine Handlung im Notfall, die dazu bestimmt ist, die Versorgung mit elektrischer Energie zu einer ganzen oder zu einem Teil einer Installation abzuschalten, wo ein Risiko für elektrischen Schlag oder ein anderes Risiko elektrischen Ursprungs besteht.

So Halt merely means stopping something, e.g. a movement, whereas Aus means cutting the power.

Apparently, Appendix E of the English version of DIN 60204-1 has the terms emergency stop and emergency switching off, which correspond neatly to Not-Halt and Not-Aus.

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  • So it would be better to translate Not-Halt as 'emergency stop', and Not-Aus as 'emergency switching off', where the first is the immediate action and the latter the result? After all, every emergency stop will eventually (not necessarily immediately) cut power. – Mast Feb 5 at 11:00
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    An emergency stop can only be a stop category 0 or 1 or it's an illegal construction (ISO 13850). A category 0 cuts power immediately, a category 1 once the system is stopped. Stop functions other than those are not emergency stops. My English NEN-EN-IEC 60204-1:2006 appendix E lists emergency stop, emergency start, emergency switching off and emergency switching on (in that order). – Mast Feb 5 at 11:07
  • @Mast: An emergency stop can only be a stop category 0 or 1 or it's an illegal construction (ISO 13850). What about installations erected before that regulation came into effect?! — You always have to deal with such installations. It's safe to assume a Nothalt button will not cut the power but only stop the movement. – Janka Feb 5 at 14:58
  • @DavidVogt: Inwiefern ist der Pauseschalter eines Kassettenrecorders hier relevant? Das ist weder ein Not-Halt, noch ein Not-Aus. – user unknown Feb 5 at 18:28
  • @DavidVogt: So ähnlich war meine Frage: Inwiefern ist die Pausetaste eines Kassettenrecorders hilfreich, die Antwort zu verbessern? – user unknown Feb 5 at 23:02

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