what are tactile domes

What Are Tactile Dome Switches?

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tactile dome switch on printed circuit board

Although you may not know it, you likely use tactile dome switches every day, whether you’re unlocking your car or playing video games with your kids. You can find these small metal switches in all types of electronics. And they make your life easier by providing thousands of uses without fail. Also known as snap domes, metal domes, or dome switches–tactile domes are momentarily open switches that provide crisp tactile feedback.

Closing the Circuit

The idea of tactile dome switches is relatively simple. The top of the dome rests against the outer rim or edge of the button or control (think about the unlock button on your car’s key fob). When pressed, the dome collapses and makes contact with a secondary pathway in the circuit board. Thereby closing the circuit and sending an electrical signal to the device. These circuit boards can have relatively simple designs, from video game controllers to intricate designs such as medical equipment and aviation controls.

keypad with metal domes
keypad design with metal domes

Finding the Right Tactile Domes

While your car key fob may only have one or two tactile domes, some applications require multiple domes. Our Peel-N-Place dome arrays come preloaded with pressure-sensitive adhesive, making them easy to place onto your printed circuit board. If your circuit board calls for 50 domes, or 150, we can create an array that meets your needs. Above all, we want you to have controls and switches that work perfectly throughout your product’s lifetime.

Millions of Life Cycles

When using a tactile switch, you may think the dome will give out at some point. While that is possible, domes such as Snaptron’s GX-Series can exceed five million life cycles. That means if you press a GX dome 50 times a day, the button will work for 100,000 days. So it’s unlikely that you’ll exhaust a dome’s life cycle, even if you use it for several years.

Get Started Today

If you’re interested in learning more about our tactile domes or have an electronic application that needs switches, please get in touch with us today. We can help you find the appropriate domes for your controls or design a custom dome. All our domes are manufactured in a state-of-the-art clean room to prevent dust and other particles from interfering with switch operation or efficiency.