ZIF Connectors on Membrane Switches: What are They & What do They do?

ZIF connectors have no physical connector on your membrane switch and rely on a receptacle connector that is available from numerous manufacturers. It is important to choose a ZIF connector that is suggested for membrane switches and to keep in mind that smaller pitches are available in polyimide flexible printed circuits only.

ZIF connectors are increasingly common in several applications, especially when connecting to a small display or keyboard. ZIF connectors meet a range of requirements including low profile, lightweight, secure, and removable connections. ZIF connectors are appropriate for more complex applications and allow for higher levels of integration. For ZIF connections, the connector system is not on the membrane tail, but on the PCB. The tail of the circuit is inserted into the ZIF connector to create the contact, and a stiffener is laminated under the tail to ensure stability and maintenance of the electrical contact. ZIF connectors may have anywhere from 2 to 30 positions on a single row, and distances of between 1mm and 2.54 mm are available.

Keep in mind that ZIF connections degrade with insertions, so the maximum number of insertions should not exceed 10 cycles. It’s also important to remember to take care when placing the tail die but in relation to the printed traces, since resistance in the circuit may increase in spacing of less than 1mm where the circuit traces are thinner.

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