Membrane keyboards?

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#1
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Hi!

Does anybody have a good idea, where to order membrane keyboards. Are those too expensive for hobbyists?

I would like to have an membrane that includes some buttons and window for LCD-display and some text.

- Mikko

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RS and Farnell stock them, they are quite expensive. I don't think you will find one with a window unless you get one made for you (very expensive!)

Leon Heller G1HSM

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Quote:

(very expensive!)

True but the expense is the tooling cost. As long as you amortise this over a large quantity of units then the per unit cost can be low - which is, of course, the appeal of membrane.

I'd guess there's probably a break at something like 50,000..100,000 units where it becomes economic to have a tool made.

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If it's just for a one-off, look at re-purposing the panel off a dead piece of test equipment from your local junk-shop/tip. Some of them come in nice re-usable boxes too! Bin-diving can be very fulfilling on occasions.

"It's only waste if you don't use it!"

C.H.

C. H.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
It's only waste if you don't use it!

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Thanks for the fast replies.. Seems that I have to drop that idea of membrane keyboard on my project. Too expensive... :(

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Well it's not cheap either but in this day and age everyone's going for an iTouch interface - Atmel have the QTouch chips to make this possible.

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I think you should check the price first. Talk to the guys at sparkfun.com. They have some kind of prototyping for membrane keyboards. I got a quotation from them before.

Solution number two, that might not be the same thing, but can be an alternative, is a milled aluminum frontpanel. They look really professional. I use frontpanelexpress.com. The software they use is free and you can calculate the cost directly in the software. And they give you candy with the deliveries. :)

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AgwanII wrote:
I think you should check the price first. Talk to the guys at sparkfun.com. They have some kind of prototyping for membrane keyboards. I got a quotation from them before.

Solution number two, that might not be the same thing, but can be an alternative, is a milled aluminum frontpanel. They look really professional. I use frontpanelexpress.com. The software they use is free and you can calculate the cost directly in the software. And they give you candy with the deliveries. :)

Sounds good! Have to check it out!

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Quote:

I'd guess there's probably a break at something like 50,000..100,000 units where it becomes economic to have a tool made.

Hmmmm--our quantities are much more modest than that. The "tooling" will vary, but it is a few hundred dollars for the custom artwork plus the tooling charge for the various layers. At that point, the keypads in orders of a few hundred may be $5-$7 for like 12 buttons. One that is smaller has 6 buttons and two LEDs and costs $3 in thousand quantities.

On lower quantity items we'll often use 7-cent simple pushbutton switches, overlayed with "embossed domes" over the switches to get some feel. Still quite sealed, and not expensive.

For a 1-off, make your overlay "sandwich" and emboss the domes with a rounded dowel end.

Re "touch" taking over the world--take your working touch panel controlling a device, and then spray it down with 409 or similar household cleaner. I'd suggest at that point having a hard switch for reset/stop 'cause you are going to get all kinds of false hits.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

I've never met a pig I didn't like, as long as you have some salt and pepper.

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I like this combination. Cheap and looking "good enough" for quick prototypes.

http://www.tme.eu/html/EN/hammon...

Stealing Proteus doesn't make you an engineer.

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You could print your design on mylar film and use regular buttons behind it. Print it mirrored onto the back side and it's nicely protected.

Front Panel Express is very nice, I used them a few times. The software is very easy to use.