I'm Conor Patrick. Former {FTC OTRI, JHUAPL} intern. I support open source development. I do research for Secure Embedded Systems at Virginia Tech. You can follow me on Twitter.

A review of some SMT buttons

19 February 2017

A review of surface mount buttons

I haven’t posted in a long time and I am now finally making updates. I’m going to start with something super exciting (not really). This is a brief review of some surface mount buttons. Tactile push buttons, to be specific.

When picking out a button I’m tempted to just purchase a bunch of different ones to see which one I like since it’s hard to get a feel for ergonomics from an online distributer like Digikey. So this is to post pictures of what I ordered and to make some comments for other people looking for the perfect SMT button.

The buttons

Vanilla option

high resolution

The most basic button I think most SMT projects get. Relatively big, easy to push. Stick out color.

Links:

Low profile, good area

high resolution

I like this type since it’s pretty easy to push, a lower height, and a nicer color profile. Soldering it by hand might be a little more difficult.

Link.

Small area, still good tactile feedback

high resolution

This is an even smaller button and still has good tactile feedback. Since it has smaller surface area to press, I think it’s not quite as easy to give input via finger as the other options.

Link. Worth noting that the color of the button in the image is not necessarily the real color of the button.

Really small, bad feedback

high resolution

These are the smallest buttons I got. They definitely don’t provide good tactile feedback and are relatively difficult to press using just a finger. These would be good for when you don’t want the button to be pressed by accident – a person would have to grab a pen or something and very deliberately press it.

Links:

Metal domes

high resolution

These are quite different from all the rest. Metal domes, as offered by snaptron, come in a lot of different shapes and sizes. One thing that I like is that they are all rated by the amount of force required to “press” the dome in. I got a nice sample to test out using these domes as small, 1 bit pressure sensors. They can’t be soldered, but there are a couple other methods to attach them to a PCB, all pick and place compatible.

What am I missing?

Currently this is a small list. Send me a message if you think I missed something. I appreciate mail and I will update my post if I get anything.