Interfacing Relay To Microcontroller
Relays are devices which allow low power circuits to switch a relatively high Current/Voltage ON/OFF. For a relay to operate a suitable pull-in & holding current should be passed through its coil. Generally relay coils are designed to operate from a particular voltage often its 5V or 12V. The function of relay driver circuit is to provide the necessary current (typically 25 to 70ma) to energize the relay coil.
Figure 1 shows the basic relay driver circuit. As you can see an NPN transistor BC547 is being used to control the relay. The transistor is driven into saturation (turned ON) when a LOGIC 1 is written on the PORT PIN thus turning ON the relay. The relay visit page.