What is this type of switch called?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by bance, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. bance

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    Hi guy's

    I'm trying to repair an old LCR meter, It has a broken switch (I don't think that's the only problem, but it's the most obvious.)

    There are three buttons on the front panel for selecting resistance, capacitance or inductance.

    They are ganged together and work in such a fashion that only one can be depressed at any one time, ie. press one and the one that is currently selected is deselected. That is, only one switch can be active at any one time.

    Anybody know what these switches are called? It's kind of hard to search for something one doesn't know the name of.....

    Thanks in anticipation....

    Steve.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  2. MaxHeadRoom

    Expert

    Jul 18, 2013
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    They are called 'Radio' buttons, comes from the time they were used to select channels on early radios.
    Max.
     
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  3. bance

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    Thank's for the reply Max, but radio buttons just comes up with the software type.... DOH! windoze....(would include a head slap but don't know how)

    Hope it's not just bad google foo!

    Thanks Steve
     
  4. eyesee

    Member

    Oct 19, 2013
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    I believe they are called interlock pushbuttons - like the type you find on electric cooling fans.
     
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  5. MaxHeadRoom

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  6. bance

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    Thank's guys,

    We're definitely getting closer,

    eyesee, interlocking switch seems to come up with single switches that are designed to prevent more than one signal passing at one time, which is I suppose almost what I'm looking for, but these switches are ganged together....

    Max, I knew instantly what you meant (it was obvious,) but it doesn't help when searching for the bl**dy things....

    perhaps a picture might help... (see below)

    thanks Steve.
     
  7. Austin Clark

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
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    I remember these mainly from old cassette players, VHS players, etc;
    I also have them on my (really old) stove.
     
  8. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
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    I searched for "multi pushbutton array" and got some results. I also tried "pushbutton bank switches" and got a few more results. Try along the lines of these search terms.
     
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  9. strantor

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 3, 2010
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    Good luck finding those. I've looked in the past and found zilch. AFAIK nobody, and I mean NOBODY makes those anymore. If anybody can link a supplier, I'll eat crow. And back in the day when they were common, it seems everybody had their own proprietary flavor. Unlike the standardized tactile switches of today, nobody was on the same page. The radio buttons on the blender weren't the same as the ones on the walkman weren't the same ones on the radio and so forth. Probably your only bet is to find another LCR meter of the same exact vintage and buy it just for the button. Or send it to Rick's restorations - or similar institution that specializes in the dark art of obsolete and forgotten parts procurement.
     
  10. ErnieM

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    SOMEBODY is making these as I just bought a video monitor switch and it has exactly these buttons inside. Round black buttons outside and solder tabs inside. From the looks of them you can gang together 2 or more switches on a common connector; the connector contains the release mechanism.

    So they would be somewhat standard where a manufacturer could make a small number of types useful in many ways.

    Sorry, no markings whatsoever on them.
     
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  11. Metalmann

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    Dec 8, 2012
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    One of my old Plymouths, had similar push-button gearing.;)
     
  12. strantor

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    Maybe I should have said SELLING. I'm still surprised though that you found a newer device that has them. Do they look like a purpose-built in-house design, or something that is 3rd party, designed to work in other applications as well? No markings makes me think in-house.

    Does anybody know if these things were ever sold as a standard type of switch that you could order from a (any) catalog, not as a replacement part, but as something for a hobbyist project or even for use in a to-be-manufactured product? Or were they always one-off inside jobs?
     
  13. bwilliams60

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    Nov 18, 2012
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    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013
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  14. strantor

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  15. MaxHeadRoom

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    Jul 18, 2013
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    It would seem that historically we know they were originally called radio buttons because of the function used in.
    As more and more software or logic based equipment came in to use, this mechanical interlock was replaced by software or logic function using simple momentary P.B.'s or on screen graphics.
    The name Radio Button function, however has been retained in the software descriptions.
    The manufacturers of the few mechanical ones that are currently available decided on a name change I guess?
    Max.
     
  16. tubeguy

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
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    I've found it's really not that bad if you have a little humble pie for dessert. :p
     
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  17. strantor

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    Oct 3, 2010
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    This reinforces my theory that the quickest way to find out how to do something is to say that it is impossible, and the quickest way to find something is to say that it doesn't exist.
     
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  18. bance

    Thread Starter Member

    Aug 11, 2012
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    OK guy's thanks for the help,

    For the sake of completeness (it may help someone else) I found a supplier of this type of switch

    http://www.ck-components.com/f/pushbutton,10489,en.html

    Also I found a data sheet from a manufacturer, it looks like they can be configured in many different ways... I'm not sure if they are custom orders or if you can simply order the various parts and self assemble.

    I found a bank of three of these interlocking pushbutton switches in an old stereo amp I had lying around, there are also two individual latching switches of the same kind, maybe I can hack something together, since my LCR meter needs one six pole switch and two four pole. I need to investigate the schematics to see exactly what is being switched.

    Once again thanks for the help.

    Steve.
     
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  19. ErnieM

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    Apr 24, 2011
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    Great find bance. Seems like the buttons themselves are standard parts (I found them at Digikey). Still looking for those chassis parts, though it seems those are a factory only item.
     
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