Silicone rubber keypads have become increasingly popular. They are used in countless consumer and commercial switching applications. Silicone rubber keypads, of course, feature a unique construction that distinguishes them from other types of keypads. If you’re thinking about buying one, there are a few things you need to know.
#1) Features Elastic Webbing
All silicone rubber keypads feature elastic webbing. The webbing is the material that connects a switch’s button to the underlying printed circuit board (PCB). They are known as “silicone rubber keypads” because they feature silicone rubber webbing. Silicone rubber is an elastic material that’s able to deform when pressed. When you release your finger from the switch’s button, the webbing will spring back up.
#2) Also Known As Elastomeric Keypads
Some people assume that silicone rubber keypads are different than elastomeric keypads. While they have different names, they refer to the same type of switching solution. Silicone rubber keypads and elastomeric keypads are essentially the same. They both feature elastic webbing — the most common being silicone rubber — around a central switch.
#3) Quiet Operation
Silicone rubber keypads are quieter than many other types of keypads. They are almost silent, in fact, thanks to their elastic webbing. Other types of keypads create a loud “clicking” sound when you press a key. Plastic keypads, for instance, are prone to this sound. Fortunately, silicone rubber keypads are far quieter. They don’t produce a “clicking” sound, nor do they produce any other sound. You can use them almost silently.
#4) Produces Tactile Feedback
While there are many specific types of silicone rubber keypads, they all produce tactile feedback. Also known as haptics feedback, tactile feedback is a physical sensation that a device creates in response to a command. In silicone rubber keypads, tactile feedback is created naturally when you release your finger from the button. Removing your finger will cause the webbing to revert back to its original position. In other words, the webbing will spring back up. Since you’ll be able to feel this happening, it’s a form of tactile feedback.
#5) Supports Backlighting
You can order silicone rubber keypads with backlighting. Backlighting consists of a lighting system that’s designed to illuminate a keypad’s buttons from underneath. Most silicone rubber keypads use light-emitting diode (LED) backlighting. LED backlighting is long-lasting, energy efficient, and it produces minimal heat. These features make it a popular backlighting solution for silicone rubber keypads.