Membrane switches

Published: 26th January 2010
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Membrane switches are electrical switches that are pressure sensitive. Membrane switches can be activated with the touch of a finger. Membrane switches are used to turn a circuit on or off. Membrane switches differ from mechanical switches which are usually made from copper or plastic. A membrane switch is a pressure sensitive switch that has at least one contact on a flexible substrate. Membrane switches usually have two contacts on a flexible substrate.

Membrane switches usually have a pair of stacked flexible membranes that have opposing contacts printed on their face. The ink used to print on the face of the contact is usually made from copper, silver, or graphite so that it will be conductive. The conductive ink is used in the membrane switch to complete the circuit when the switch is pressed.

Membrane switches are touch activated to make the electrical connection to activate the device. Membrane switches are also touch activated to break the electrical connection to deactivate the device. This means a person touches the switch and it activates the device. The person than touches the same switch in the same place and it deactivates the device. The membrane switches are often flat and often do not have much of a bounce to them.

Membrane switches work because they have a pair of stacked flexible membranes that have opposing contacts printed on their face and an intermediate layer between these faces to isolate the switch circuit patterns from each other. The printed electrical conductors on the faces of the surfaces of the membranes communicate signals to and from the contacts. Pressure applied to the switch pushes the conductor into contact with a similar substrate which completes the electrical circuit.

In order for a switch to be considered a membrane switch it must be pressure activated and the poles of the switch must make physical contact. Also when the switch is released the poles must immediately separate as the membrane returns to its original position.

Membrane switches are replacing mechanical switches everywhere and on all kinds of different things. Membrane switches are good to use because they are good at keeping moisture and dust out. Membrane switches are also good to use because they use low voltage. Membrane switches are also good to use because they are easy to use. A person only has to touch a button to activate the switch or deactivate the switch.

Membrane switches are used in many devices. A person can find a membrane switch on things such as cellular phone keypads, calculator keypads, microwave oven panels, air condition control panels, remote controls for televisions, remote controls for DVD players and remote controls for various other electronic devices. Membrane switches can also be found on laptop computers, dryers, washing machines, sewing machines, fitness equipment and even at the gas pump.

Membrane switches can be custom made for an individual. Custom made membrane switches can be made to suit the consumers made. Consumers can have their membrane switches made in a variety of colors. Consumers can also have their membrane switches made with LED lights behind the switch so the membrane switch lights up colorfully.


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