This is an alternative and flexible way to present external buttons to give a tidy and professional finish – in a compact space.
Most electronic projects need to offer some way to interact with the circuit. Often input signals are accomplished using buttons.
But most “chassis” or “panel mount” buttons are quite large. Even small buttons, like a 12mm button, requires a large hole in the box or panel. Some of the smaller buttons don’t look great or feel a bit budget. In addition, even some of the the small cheap buttons need 15mm of space inside the box or behind the panel. Some of the pretty standard 12mm buttons need 25-30mm of rear space.
Sometime those buttons are the right choice for that project. But as electronics projects get physically smaller over time, and we all want to minimise the dimensions of our projects, those buttons can take up a lot of space – both front panel and the space required to accommodate them at the back.
And, some projects only require the occasionally interaction (like setting time, or preset values), so you don’t really want obvious buttons. Perhaps you prefer discrete buttons, sometimes recessed.
The Tactile Button Switch
However, there are some buttons that would be ideal, except that they are PCB mounted. One great example is the 6mm tactile button/switch. These are very low cost, have a excellent ‘click’ feedback, and are very widely available. Plus, they are available with different button heights, and some even offer coloured key-caps.
But…. they are PCB mounted. To expose those buttons externally means constructing your project so that the PCB is close to the front panel, or using clumsy actuator extenders to allow them to be pressed from a distance. Or making a Heath Robinson-esque contraption to shift the buttons closer to the panel.
Tactile Button Bezel Kit to the rescue!
These kits make is very simple to panel-mount those excellent, low-cost, tactile button switches. Using these kits offers a number of benefits:
- They make it easy to externally present buttons away from the main PCB, adding flexibility to your build
- You can use what ever height of button to achieve a recessed, flush or prominent finish. You can also mix them in any combination!
- The buttons can be presented in a nice glossy Bezel with no visible screws. Or totally flush with the surface of your box or panel
- They only require a very small space behind the panel – about 6mm or less!
- They are available to hold 2 or 4 buttons. And you can use multiple kits for for more buttons.
- The PCBs also offer a ground plane, when needed
- The bezel versions hide any messy cut-out for a clean, professional finish. The bezel facia sits slightly (about 2mm) above the surface of the project box or panel
- The stand-off version is mounted behind the face of your project box or panel, for a flush finish.
How these kits are used
For any of the kits, the first step is to solder your choice of tactile buttons to the supplied PCB, and you can mix any combination of button height to suite your requirements. You can then either solder your connecting wires directly to the PCB, or you can solder a header connector. The PCB circuits are wired so that the switches have a common connection, and each switch has an output connection. You will note that there is one extra connection – and that is to connect the ground-plane of the PCB, if you need that for e.g. shielding.
For the bezel kit
The constructed PCB is simple attached to the rear of the bezel with the screws provided. You then make a suitable cut-out in your box or panel and the bezel assembly is glued in place. The bezel hides any untidy cut-out to give a clean, professional finish.
For the stand-off kit
This kit mount on the back of your panel. You will need to drill holes for the mounting screws and holes for each of the button actuators. The assembly is held in place with the screws provided.
There are many ways to add buttons to your project. But for those times where you need smaller buttons, flush or recessed buttons, a clean professional appearance, and have a nice tactile feel, these mounting kits can be a great help.