I am prototyping an in-car computing and entertainment system and am hoping you can recommend a touch screen that fulfills my requirements. Can you help?

Hey Touch Guy,

I am prototyping an in-car computing and entertainment system and am hoping you can recommend a touch screen that fulfills my requirements. I’m looking for:

  1. 7″ screen size
  2. Low or reasonable cost unit
  3. VGA and standard AV input with auto or manual switching
  4. Multi-touch capable
  5. Minimum of 800×600 screen resolution
  6. Open frame or chassis mount
  7. Sunlight readable or transreflective with excellent contrast ratio
  8. Drivers for Linux and Windows platform
  9. Able to operate at high temperatures (up to 60ºC / 140ºF)
  10. Wide viewing angle
  11. Power supply of 10-13.6V power for use on vehicle power


Hey Ammar,

Touch Guy finds that he has two categories of customer….one who will describe their product, close their eyes, and when they open them, Touch International will have delivered the perfect touch system to make the product a success. The other half of customers will give greater specification, including materials and possibly the electronics, and we will design to those standards. (There is actually a third type of customer, less common, who will say, “make me one like that” while pointing to a competitive product).

You fall into the second category. Before we can move onto your touch screen, we need to determine which display to go with (item one). The 7” TFT display absolutely offers the best value, probably because it can be made in fab’s that have been fully amortized. It is also the universal donor, because up until a few months ago, all 7” displays had exactly the same dimensions, resolution, mounting, electronics drive and performance. Since this display is the universal donor, you will save money on the touch screen, as our 7” MulTI-Touch projected capacitive sensor has the standard dimensions.

Since the 7” displays are basically all the same, there are a couple of specs you will have to compromise on; the resolution for the display is 800×480 instead of 800×600 and there are no wide viewing angled LCDs in that size.

Now to the good stuff, the touch screen. If you want Linux for USB, then you’re in luck because all of our multi-touch panels conform to Windows Tablet protocol and there are several drivers available in the public domain. Going TouchGuy_Basicwith the SPI or I2C interface is not quite as easy, but we can help. And all of our projected capacitive panels are multi-touch, so no problem there, either. (And of course projected capacitive is the way to go….)

But wait, there’s more! Since this display will be subjected to extreme heat and sun (yes, 140ºF is HOT!), Touch Guy recommends adding a polarizer, light control film, and a heat mirror to the touch screen with an index-matched direct bond to keep the heat off of the LCD, improving the display’s contrast ratio and optimizing its sunlight readability. You may also want to add a transparent heater to the mix to warm up the LCD if the unit is in frigid environments. Finally, if you want your entertainment unit to be REALLY cool, we can add a proximity (Z-axis) sensor to the touch panel so that you can wave your hand near the display and increase the brightness at night.

If you wanna know more, call me and maybe we can do lunch

Until next time,
Touch Guy