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What are the differences in 4,5 and 8 wire touch panels

What are the differences in 4,5 and 8 wire touch panels

Posted by Daniel Burke | 30 September 2016


Resistive touchscreens are characterized by the use of two flexible sheets of material (usually made of glass or film) that are coated with a resistive material and separated by air or microdots. When you press against the front of a resistive touchscreen, the two sheets make contact, at which point a grid of vertical and horizontal lines calculates the exact point of contact. This week, we’re going to take a closer look at 4-wire and 5-wire resistive touchscreens, revealing the subtle nuances that distinguish them.



In a 4-wire resistive touchscreen, the upper and lower layers are sandwiched together to calculate the exact point of contact. While the exact method of operation varies depending on the specific device, the controller (located on the back) typically sends volts of electricity to the lower layer. And when you press the touchscreen, it identifies the location of the voltage to determine the X and Y coordinates of contact. The voltage alternates between the two layers, allowing for an accurate and effective calculation of contact.

One of the key advantages of choosing a 4-wire resistive touchscreen is its low cost. While the average cost of all touchscreen devices has dramatically declined over the past few years, 4-wire models remain the cheapest to manufacture, and therefore they are cheapest to purchase.

5-wire resistive touchscreens are similar to their 4-wire counterpart but differ in a few ways. For starters, 5-wire touchscreens measure voltage from the lower layer only. The upper layer is simply a shortening pad, meaning micro damage to it won’t hinder the touchscreen’s performance or accuracy. This is in stark contrast to 4-wire touchscreens, which use both the upper and lower layers to measure voltage.

When compared to 4-wire resistive touchscreens, 5-wire models are more durable, accurate and longer lasting, making them an attractive choice for commercial applications (e.g. hospitals, medical practices, schools, etc.). You can expect to pay slightly more for a 5-wire resistive touchscreen, but it’s a smart investment that will pay off in the long run.

To recap, the main difference between 4-wire and 5-wire resistive touchscreens is that 5-wire touchscreens do not measure voltage from the upper layer.


8-Wire Resistive

8-wire resistive touch screens operate like 4-wire touch screens but have an additional four sensing points which allows for better accuracy and linearity in larger touch screen sizes. Because of its input flexibility, low power draw, accuracy and low cost, our 8-wire resistive touch screen is a good choice for many interactive applications.