Dev Kit Weekly: Texas Instruments EVM430-CAPMINI Evaluation Board
February 03, 2023
At this point, capacitive touch technology is interspersed everywhere. Increasingly, we see it in places like electronic door locks, home appliances, video doorbells, and all sorts of control panels. But the thing with capacitive touch tech is that it obviously needs to work. We all know how frustrating it is trying to click on a touchscreen when the “touch” part isn’t operating properly.
Thankfully, TI has the solution. The Texas Instruments EVM430-CAPMINI is an evaluation board designed for the MSP430FR2512, which is a 16-bit capacitive touch MCU that comes with 8 KB of FRAM, another 2 KB of SRAM, and a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter.
Now, the EVM430 eval board itself also features four capacitive touch buttons that allow both single and multiple touch, LEDs that light up to indicate a touch event, and an onboard speaker for audio output and an integrated HID serial communications bridge for CapTIvate Design Center to PC communication.
The EVM430 can receive 5 volts of power from a USB cable connected through the HID bridge, which is then regulated to 3.3 volts; or it can receive 3 volts from an included CR1632 coin battery that allows portable, standalone operation. This eval board also supports UART and I2C interfaces as well as firmware updates through an onboard test point.
The CapTIvate Design Center is a GUI designed by TI to be a “one-stop resource” for their capacitive sensing MSP430 MCUs. This drag-and-drop style interface enables you to set up designs in just a few minutes, as well as create, configure, and tune capacitive sensors like the buttons on this guy without having to write any code yourself. When your design is fully created and tuned, CapTIvate Design center will generate the source code you need for each element that can then be transferred into code composer studioTM or IAR Embedded Work Bench® IDEs.
With the CapTIvate Design Center, you’ll also receive access to the CapTIvate Software Library, which includes loads of tools and software components to help with things like hardware abstraction, electromagnetic compatibility, sensor processing, etc.
The GUI is compatible with Windows 7 and up and Linux OS, both with Java version 1.6 or higher, or Apple OS X 10.10+ with Java version 1.7 or higher. To get started actually using your EVM430-CAPMINI evaluation board, you just need to download and install the CapTIvate Design Center GUI and complete a getting started workshop outlined on TI’s website that includes hands-on experiments that will help you get acquainted with your hardware and how to use the GUI.
If all the points we’ve touched on sound interesting to you and you’d like to get going creating your own capacitive touch-enabled applications, you’re in luck. You can purchase your own EVM430-CAPMINI evaluation board from Digi-Key for $20.73, or directly from TI for just $11.99. Of course, if you’d rather not spend the money, you can also enter the raffle below for a chance to win this board for absolutely free —we’ll even pay the shipping.