Guide to Use Touch Sensor Plugin in Altium Designer®

Last modified by Microchip on 2023/11/09 08:55

This article provides a step-by-step guide to create a button and surface touch sensor design in Altium Designer®.

It is recommended that you install the Microchip Touch Sensor plugin in Altium Designer before proceeding.

Create a New PCB Project

Go to File > New > Project > Local Projects > Default.

Choose a Project Name, or a Folder, and click on Create.

Screenshot of creating a new project in Altium Designer

New Schematic and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) File

After the PCB project has been created, you can view the PCB Project Name under the Projects tab.

Right-click on the name of the newly created project and select:

Add New to Project > Schematic and PCB file.

Screenshot of adding new schematic and PCB file to the project in Altium Designer

Save Schematic and PCB File

Save the schematic and PCB file with the appropriate file name.

Screenshot of saving the schematic and PCB files with correct name

Add Sensor Patterns

Drag the Buttonself and Surface Diamond sensor patterns from Microchip Touch Sensors.IntLib to the schematic.

Adding Button and Surface Diamond sensors to schematic by dragging from Microchip_Touch_Sensors.IntLib

Annotate Designator Name

Go to Tools > Annotation > Annotate Schematics.

After selecting the Annotate Schematics tab, the Schematics Annotation Configuration window will appear.

Click on Update Changes ListAccept Changes (Create ECO), and then click Validate Changes. Once validated, click Execute Changes, then close the window.

Screenshot of schematic annotation

Configure Sensors

Right-click on the schematic symbols CS1 and CS2 to open their Configure window.

Screenshot of right clicking on sensors to open their configuration windows

Configure Parameters

Click on Configure CS1 and Configure CS2 and enter the required parameter values.

For ButtonSelf, use the default configuration. Then, update the SurfaceDiamond parameters.

Screenshot of the sensor configuration windows

Update the PCB

Once you are done with the schematics, you will need to update the PCB file to reflect the changes. Go to Design and select Update PCB Document.PcbDoc.

After you update the PCB, the Engineering Change Order window will appear.

Click on Validate and Execute Changes. Finally, check for any warnings or errors before closing the window by clicking on Close.

Screenshots of the menu selection to 'Update PCB Document' and the Engineering Change Order window with 'Validate Changes' button highlighted

The PCB file will automatically open with the imported sensor footprints for Buttonself and SurfaceDiamond.

Drag and place the sensor footprints inside PCB.

Screenshot of PCB file open showing sensor footprints off the board, then again with sensors moved to PCB

Finally, you can switch the PCB view from 2D to 3D. Go to View > 2D Layout Mode > 3D Layout Mode.

Screenshot showing the difference between 2D Layout Mode and 3D Layout Mode

We recommend that you verify the generated sensor patterns using the "Capacitive Touch Sensor Design Guide".