What Are ‘Pills’ on Silicone Rubber Keypads?

Apr 28, 2022

Silicone rubber keypads have become one of the most popular types of switching solutions in the world. They are characterized by the use of silicone rubber webbing. Each button has webbing around it. This webbing is made of silicone rubber, which allows the respective buttons to decompress under pressure.

In addition to silicone rubber webbing, though, silicone rubber keypads feature other parts, including pills. Pills are an important part of a silicone rubber keypad. Without them, silicone rubber keypads won’t be able to register input.

Overview of Pills

When used in the context of silicone rubber keypads, pills refer to conductive contacts. They are known as “pills” because they look are shaped like medicinal pills. Silicone rubber isn’t conductive. Therefore, silicone rubber keypads rely on pills to open and close their buttons’ circuits.

Pills serve as switch contacts for silicone rubber keypads. Like most keypads, silicone rubber keypads consist of circuits. Each key is a circuit. Pressing a key will complete the circuit. Releasing your finger from the key, conversely, will revert the circuit back to its open and incomplete position. Pills provide a mechanism for this to happen.

How Silicone Rubber Keypads Use Pills

Each button on a silicone rubber keypad is typically equipped with a pill. You won’t be able to see these pills. The pills are found underneath the buttons. And because the buttons are surrounded by silicone rubber webbing, the pills are concealed. Nonetheless, each button has its own pill.

Silicone rubber keypads use webbing to separate their buttons from the switch contacts on an underlying circuit. By default, the buttons won’t touch the switch contacts. They’ll only touch the switch contacts when you press the buttons. Pressing a button will force the silicone rubber webbing to deform, thus allowing the pill to touch the switch contact.

Gold and Carbon Pills

Most silicone rubber keypads feature either gold or carbon pills. Both types of pills can complete switch circuits. Gold pills, though, outperform carbon pills. Gold is an excellent conductor of both heat and electricity. More importantly, it’s resistant to oxidation, corrosion and other forms of damage.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that carbon pills are a poor choice. Carbon pills are a viable alternative to gold pills. They can complete switch circuits just like their gold counterparts. Some people even prefer carbon pills because they cost less than gold pills.

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