Using Touch Toggles With Your Own Electronics

Touch Toggles are the product of years of testing and research,. Most of the work has been in engineering, making a super-durable stand-alone unit. From the beginning, the effort has been to make the controls universal and adaptable to almost any use. The leads are simply a ground (brown), a 5v DC supply (red), and a “sense” line (yellow); a standard 5v logic level output.

Folks who are handy with modern electronics should have no difficulty using the Toggle’s output for their own purposes. Touch Toggles can directly input to Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and similar microcomputer/micro controller boards. The 1/10″ pin plugs used for our connectors are a standard in the electronics world for most sensor inputs. Touch Toggles are pin compatible and plug right into a common Arduino Sensor Shield: Plug them in and read the Toggle’s output. We also offer adapters to the Grove System Arduinos for folks using those type of connectors.

Note: it’s possible, as we mentioned above, to control the indication on the Toggle from an Arduino. Contact us for more details.

In the same vein, every base unit designed by Berrett Hill uses that same 5v logic level input. This can be very useful when wanting to control higher energy circuits. Our Snap-Action, Direct, and Direct Plus offer great real-world outputs for logic level controllers.

Note: our Servo Bases back-feed the logic lines during set up, and can not be trivially connected to logic circuits.

In the Model Railroading world, our Universal Translator provides an opto-isolated interface to NCE, Digitrax, and other DCC decoders. This is a very flexible interface base, which outputs 1/2 second push-button closures, and accepts a high/low input that controls the green/red aspect of the Touch Toggle indication. Our Logic Translator offers the same functionality at a lower cost with a logic level interface.

We have created a specialized Touch Trigger control for use with Tam Valley Depot equipment. This provides all the function of a Touch Toggle when connected to the standard Tam Valley local control connection.

What’s Inside

Touch Toggles have their own 20k pull-up resistors and a low internal resistance to work properly with most circuits. The internal 1k resistance is just enough to prevent damage if a “short” is connected through the output transistor.

All of our production toggle controls display green and red or in a special case green and green. All of our Momentary controls display yellow. We produce our own boards on our own equipment, so contact us with any special needs of color or behavior. (The contact numbers are below.)

Almost all of the current used by the Touch Toggle is used to light the LED, so each one draws about 18ma. Each Touch Toggle has an on board voltage regulation circuit so that they are reasonably immune to line noise, but keep the voltage between 4.6v and 5.5v for best results. Don’t exceed these numbers too much or you might let the smoke out.

Finally, here’s the relevant circuit drawing for those that wish to precisely calculate what they’ll see electrically in the circuit. This will work well with any CMOS, and *most TTL logic.    (*Pullup resistances less than 5k will overpower the Toggle)


Please let us know how you used Touch Toggles, and better yet send pictures!

Kevin Hunter

443 527 6320

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