Those who (jokingly) complain that their wallets empty out every time they read my blog will be in heaven today… touch switches for 79 pence. YES – SEVENTY NINE PENCE – and backlit, too!! It’s a winner!!!
Could these be the world’s cheapest backlit touch-switches?
There aren’t any catches here – you can buy one at a time for slightly more – or 10 at a time – they have different colours etc.
My pal Jonathan introduced these to me a few days ago and I am SO glad he did! So basically this is what you get – a panel maybe 20mm x 16mm (finger size!) and they have a 3-way 0.1” connector on the back – power, ground, output. Power is 3v6 to 6v. Operation is simple – bring your finger near the panel – it lights up and the output is on – move your finger away, it goes off. If you want momentary action there’s a tiny pair of solder links for that, too. The proximity switching works through plastic – maybe 3mm or more?
Now that last point is really important as these really are not too much use on their own, not that pretty and with a band at the top – but they do light up evenly and brightly and that’s the point – with a case with some kind of legend, maybe a negative sheet with shapes – you know, my friend and I were responsible for the world’s first video jukeboxes (no, really, we were) and one of our first designs was a Perspex front with a large negative behind it – black with clear track titles etc… at the front we had large amusement machine-type buttons.. If ONLY these things had been available at the time !!!!
Sorry the picture is so crap, this is pre-digital camera, pre-Internet. But you can see the backlit negative. The mechanical buttons could have been completely replaced with touch areas.
Today, I’m thinking – negative with down (left triangle), menu (menu) and up (right triangle) – three of these on an ESP and some kind of display (the cheap SD1306 OLEDs at under £3) and you have a marvellous menu control for whatever – lighting, heating, house control – you name it. Just a little visual imagination… or maybe if you’re lucky enough to have a tiny engraver – engraved in a plastic front panel deep enough to let the light through – the list goes on. See what can be done with star-trek style control panels.. This example of a backlit panel got me fired up…
Want to take my Jukebox to futuristic extremes – check this out – stunning – and you could do this with these touch panels, a bit of plastic and a negative.. for VERY little outlay…
Oh, you want to see these in operation – I made a video and near the end of this short video where I talk about other stuff in the postbag… and here is the cheapest price I could find – including postage (well, the postage is free) 0.767 pence each… so many possibilities…
And - as it happens (see comments) as we look through the adverts it turns out there is a similar (though the chip appears different) non-backlit version which is a lot cheaper. Do your own backlight? Edge lighting? Check this AliExpress link out.. Worth a play? I've ordered 20 - will let you know in a matter of weeks!