I was ripping off a Center 352 Infrared Thermometer. The basic functionality is to sense the temperature and display it on an LCD. The LCD turned out to have no interface to the controller. The PCB had 3 LEDs which were focused onto the LCD to provide backlight. Other than that there was no other active component(/connector) that can transmit the data to the LCD. How is this interface done?

I tried googling and tried searching for connectors/interfaces without electrical contact. But, I got no idea how it works.

Attached image 1image 2

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ google "zebra strips" \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Nov 14, 2016 at 11:18
  • 9
    \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure you mean "ripping off", and not "taking apart"? \$\endgroup\$
    – psmears
    Nov 14, 2016 at 12:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ i've seen this on a toy math game too \$\endgroup\$
    – user129900
    Nov 14, 2016 at 15:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @psmears - I think "stripping down" might be the correct idiomatic translation intended by the OP. \$\endgroup\$
    – robinCTS
    Nov 15, 2016 at 2:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ As others note it's a "zebra connector" which conducts through the plane of the rubber but not across it (ie in the directions you'd expect for it to work). Use an Ohm meter to measure resistance through the rubber between directly opposite points and then offset. When the probes are opposite each other there will be a low resistance path. You will find that when the probes are offset by more than the thickness of the conductive bands that the resistance will be very high (or more :-) ). \$\endgroup\$
    – Russell McMahon
    Nov 17, 2016 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


The little piece of rubber you removed IS the connector.

Elastomeric connectors look like a piece of rubber and are commonly called "zebra stripes" because the conductive carbon stripes in the rubber look like zebra stripes when viewed from the end.

Image from Wikipedia:

enter image description here

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Could you add why these are used rather than other types of connector? Is it just a question of space? \$\endgroup\$
    – Rich
    Nov 14, 2016 at 14:48
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ The zebra strips are used because the LCD is made of glass, with very fragile (and nearly invisible) infused metal contacts. The strip is flexible and allows easy mechanical mount of fragile glass substrate of LCD. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 14, 2016 at 15:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ There are other, similar types of anisotropic connectors such as anisotropic adhesive tapes that function in the same manner but have no striping visible, from this PDF "...[A]dhesives randomly loaded with conductive particles. These particles allow interconnection of circuit lines through the adhesive thickness, but are spaced far enough apart for the product to be electrically insulating along the plane of the adhesive." They are also spectacularly expensive per roll. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dan
    Nov 14, 2016 at 18:07
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ @seethraman : The four dots you see aren't the connections on the glass. Hold the glass up to the light and you will see the ghosts of the real, metalized connections that are plated on the glass. They are very nearly transparent. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Nov 14, 2016 at 19:35
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @JinSnow: "Conductive" doesn't have to mean "short circuit." The traces are probably high resistance and hard to get good contact with using a multimeter probe. Use the resistance setting on your meter instead of the continuity test. \$\endgroup\$
    – JRE
    Oct 25, 2021 at 13:20

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.