Tactile switches establish contact between electrical connections when actuated. A short stroke is required for actuation. A small click spring mechanism gives a tactile, and in some cases acoustic, feedback as to whether the pushbutton has been fully actuated. Usually, tactile switches switch DC voltages in the range from 3V to 48 V. The main application of such a device is in the control panel behind a flexible foil labelled with buttons. Typical examples from everyday life are the keyboards of pocket calculators or mobile phones with a permanent input field for numbers and letters.
In industrial environments, tactile switches are used in the control panels of entire devices or systems. For this application, tactile switches are available with additional lighting to indicate the switching status unmistakably. In addition to different electrical operating conditions, tactile switches are available with different height options so that different distances to the control panel can be implemented.
Mounting and integration of tactile switches
Tactile switches usually require a stable mounting in order to be able to accommodate the keystroke. They are therefore usually integrated directly onto printed circuit boards, either for surface mounting (SMD) or conventional manual print mounting (THT). Tactile switches have a service life (in terms of individual actuations) of several 10,000 up to 1,000,000 times. Further characteristical features are resistors in actuated and non-actuated state that dictate the maximum current which may flow through the contacts of the pushbutton and the maximum voltage at the contacts.