5 Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Membrane Switches

May 12, 2021

NormaTec membrane switch with embossed keys, a lens, and gradient color patterns

Are you looking to buy membrane switches? Like all switches, they are used to control a circuit. Membrane switches, however, are defined by their use of an elastic membrane. The elastic membrane serves as the substrate for the switch’s contacts. While all membrane switches feature an elastic membrane, they are available in many different types. When choosing membrane switches, you should avoid making the five following mistakes.

#1) Wrong Backlighting

Don’t make the mistake of choosing membrane switches with the wrong backlighting. There are different backlighting options available for membrane switches, some of which include electroluminescent (EL), light-emitting diode (LED), fiber optic and more. All three are excellent choices, as they provide ample illumination while consuming a minimal amount of energy. Other types of backlighting are less effective. They create less illumination and consume more energy.

#2) Not Considering Your Application

You can’t expect to choose the right membrane switches unless you consider the application for which you plan on using them. Membrane switches are customizable. When ordering them, you can customize the design specifications so that they match your application. If you’re going to use them in a harsh environment, you may want to customize your membrane switches with a two-circuit design for additional shielding.

#3) Overlooking Tactile Feedback

Another common mistake to avoid when choosing membrane switches is overlooking tactile feedback. Membrane switches can be designed to produce tactile feedback. In other words, they can respond with a physical sensation to your commands. Tactile feedback allows for improved input accuracy. You’ll be able to feel and notice when your membrane switches register your commands if they create tactile feedback.

#4) Overlooking the Ink Type

Membrane switches are designed with circuit boards with printed ink. When choosing membrane switches, you should consider the type of ink used in their circuit boards. Some of the most common types of ink for membrane switches include copper, silver, graphite and copper. As you may know, all of these materials are conductive, which is why they are used in membrane switches. Nonetheless, some of them are more conductive others.

#5) Poor Color Scheme

Don’t make the mistake of choosing membrane switches with a poor color scheme. If you can’t easily identify the buttons or legends on a membrane switch, for instance, you may press the wrong ones. Choosing membrane switches with a contrasting color scheme can prevent this from happening. You should be able to easily see and distinguish the individual keys and legends from the others.

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