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I am designing a very simple device, which absolutely needs to be inexpensive, total BOM cost < $1.00 including the MCU (at 10k+ units). This device would benefit from knowing its orientation, which could be binary - vertical / non-vertical. I do not need the granularity of an accelerometer just a reliable way to determine single axis position in a binary format. After a google search, I am still empty handed, I have only been able to find full blown accelerometers which start at around $0.40. I was hoping to get something fo $0.10 or less (at quantity). I would love to get some input on any options for this.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can you use a ball tilt switch? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Um, can you tell me where you are finding accelerometers for only 40 cents? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – bitsmack
    Commented Mar 2, 2017 at 6:36

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As Chris suggests, a ball tilt switch is the standard cheap approach for detecting orientation. The lowest-cost option appears to be the SW-200D, available for under 5 cents in quantity: SW-200D This will close a contact when the gold-colored lead is below the horizontal, and open it when the silver-colored lead is below the horizontal, with a hysteresis of up to 30 degrees. If your product can be in several different orientations, distinguishing vertical might required more than one of these switches, mounted at different orientations. A better option, though a bit hard to find, is the SW-520, about 12 cents in quantity, which only makes contact when within 45 degrees of upright: SW-520 Of course, an accelerometer gives you a lot more options and flexibility. The best price I've found there is for the MMA8653, at 35 cents in quantity.

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