Getting touchy performance with your screen’s touch screen? Resistive touch screens are incredibly popular as overlays to TFT and LCD displays. Only problem is they require a bunch of analog pins and you have to keep polling them since the overlays themselves are basically just big potentiometers. If your microcontroller doesn’t have analog inputs, or maybe you want just a way more elegant controller, the TSC2046 is a nice way to solve that problem.
This breakout board features the TSC2046, which has an easy-to-use SPI interface available. There is also an interrupt pin that you can use to indicate when a touch has been detected to your microcontroller or microcomputer. It can be powered from 3-5V, so it’s safe to use with 3V or 5V logic. It’s a nicely designed chip and has very stable precise readings. We found it’s also a lot faster than trying to do all the readings on an Arduino.
For the screens that have 1mm pitch FPC cables, you can plug the cable right into the connector. The majority of medium/large touchscreens have that kind of connector. If you have another kind of touch screen, the four X/Y contacts are available on 0.1″ pitch breakouts so you can hand-solder or wire them.
Getting started is super easy with our simple TSC2046 Arduino library. Plug any 1mm-pitch 4-wire resistive touchscreen to the on-board FPC connector, then use the library example to read touch points with X, Y and Z (pressure) results returned instantaneously. There’s an IRQ pin that will drop low when a touch is detected, you can use that to reduce the SPI polling.
We also break out the Busy pin, that lets you know when the chip is still reading, and the Vref pin if you want to read or change the default 2.5V reference voltage. There’s also two extra ADC pins you can read, Aux (0V – VRef) and VBat (0V – 2*VRef).
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.