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Types of USB switch connector

There are a number of USB switch connectors available from different manufacturers, and not all work in the same way. This article should help you to identify the switch connector you need.

Does it matter how it works?

When you plug a USB device into Windows the USB device tells Windows what it is – keyboard, digital camera, joystick or whatever. Windows can then find the driver and install the device.

A switch is not a recognised Windows device. Instead, switch controlled software uses a keyboard, mouse or joystick (game controller with fire buttons) as switches. The switch adaptor must act like one of these devices when the switch is pressed.

This is important, because you must be sure that the software you are using supports the device the switch connector is emulating (keyboard, mouse or joystick). If it does not then check to see if the switch connector comes with software to make it compatible. The safest choice is to get a USB (Joystick) based adaptor, as these come with software that imitates the mouse and keyboard types.

Keyboard switches Joystick switches
Pros: Supported by a wide range of games software. Pros: Can be used to play games that are not designed for disability.
Supported by major switch software (eg Sensory Software The Grid 2 and Switch Friendly Games, Clicker by Crick and Writing With Symbols by Widgit)
Cons: May type into any Windows program, which might cause problems. Cons: Not all disability software supports joystick input (but provided software will help).


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