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Old 13th June 2007, 07:33 PM   #1
glen65 is offline glen65  United States
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Default Membrane keypads

Hello

I have some fitness equipment in which I am in charge
of maintenance and repair. I currently have a few units where
the membrane keypad that controls the computer console is bad.
The company that manufactures the equipment no longer sells
the keypad a replacement part. I seen these companies on the
net who make custom membrane panels.

Has anyone here ever dealt with any of these companies or can make a recommendation of which one I should use? I would need one who doesn’t require a large quantity for an order.


Thanks
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Old 13th June 2007, 08:19 PM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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I used to make membrane switches and similar products. The problem you'll run into is the low quantity. Membrane switches are custom items. To prepare the artwork, burn screens, prepare dies, and everything else involved, there's a pile of non-recurring engineering, several thousand dollars worth. If you're getting ten thousand made, that's only 50 cents or so per unit, but if you're just buying one or two, the NRE is overwhelming. Not to mention that most good membrane houses don't want to deal with onesy-twoseys.
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Old 13th June 2007, 08:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
Not to mention that most good membrane houses don't want to deal with onesy-twoseys.
Some do, but only if you are a regular customer. They use inkjet printing and laser cutting for prototyping and small series. But the quality of the switches is much less than using silk screening. This can be overcome by using discrete switches, but that means also making a PCB to hold the switches.

Cheers
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Old 13th June 2007, 09:03 PM   #4
SY is offline SY  United States
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For the sort of equipment Glen is working on, the presence of lots of sweat and moisture and the heavy-duty usage means that he's pretty much forced to use something that's well sealed and adhesively bonded. That makes the prototype switches a chancier proposition.
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Old 13th June 2007, 10:05 PM   #5
glen65 is offline glen65  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY
I used to make membrane switches and similar products. The problem you'll run into is the low quantity. Membrane switches are custom items. To prepare the artwork, burn screens, prepare dies, and everything else involved, there's a pile of non-recurring engineering, several thousand dollars worth. If you're getting ten thousand made, that's only 50 cents or so per unit, but if you're just buying one or two, the NRE is overwhelming. Not to mention that most good membrane houses don't want to deal with onesy-twoseys.

I've had to replace them before and when the company
was selling them they costed over 200 bucks a piece.
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