Tactile and Non-Tactile Membrane Switches

Home » Membrane Switches

Tactile and Non-Tactile Membrane Switches

Fortunately, the difference between tactile vs non tactile membrane switches is relatively simple.

As the name suggests, tactile switches are ones that provide tactile feedback when it’s pressed. This usually means a distinct snap. Generally, this is done with the help of a metal dome beneath the switch. They close the circuit when pressed and open it again upon being released.

Polyester domes are another common option. They tend to rely on printed silver ink that is etched onto the underside of the dome.
A non-tactile switch is just the opposite. It also temporarily closes the circuit when pressed, but it doesn’t give any tactile feedback. The upper and lower circuit is separated by a spacer.

TACTILE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--tactile

NON-TACTILE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--non-tactile

OVERLAY

METAL DOME

CIRCUIT SUBSTRATE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--tactile-metal-dome-relaxed
Relaxed

OVERLAY

CIRCUIT SUBSTRATE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--non-tactile-metal-dome-relaxed
Relaxed

OVERLAY

METAL DOME

CIRCUIT SUBSTRATE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--tactile-metal-dome-pressed
Pressed

OVERLAY

CIRCUIT SUBSTRATE

hallmark__tactile-and-non-tactile-switches-content-images--non-tactile-metal-dome-pressed
Pressed

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. Our experts can explain what is the difference between linear and tactile switches and help you choose the best option for your business's needs. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at 352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Shielding Types

Home » Membrane Switches

Shielding Types

Custom membrane switches need shielding. This addition protects the switches from the damage of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electrostatic discharge (ESD).

These shields can be terminated one of three different ways:

Tab

The switch's tab can be connected to a stud of standoff located on the metal enclosure or backer.

Connector

The pin on the switch tail can also terminate the shield.

Conductive Adhesive

Electrically conductive adhesives can also be used to connect

We also offer three different types of shielding for custom keypads:

Foil Shield

This version can be terminated to a tab.

Connector

The pin on the switch tail can also terminate the shield.

ITO Clear Conductive Shield

This type can be terminated with conductive adhesive.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Dome Types

Home » Membrane Switches

Dome Types

As we touched on earlier, domes are used on a tactile switch keypad to give users that palpable feel. When the operator presses down on a switch, the dome beneath it pushes down on a conductive footprint, setting off the desired action.

Most of our clients favor metal domes. We offer them in the following sizes:

hallmark__dome-type-content-image--domes

We can also outfit your custom keypad in oblong domes.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Electrical Specifications

Home » Membrane Switches

Electrical Specifications

The electrical specifications of a custom keypad are fairly straightforward, but it's no less important that you understand this element, as well.
In short, it refers to how much current your tactile or non-tactile switch can interrupt.

We manufacture our custom keypads with contact ratings of 30V DC/30mA.
Based on the circuit design and tail length involved, the circuit resistance will typically be between 50 and 100 ohms.

hallmark__electrical-specification-content-image--electrical

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Actuation Force

Home » Membrane Switches

Actuation Force

Actuation force is simply how much pressure the operator has to use in order to activate the switch.

Technically, almost any amount of actuation force is possible. However, the vast majority of our clients choose one of three different settings:

Light Actuation Force (3 - 6 ounces)

This is a good amount for buttons that will need to be clicked repeatedly or even in rapid succession (e.g. data entry).

Medium Actuation Force (10 - 14 ounces)

This is the most common range as it's perfect for test equipment, medical devices, etc.

Heavy Actuation Force (16 - 20 ounces)

If the operator will often be wearing protective gloves (i.e. in a manufacturing plant), this is a great choice as it ensures that pressing the switch was deliberate.

As you can see, though the actuation force your switches require may not seem overly important, it's actually essential to supporting the type of operation your equipment will see.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Backlighting Options

Home » Membrane Switches

Backlighting Options

The main benefit of using a tactile switch keypad is that operators can feel when they're pressing down on a button. Embossing can help with this, as well, even if you decide not to utilize tactile switches.

Another way to make it easy for operators to find your switches - tactile or not - is with backlighting. It's also a very stylish way to differentiate your equipment from competitors. Switches with backlighting give a modern look that is very impressive when compared to equipment that lacks it.

We can use three different methods to backlight a custom keypad, depending on our client's unique needs.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

LEDs are extremely popular for their affordability, but they don't lack when it comes to serving as effective indicator lights, either. These lights also give off very little heat and are well-known for their long operating lives.

You can choose from a wide range of LED colors, too, including:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Red
  • White
  • Yellow

We can even offer different intensity levels. This is especially helpful if your equipment will be used outside, as sunlight can otherwise make it difficult to tell if switches on your custom keypad have been pressed or not

Electroluminescent (EL) Lamps

EL lamps rely on substances called phosphors, which convert electrical energy into light. This highly efficient process minimizes the amount of power required and any waste that would come about as a result of heat or infrared emissions. They also emit very uniform levels of backlighting.

Most companies choose EL lamps for their custom keypads when their backlit buttons won't be left on for long periods of time. That's because phosphors often decay with prolonged use. They also require a DC to AC inverter and don't support as many colors as LEDs.

Fiber Optic

Finally, there is fiber optic lighting to consider. Typically, this option consists of at least two layers of woven fiber-optic cloth that can emit light. At one end, fibers are bundled into a ferrule and connected to one or more sources of LED light.

Fiber optics are another cost-effective method of creating extremely uniform backlighting across an entire membrane keypad design. The very thin fibers involved are also conducive to all kinds of different design types.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Connector Options

Home » Membrane Switches

Connector Options

Your custom keypad will also need a connector system, as it's responsible for attaching the switches' sensors to the circuit board. As with circuit materials, subpar connectors will result in unreliable switches.

Depending on your custom keypad, you could incorporate any of the following five connector options:

hallmark__connector-options-content-image--bare-tail

Bare Tail

These interface to .100" center zero insertion force (ZIF) or low insertion force (LIF) style connectors.

hallmark__connector-options-content-image--latching-female-connector

Latching Female Connector

These interface to .100" center latching headers.

hallmark__connector-options-content-image--latching-male-connector

Latching Male Connector

These interface to .100" center latching headers

hallmark__connector-options-content-image--plain-female-connector

Plain Male Connector

These interface to .100" center female headers

hallmark__connector-options-content-image--plain-male-connector

Plain Female Connector

These interface to .100" center and .025" square-posted headers.

Solder Tabs

A PCB can also use standard header connectors that are soldered right to the board or cable assemblies.

For example, one very common approach is to utilize a 1 mm pitch ZIF connector right on the back of a rigid board and then use the same connector on the mating board. The keypad and main board can also be connected through a 1 mm jumper cable.

You can also use a ZIF connector on the mating PCB and forego the standard supply with a connector. Typically, the pitch of conductors would be either .039" (1mm), .049", or .100".

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Circuit Materials

Home » Membrane Switches

Circuit Materials

When designing a custom keypad for your machine, one of the most important elements is the circuitry. After all, without it, the switch itself won't be able to carry out its essential function.

Whether you choose a tactile or nontactile switch membrane, you'll have three main options for its circuitry:

hallmark__circuit-material-content-image--circuit-materials

Silver

This is the most common choice for standard membrane switches. Silver conductive ink is printed right onto a polyester circuit material. While effective, the main draw of this material is its cost-effectiveness.

hallmark__circuit-material-content-image--silver

Copper

Companies choose a copper flex circuit when their custom keypad requires more complex circuitry. With copper, we can solder numerous components to the circuit, accommodating almost any design needs.

hallmark__circuit-material-content-image--circuit-copper

Rigid Printed Circuit Board

This is another great option if your custom keypad will have a complex design. A rigid printed circuit board will also support more termination options. To make these switches, we'll usually print conductive silver ink right onto a polyester layer. Then, we'll add a contact surface of etched plated copper enclosed in a printed circuit board (PCB) inside an epoxy for insulation and a dielectric layer for further protection.

hallmark__circuit-material-content-image--circuit-rigid-printed

Of course, the same piece of equipment could incorporate both types of circuitry. To save money, you could choose silver for any custom keypad that doesn't have complicated requirements. Then, where your keypads have more demands, you could opt for copper or a rigid PCB switch design.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.

Embossing Options

Home » Membrane Switches

Embossing Options

Some manufacturers prefer that their switches have unique looks, which is one reason to opt for embossing. This is when certain parts of the graphic overlay are raised.

The two most common embossing options are:

hallmark__embossing-options-content-image--embossing

STANDARD PAD

hallmark__embossing-options-content-image--standard-pad-round
hallmark__embossing-options-content-image--standard-pad-rectangular

RIM

hallmark__embossing-options-content-image--rim-perimeter-embossed

This is when the full key is raised. A round or rectangular embossed shape can be used to match the underlying key perfectly.

When only the rim of the switch is embossed, the perimeter is raised but nothing else. We recommend a rim width of at least .05" for this option and a height of no more than 1.5-2 times the overlay material's thickness. A corner radius of at least 0.031" is also recommended with spacing between the emboss features of at least .125".

Aside from how great these two options look, they also come with the lowest tooling costs, which is one more reason they're so popular.

If you are looking to emboss nontactile membrane switches, another very popular option is a dome emboss. They will offer palpable feedback, even for a nontactile switch. This makes them easier for a user to locate through touch without necessarily having to look down every time they want to push the switch.

Talk to an Expert About Tactile and Non-Tactile Switches

Choosing between a tactile and non-tactile switch for your company’s equipment is an important decision. It will have a huge impact on how intuitive operators find your machines.

Of course, even after you decide on tactile or non-tactile, you still have a lot of other decisions to make in order to ensure your switches work as effectively as possible.

So, don’t take any chances. Our team of designers and engineers has experience in a number of different industries. They’ll take the time to understand exactly what your unique machines need before they make their recommendations based on what else they know about your field.

For a free, no-obligation quote and to learn more about how we can help your company, call us today at352-383-8142 or fill out this simple form.