From computers and smartphones to human machine interfaces (HMIs) and automotive systems, electrical switches are found in a variety of devices. They work by either allowing or restricting the flow of electricity. When electricity flows through a switch, the circuit is complete. On the other hand, restricted flow of electricity creates a broken circuit.
While all electrical switches serve the same basic purpose — to allow or restrict the flow of electricity — some are designed in different ways. One of the more popular switch designs is a membrane switch, which differs from traditional mechanical switches in the sense that it contains a circuit printed on either PET or ITO, both of which are conductive. Furthermore, the ink used in membrane switches are typically either copper, silver or graphite, which are also conductive.
But if you’re thinking of buying a new membrane switch, you should consider choosing a waterproof model. Electrical devices today are exposed to a vast range of hazards, including water. Some devices are more durable and resistant to moisture damage than others. But the fact remains that the intrusion of water into an electrical switch can ultimately damage it. When this occurs, it’s usually not worth the cost to repair it. Rather, replacing the electrical switch is the best course of action.
So, what are the benefits to using a waterproof membrane switch over traditional, non-waterproof membrane switches? Well, if you plan on using the switch outdoors, you’ll almost certainly need a waterproof design. Even if the switch is placed under a covered area or facility, it will still be exposed to moisture vapor in the air — and too much of this moisture vapor can cause critical damage to the membrane switch. Thankfully, problems such as this are easily prevented by choosing a waterproof membrane switch, which protects against the intrusion of moisture.
You can expect to pay more for a waterproof membrane switch than a non-waterproof membrane switch, simply because it requires additional components to protect the circuit from intrusion of moisture. But you have to think of a waterproof membrane switch as a long-term investment. While it costs more upfront, this cost will be returned in the form of a longer-lasting switch.