Touch Board Proto Shield Assembly

Step-by-step instructions on how to solder headers to your shield

proto shield on touch board

We’ve developed the Touch Board Proto Shield to provide an easy and robust way to add functions to your Touch Board, and to provide a set of alternative ways to connect to your electrodes. The Touch Board Proto Shield makes it easy to connect to your Electric Paint sensors, no matter what your project format.

The Touch Board Proto Shield features screw terminals for wired connections, a convenient ground plane for using shielded cable, a prototyping area and all pins brought up to the shield for your project. These features are all explained in further detail below.

If you’ve never soldered headers on before don’t worry. Just follow our step-by-step tutorial below to attach the sockets and headers, and start your next project!

Materials To begin you will need:

1x Touch Board
1x Proto Shield

female and male pin headers
soldering equipment

material needed for assembling proto shield

The Proto Shield's functions

The Proto Shield is simple yet super effective and we want to give you a quick run down on its design.

If you look at the first image on the right, you can see that the standard Arduino pins have two solder holes instead of one: one hole is for the headers and one for any additional connections. Each pin is labelled by its Touch Board function, so you can quickly get an overview.

brought out touch board's pin


In this image, you should be able to identify an area with 16 lines. You can solder any SMD onto these pads. We have added breakout pins to each pad so that you can easily connect additional components to your SMD. We’ve also expanded the power rails, giving you easy access to the 5V, 3.3V and GND. The GND hole from the Touch Board has been taken into the Proto Shield as well.

power rails on proto shield

Screw Terminal

The image to the right shows the 12 screw terminals. The screw terminal gives you secure access to the touch electrodes. It allows you to quickly attach wires simply by putting them inside the terminal and screwing them tight.


screw terminals on proto shield

Ground Plane

The ground plane allows you to solder wires to the Shield that are too big for the plated holes, for example, shielded cable strands.

proto shield ground plate

Power and LEDs

Finally, you might be wondering why the Proto Shield has such a non-rectangular shape? Quite simple: If you place the Proto Shield on top of the Touch Board, this shape allows for unrestricted access to the power switch, the LEDs and the reset button.

proto shield shape

Soldering the headers

The Proto Shield comes unassembled, so you need to do a bit of soldering to get started.

If you haven’t soldered before, have a look at Sparkfun’s excellent guide here. Once you’re ready it’s time to get your solder equipment out!

To begin, you need to break the male headers into five pieces: 2 pieces with 13 pins, 2 pieces with 8 pins and 1 piece with 6 pins. You can use pliers to break off the pieces or carefully snap them apart with your hands.

Check the images to make sure you have all the pieces you need.


Soldering the headers

You then need to solder the female headers to the Touch Board and the male headers to the Proto Shield.

The images on the right show which headers go where on the Touch Board and Proto Shield.


Top tip:

If you solder the Proto Shield while placed on top of the Touch Board, as shown here, you ensure that the headers will be straight when attached.

proto shield soldering help

Soldering the screw terminals

Last but not least you can solder the screw terminals to the Proto Shield. The screw terminals come loose, but like puzzle pieces, you can connect them together.

Simply slide them together as shown on the image on the right. In the end, you should have 12 screw terminals connected in a row. Solder them onto the Proto Shield with the terminal’s holes facing the edge of the Shield.

Start making!

Now your proto shield is set up you can get started with your project!

We’d love to see what you make with the Proto Shield, so if you want you can send us your projects to or share with the team Twitter and Instagram with #TouchBoard and #ElectricPaint.


proto shield connected to printed sensor

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