In Depth Interface Of Momentary Capacitive Touch Switches

momentary capacitive touch switches

Momentary capacitive touch switches are mechanical switch devices that typically have metal plates, rods, and conductive cylinders. These switches can detect a change in capacitance across the conductive areas. The change in capacitance is due to an object coming into contact with the plates.

What Do You Know About Momentary Capacitive Touch Switches?

Touch switches are a type of button that can also activate by the touch of a finger. In smartphones we are using these touch switches to replace physical buttons. This article discusses the fundamentals involved with this type of switch and how it works.

Meanwhile touch switches act as an alternative for physical keys. Replaces mechanical buttons to give input or feedback to the user interface. The switch component is the sensing component that senses the touch to activate the switch.

Simple Capacitive Touch Switches

Simple capacitive touch sensors have one plate connected directly to +5V. While the other connects through a variable resistor to an analog input pin on a microprocessor. Often ADC Channel 0 (Point 0). When no object is present, the variable resistor will be a high value (1MΩ common).  And so all of the voltage is drop across it. There is little or no voltage at Point 0.

This will generate a voltage of ~1.5V. As an object begins to touch one side of the sensor. Its capacitance with the ground increases and therefore . So does the voltage at Point 0. If we remove the object, there is no current through this resistor. So the voltage at Point 0 would return to its normal value, which is ~1.5V.

Properties Of Momentary Capacitive Touch Switches?

Touch switches are devices that detect the presence of a body’s contact with it. It works by using a conductive material. Capacitive touch switches require no power. But instead depends on the electrical properties of the surface. Capacitive touch switches have multiple applications in industry and consumer goods.

Touch-sensitive surfaces are alternative of capacitive touch sensors. These you can use for automated testing and other purposes. Sometimes replacing traditional means such as screwdrivers and wrenches.

These sensors can be thin enough to fit into digital structures. Or wearable electronics devices or have relatively large areas. That covers a proper distance when integrated with large parking lots or vehicles (such as scanning parking spaces).


  • A capacitive touch sensor is a sensor that uses an electric field to detect the presence of nearby touches. The name comes from the capacitance between the sensing electrodes and it changes when touched by anything conductive.
  • Touch screens can use a single finger or multiple fingers for input. And maybe able to distinguish between touches from one finger or several different fingers.
  • Capacitive touch sensors also can degrade over time due to electrolytic reactions. It happens at the electrodes causing the sensing element to become electrically charged. It then seems unable to sense objects on its surface properly.
  • A capacitor has two conductive electrodes. Usually separated by an insulating dielectric material. The capacitance can vary depending on the materials used in its construction.
  • For example, the capacitance between two different metals with different conducting properties. It is quite different from one other.
  • The capacitive touch sensor utilizes a capacitor to sense the presence of an object on its surface. A stylus tip or a finger charged to a high voltage will connect one of the electrodes to the ground. Thus short out the capacitor through the other electrode, thereby providing a voltage drop across the capacitor.


  • Momentary capacitive touch switches measures the capacitance of an object. Obtained by grounding one of the objects and measuring the voltage across both objects.
  • Touch sensors play an important role in human-machine interaction for many applications. They can also control a cursor on a computer screen. Navigate menus on a touchscreen interface.
  • A touch sensor can be mechanically based on resistive technology, optical, surface acoustic waves (SAW), or capacitive-based. Capacitive touch sensors can be in many different types of devices.
  • One of the disadvantages of most capacitive touch sensors is their poor operational stability.
  • Static electricity, water and oil damages the capacitive touch sensor . Damage to a capacitive touch sensor can cause the sensoring element. It’s mounting to function improperly.  Such as when a defective sensor may not detect an object.  It may falsely indicate an object about touching.

Devices that are Compatible with Capacitive Touch Pannel

Some of these devices are:

– Touch gloves 

– mobile phones

– Tablet PC and iPad 

– Digital photo frames and other home appliances like TV and cooker hoods.

Working Of Capacitive Touch Sensor

  • A typical device consists of two metal plates separated by an insulator or dielectric. One plate is connected to a reference voltage or ground.
  • The other plate is connected to an input voltage terminal. This one may be variable. When an object comes into contact with the plates, one wire will become life due to increased capacitance. It happens between the plates, and this wire’s power source decreases. Because it now shares some energy with its adjacent wire.
  • The wire was previously being used solely as a passive ground conductor. The decreased charge at the power source results in a change.
  • The change occurs in voltage proportional to the object’s placement on the plate. A digital capacitive touch sensor determines the presence of an object by measuring this change in voltage.
  • The most basic form of capacitance is two parallel plates. Each is separated by an insulator (dielectric).
  • Two metal plates allow us to create a circuit with one plate connected to +5V.  And the other connected to the ground. If no conductive body is present, the voltage between each conductor will be 5V. But when a conductive body is placed on the two plates.  Then the voltage between each conductor will change.

Capacitance Level

  • When an object is placed between the two plates, it changes the capacitance of the circuit. This results in a change in voltage and current flow. In this situation, current flows from one conductor to another. And from which a voltage is driven to 5V or 0V (depending on where it is connected).
  • Receiving the change in voltage with a digital application is done by setting the value of a variable resistor connected to the current source voltage and ground (also known as analogue ground ).
  • Once the variable resistor has been set, then it becomes an input that will be used to determine if an object is present or not. Suppose no object is placed on the plate. Then this variable resistor would be 1kohm.
  • Suppose an object is placed on the plate and turns current from 1kohm to 0kohm. We would know that it was there because 1kohm was 0V and 512 was 5V. If this object is removed, the voltage changes to 5V because 512=1kohm+5V.


The above blog sincerely describes the fundamentals of momentary touch switches. Meanwhile explains the working system, types as such. Hope this article is useful to get the entire functions of the same.


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