Skip to content

Everything You Need to Know About PCB Switch

Electronic circuit boards prove pivotal for any electronic device. It becomes impossible for an electronic device to function without this facet. Therefore, every sector and level from aeronautical, industrial, processing to the domestic level relies on this circuit board to enable processes and functions to operate seamlessly. However, this article will dwell on a critical component of the printed circuit board in the form and profile of a PCB switch. So what does a PCB switch entail?

The Printed Circuit Board Switch

By definition, a PCB switch implies an electrical part that gets deployed to regulate a circuit through breaking or completing it. If a switch gets turned on, a circuit gets completed, and the opposite also happens when it gets turned off. Switching off a switch will break the circuit connection. PCB-mounted switches come in different forms depending on the type of printed circuit board. Examples of a circuit board switch include the PCB push button, PCB micro switch, toggle switch, MEC switch, DIP and coded rotary switch, rocker switch, etc.  

PCB switches have become popular not only for designers but PCB users the world over.  It has increasingly replaced the traditional switches of late. So what does it entail, and what advantages can you derive from using it instead of traditional switches?

PCB Switches in Focus

A printed circuit board switch, as already explained, proves crucial in the modern-day era of printed circuit boards and digital devices. The PCB component, which implies a printed circuit board, drives this component‘s demand and makes it popular. It gets powered through the underlying circuitry of the PCB when it comes to the mechanism of the switch.     

Different manufacturers will go about the PCB switch design in diverse ways. Therefore this gives rise to the different types of printed circuit board switches, which can come as big switch PCB or small sized ones.  However, most printed circuit board switches possess a copper-covered fabric layer called a “copper-clad laminate layer.” The conductive properties of this material allow the flow of electricity through it, especially when the circuit completes upon the switch getting turned on.  

Benefits of Printed Circuit Board Switches

pcb push button switch

Plenty of electrical switch types are available in the market, and most businesses and consumers prefer PCB switches. So why does this happen? Firstly, printed circuit board switches permit the flow of electricity without much resistance. PCB switches get developed of copper, an exceedingly conductive material, to give low electrical resistance levels.

If you want to buy a switch for your outdoor use, then a PCB switch will always prove an excellent option.

  • Unlike some switches, a printed circuit board switch can withstand extreme and harsh conditions, including an outdoor setting.
  • Printed circuit board switches support different plating options. For instance, you can decide to opt for a gold-plated switch.
  • PCB switches support a backlight that allows for in-depth customization. In most instances, you will find LED (light-emitting diodes), electroluminescent, fiber optics, and light guides that prove typical backlighting solutions for PCB switches.  
  • Printed circuit board switches tend to support several soldering methods that include hard soldering and epoxy-based soldering.

While PCBs have existed for a while, recent tech advances have significantly enhanced the design and general performance. Therefore, if you want an electrical PCB switch, it becomes essential to consider the right vendor. But what better PCB manufacturer than the RayMing PCB and Assembly Company to get your PCB switch from. The company not only provides quality PCB components to match your design, fabrication, and assembly needs, but possess competent human resource to see it to completion. It especially becomes pivotal if you want your printed circuit board to get fabricated and assembled by the company.  

Mounting of Printed Circuit Board Switches

The process of mounting PCB switches differs. However, two main methods exist, and these encompass the PCB mounting and plate mounting methods. This section will explore more of these two methods to get you acquainted with both methods, especially when it comes to your printed circuit board switch. Let us get into it already, shall we?

PCB Switch Mounting

Printed circuit board switches are versatile and give options for deployment, especially when it comes to applications in machinery and engineering. A typical PCB mount switch used in this mounting method has front protection, a modular design, a distinct mounting process.

The process entails mounting without a plate and often involves either a 5-pin or a 3-pin switch. While either switch does not necessarily prove better than the other, mounting without a plate poses a challenge for the support of the switches. The lack of reinforcement, especially in a keyboard, can make it seem less stable and rickety. However, this type of mounting often leads to a cheaper PCB switch than plate-mounted PCB switches.

Plate-Mounting of PCB Switch

It entails the installation of switches atop a metal plate placed above the printed circuit board. The switches get soldered on the printed circuit board after getting placed on the metal plate. It will help reinforce and stabilize the keyboard besides making the keys feel heavier. However, such plates get used on larger keyboards in offering more support because of the larger size and the need to give the keyboard more stability. It also incorporates extra rigidity to your keyboard and secures it well.  

A plate-mounted PCB differs from a PCB-mounted switch PCB as they don’t require the extra guiding pins that a PCB-mounted switch requires (3 or 5-pins). It is because the switch gets mounted on the plate instead of the printed circuit board. However, it helps if you remembered that it becomes incredibly difficult to remove the plate once you have soldered the switches.

The plate-mounting method results in switches and keyboards that have more quality and last longer

Example of PCB Switch

It now becomes crucial to consider an example of a PCB switch, now that you know about PCB switches and mounting techniques. In this section, you will understand the DIP switch, also inferred as the “dual-line package switch.” DIP consists of small yet manual electronic switches designed for packing with some other circuits. It may infer to an individual or multi-switch units. The aim of DIP switches allows the control of electricity flow in a PCB.

When the DIP gets installed in a printed circuit board, it allows for potential customization of the electronic device’s behavior, making it possible to have full control over the device’s precise function. DIP switches get presented in the typical tiny toggle row switches. It proves a simple and affordable option of changing between diverse device and hardware options.

So what does a DIP gets used for?

  • The configuration of diverse alternatives, primarily on the PC peripherals and hardware components
  • It includes video cards, motherboards, modems, hard drives, expansion modules, among other auxiliary components and accessories.
  • DIP switches get applied in the opening mechanisms on garage doors
  • DIP’s also get deployed in multi-device/universal remote controls to avert electrical interference that ends up leading to unintended device’s unintentional control

In this scenario, the DIP switch becomes instrumental in setting different radio frequencies for receiver and transmitter pairing.

The Working of the DIP Switch

An average surface-mountable DIP switch gets sold as a basic assortment of two-terminal (1/0) electromechanical switches, which get assembled inside a block housing that proves thermally stable. Such DIPs are inferred as “jumpers,” though they technically represent an alternate option to traditional jumper.

Further, the “dual in-line” acronym segment infers to the contact pins organization located beneath the DIP switch that plugs straight onto the breadboard or PCB – these get arranged in dual parallel rows beneath the switch (DIP) block, hence the name dual in-line. In this switch type, twice the amount of contact pins is compared to switches on any existing module.

DIP switches prove useful when you select a specific device function and need the toggling of multiple switches to achieve the correct output mode. Among the most common DIP use entails deployment on computer motherboards, where several configuration settings can get accessed via toggling different switches to different positions.

A typical DIP switch can consist of one, two, four, seven, eight, ten, sixteen, or more rocker, toggle, rotary, or slide switches that get mounted into one small block. While they come as simple components, it is possible to move 1/0 independently, which provides a large and diverse number of combinations.

Every individual toggle in one DIP switch range gets electrically secluded from each other. When a toggle on a DIP switch is moved between its on/off positions, a flexible leaf spring beneath the switch reacts to the rocker or slider movement. It ends up bending slightly, whether downward or upward, to open or close a static contact below.

DIP switches get categorized for particular applications and roles, especially regarding their safe operational power rating, voltage, and current. It becomes essential for users to adhere to and observe the manufacturer’s specifications regarding a specific DIP switch. Otherwise, problems can occur, and these include electrical arcing and self-welded switches during switching, thereby jeopardizing device damage or performance instability.

Different types of DIP switches exist and apply to arcade machines, test and measurement devices, editing and production equipment, machinery and industrial sector controls, and automated garage doors.


Printed circuit board switches have increasingly become instrumental in the design and operation of circuit boards. Therefore, if you are a circuit board designer, it becomes critical to consider the PCB switch aspects deliberated upon in the article. For any inquiries, contact us through the channels provided on our website.




                Get Fast Quote Now