Elegant and Robust Capacitive Touch Interfaces - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Elegant and Robust Capacitive Touch Interfaces

Author: dwinhold

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?:

What were the biggest problems encountered?: For the use I was going to do my review on, there was lack of information in order for me to complete my goal.

Detailed Review:



The kit came in a very well packed and protected package. The kit contains a CAPTIVATE-FR2633 target MCU module, CAPTIVATE-PGMR eZ-FET with EnergyTrace technology and HID communication bridge, CAPTIVATE-ISO UART, I2C, SBW isolation board, CAPTIVATE-BSWP self-capacitance demo, CAPTIVATE-PHONE mutual capacitance demo with haptics and guard channel and CAPTIVATE-PROXIMITY proximity detection and gesturing demo. Everything needed to get started with the demo software.


Demo software:


First is to download the Captivate Design Center. This is very easy to use and informative software for designing the layout of the touch sensors.


As shown below, it is a very graphic layout. It is drag and drop to the work area which makes it easy to use.

Here is a link to where it can be downloaded:

MSP CapTIvate Design Center GUI - MSPCAPTDSNCTR - TI Software Folder





When the board is connected to the design center you have access to each of the sensors you dropped to the work area. By clicking on a sensor you can use the properties page to assess the power, reaction time as well as other information. There is the tab "Tuning" where you can tune each sensor for your needs.



Below is the properties for the button sensor (8 buttons in total) The "Channel Table" tab is clicked showing the details of the button configuration.



When you have the layout you want, you generate the source code and save it to the appropriate file to export to Code C





Loading main.c into Code Composer allows you to alter the code for your ideas to become a reality. Below is the basic code for the sensor pad.



My review:




My idea was to use the GPIO's control motors when you touch the sensor pad and see the reaction time. I could connect to the LED1 and LED2 GPIO's for touch sensor use which worked, but, it is only 2 GPIO's. For my road test the 2 weren't enough to achieve the goal of completion. The other useable GPIO's I couldn't get to work, as the code I knew for other TI boards didn't work. I couldn't find any information or sample code in order to program their use.  I did have a great experience working with the Captivate Technology by TI. I would like to have the Element14 community to help me out on this as I want to complete the road test I set out to do.


BoosterPack Connector Footprint

The CAPTIVATE-FR2633 provides a standard 40-pin BoosterPack connector footprint providing +3.3V, +5V, UART, I2C and 5 GPIO signals.




Interesting detail:


I found out this bit of information: MSP430FR2633 can continuously scan up to four electrodes while the CPU is shut down, enabling up to 15 years of operation on a single coin cell battery with industry-leading current consumption of 0.9µA per button in sleep mode. Quite impressive!!


Online training series:


Here is a link to the MSP MCUs featuring CapTIvate™ Technology Training Series: 


Section 1: MSP MCUs featuring CapTIvate™ Technology Training Series

Section 2: Fundamental PCB Layout and Design Guidelines

Section 3: Introduction to EMC Challenges and Design with CapTIvate™ MCUs


This series has help me to understand the FR2633 and how it has so much more to offer.


I want to thank Texas Instruments and Element14 for this opportunity to participate in this road test.


I ask again for the Communities help to complete my goal in making the GPIO's work.


Dale Winhold

  • Nice road test overview.


    I too have been impressed with the way TI has separated the Hw monitoring capabilities from the CPU part of the system.


    There approach is key to making event driven devices that can stay dormant for long periods of time, but be fully operational when needed.