Backlighting is commonly found in capacitive switches. It consists of lighting system that’s able to illuminate the keys or button legends from underneath. If you’re planning to use a capacitive switch in a dark environment — or any environment with poor lighting — you should consider choosing a capacitive switch with backlighting. There are different types of backlighting, however, some of which work better for capacitive switches than others. What’s the best backlighting for a capacitive switch exactly?

How Capacitive Switches Work

To determine the best type of backlighting for capacitive switches, you should familiarize yourself with the mechanics of capacitive switches. Capacitive switches are designed to control a circuit. All switches, in fact, serve this same purpose. Capacitive switches are different in the sense that they only require contact with a conductive object to change the orientation of the circuit. Exposure to a conductive object, such as your bare finger, will engage the capacitive switch’s circuit. It will either open or close the circuit.

Since they only require contact with a conductive object to open or close the circuit, capacitive switches are often designed with backlighting. They can be designed with backlighting underneath the overlay layer, which doesn’t interfere with their operations.

LED Backlighting

While capacitive switches support many types of backlighting, light-emitting diode (LED) has become the most common. More capacitive switches feature LED backlighting than any other type of backlighting. LED backlighting uses similar bulbs as LED fixtures. They are just smaller and more compact LED bulbs. With LED backlighting, capacitive switches will feature an illuminated overlay layer that makes them easier to see and use.

Some of the benefits of LED backlighting for capacitive switches include the following:

  • Allows capacitive switches to be used in dark environments with little or no light
  • Energy-efficient lighting technology
  • Produces less heat than other types of backlighting

Light Guides

You can choose LED backlighting for capacitive switches either with or without light guides. What are light guides, and how do they work in backlighting systems? Light guides are components that propagate and distribute light. They essentially “guide” the light to the areas where it’s needed.

With light guides, the light produced by a capacitive switch’s backlighting system will be evenly distributed. The capacitive switch won’t suffer from dark or bright spots. Rather, its overlay layer will receive an equal amount of light throughout. If you’re looking to buy a capacitive switch, you may want to choose LED backlighting with light guides for this reason.

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