Silicone rubber keypad with domed protection layer applied to each key

If you’re thinking about a silicone rubber keypad, you may have some questions. Silicone rubber keypads are undoubtedly popular. With their silicone rubber webbing, they are more versatile than traditional keypads made of hard plastic. Below is a list of frequently asked questions, as well as answers, for silicone rubber keypads.

How Do They Differ From Elastomeric Keypads?

While many people assume they are different, silicone rubber keypads are the same as elastomeric keypads. The terms “silicone rubber keypad” and “elastomeric keypad” are used interchangeably. They both refer to keypads consisting of silicone rubber webbing around their respective switches.

Are They Safe to Use in Humid Environments?

Silicone rubber keypads are absolutely safe to use in humid environments. Many restaurants, for instance, use them. You can even silicone rubber keypads used outdoors. While humidity may damage other types of keypads, silicone rubber keypads are safe from harm thanks to their sealed design. The silicone rubber webbing material forms a waterproof shell over the keypad’s switches, thereby protecting them from moisture- or humidity-related damage.

Do They Support Backlighting?

While not required, silicone rubber keypads do, in fact, support backlighting. They can be designed with electroluminescent (EL) or light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting. Whether EL or LED, the backlighting in a silicone rubber keypad can be further enhanced with light guides. Light guides don’t produce light. They simply distribute it so that the keypad doesn’t suffer from dark spots or bright spots.

How Do They Produce Tactile Feedback?

All silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback. When you press a button, you’ll feel the switch spring back up. This physical force or sensation is a form of tactile feedback. Silicone rubber keypads produce tactile feedback naturally thanks to their silicone rubber webbing. Silicone rubber is an elastic material. Therefore, it will revert back to its original size and shape after being deformed.

What Is a UV Silicone Rubber Keypad?

You may discover that some silicone rubber keypads are labeled as “UV.” A UV silicone rubber keypad is the same as a traditional silicone rubber keypad but with one major difference: It’s processed with ultraviolet light to selectively remove paint or pigment from the top layer. UV silicone rubber keypads are transparent in specific areas, thereby allowing the light to shine up and through their respective buttons.

What Are PCB Contacts?

Most silicone rubber keypads are designed with printed circuit board (PCB) contacts. You typically won’t be able to see them. Rather, the PCB contacts are found below each of the keypad’s buttons. When you press a button, a contact on the bottom of the button will touch the corresponding contact below it. This, in turn, will complete the switch’s circuit.