Setting up your Touch Board with the Arduino Installer
Ready to put your own code on the Touch Board? Follow this tutorial to get started.
Your Touch Board comes shipped with pre-installed code that acts as a touch sensitive MP3 player. If you wish to alter the code, to run another one of our examples or write your own, you will need to set up an environment on your computer to do so. This tutorial takes you through this process step-by-step.
We know that not everyone using the Touch Board is familiar with the Arduino IDE, so we’ve made sure this tutorial covers every step of the process so that you can change the code on your board no matter what your skill level.
Please note that for Windows the Arduino IDE needs to be installed from the Arduino Website and not from the Windows App Store.
Currently, the latest macOS update, macOS Catalina, doesn’t support the Touch Board. This is an issue that needs to be fixed by Apple, in the meantime, we recommend that you don’t update to the latest macOS version if you still require to use the Touch Board.
Materials To begin you will need:
1 x Touch Board
1 x USB A to Micro B cable
1 x Computer running Mac OSX,
Windows or Linux
1 x Internet connection (but you are reading this, so I guess you must have one!)
Step 1 Install Arduino
The first step is to install the Arduino IDE (Integrated Development Environment). To do this, just click here.
We always recommend using the latest version of Arduino, so please upgrade if you already have it installed. Be sure to select the correct download for your operating system.
Once you’ve installed Arduino, and saved it in your Applications folder (or run the installer on Windows) move on to Step 2.
Step 2 Run Arduino for the first time
Once you have installed Arduino, you will need to run it. This is so that it can set up a few folders on your machine, which we will need to copy files into later. Once the program has loaded, shut it immediately and proceed to the next step.
Step 3 Download the Touch Board Arduino Plugin Installer
We have created an installer for each operating system which will copy the files needed to make Arduino work with the Touch Board into place. Please be sure to download the correct installer for your operating system from the links below.
Step 4 Run the installer
Firstly, if you have the Touch Board plugged into your computer, please unplug it before going further. Locate the installer that you have downloaded, unzip it, and double-click the file inside to run it. You should see a splash image pop up, after which the installer will take you through things step-by-step.
For Mac OSX users, this is a straightforward process and you do not need to take any special steps.
Windows users may need to approve the program to run when they first double-click it, and then later approve the installation of a small driver which we need so that Windows understands how to talk to the Touch Board.
Linux users will have to enter their password to approve the addition of a rule to ensure that the operating system does not accidentally try to use the Touch Board as a USB modem. You will also need to restart Linux after the installer is finished (surprising, I know!).
Step 5 Run Arduino
Now that everything has been installed, and you have restarted your computer (if necessary) you can open the Arduino IDE again. Once it has loaded, select
File→Sketchbook→Touch Board Examples→Touch_MP3
to open the code which the board ships with. There are other examples in the same folder which you can explore later, but for now stick with Touch_MP3.
Step 6 Connect your Touch Board
You can now connect your Touch Board to your computer using the micro USB cable. Make sure the switch on the bottom left hand corner is switched to ON.
On Windows, you may now see a message pop up telling you that a driver is being installed. Give this a minute or two to settle – it may even say that installation has failed initially, before finally sorting itself out.
On Mac OSX, a window may pop up asking for you to identify the new keyboard. Just click on cancel or close this window.
Step 7 Uploading the example code to the board
Select “Bare Conductive Touch Board” in the Tools→Board menu.
In the Tools→Port menu, search for the ports labeled “Bare Conductive Touch Board”. In Linux and on Mac, there may be several options: choose the one that has CU in the name. In Windows, there should be one COM port labelled “Bare Conductive Touch Board” – choose this.
Now click the upload button. This is the circle with an arrow at the upper left hand corner of your sketch window. The RX and TX LEDs on the Touch Board should flicker and the Arduino IDE should then say Done Uploading – success!
On Windows machines, you may now see another attempt to install a driver, which most likely will appear to fail and the upload will fail too. Again, give this a minute to settle and try again – this will only happen the first time.
If you continue to have difficulty uploading to the board, try these instructions from Arduino – they apply to the Touch Board too.
Step 8 Using the right USB cable
There are two types of micro USB cables: those for powering and transmitting data and those for only powering. In order to upload code to the Touch Board, you need a USB cable that can also transmit data. If you can’t find the Touch Board under Tools→Board, then chances are that you have a USB cable that is only for powering the board. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to visually distinguish the two types of cables, so you need to to do some testing with other devices, like smartphones, to make sure that you have the right kind of USB cable.
Step 9 What next?
Feel free to have a play with the code!
Try changing the audio volume, or changing the audio trigger logic. Try one of the alternative code examples (taking care to read the comments in order to set up the board correctly. Or throw it all out and start from scratch! The sky’s the limit.