Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?:
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Partially insufficient documentation
Here's the final review, copied straigh from my personal blog, http://jaunty-electronics.com :
Blackfin processors from Analog Devices (ADI) precede their reputation. Anyone who has even remotely thought about Digital Signal Processors (DSPs) has come across ADI’s Blackfin processor series. ADI considers the BF592 as the low-cost entry point into the Blackfin portfolio of processors. To make evaluation a piece of cake, ADI offers the BF592 EZ-KIT Lite evaluation kit. Let’s find out how good it is.
The ADSP-BF592 EZ Lite is one of the many things that has been sitting on my shelf for months awaiting review. It has been about 8 month since this board shipped to all RoadTesters by Element14. RoadTest is a program sponsored by Element 14 that promotes real product reviews by real people. Reviewing such a board is rather time-consuming as this is a professional development tool, not your common Arduino or other AVR microcontroller toy. This is probably the reason why nobody else has submitted a RoadTest review yet either.
Because of this fact, I decided to keep this review a bit on the entry level by giving step-by-step instructions on how to set up the IDE and program the board. However, the most important rule for working with a product like this is RTFM.
Here are the tech specs as provided by ADI:
Sounds like plenty of horsepower to play with. The stereo ADC/DAC including 3.5 mm jacks makes this board an easy entry point for people wanting to learn how to implement real-time audio effects using DSP technology.
As usual with ADI products, the board comes well-protected in a large protective foam filled box. The box is supposed to contain a CD with software, but in my case, it didn’t (See: Software Installation).
If you have absolutely no experience with programming Blackfin DSPs, I highly recommend that you download all the documentation available from ADI. ADI generally does a really good job at supplying high quality documentation. For practical reasons, however, they often split documentation relating to one product over several different individual documents. I highly recommend reading the
ADSP-BF592 EZ-KIT Lite Evaluation System Manual and for beginners the document labelled
Getting Started With Blackfin Processors. Both are available from ADI’s website [ 3].
At the time this product was shipped to me, it was supposed to come with a 90-day trial version of VisualDSP++. However, it didn’t. I contacted ADI and was informed that VisualDSP++ is, despite still being supported, no longer recommended for new designs. They shipped me the missing VisualDSP++ ASAP and also provided me with a full license of the recommended CrossCore Embedded Studio for review purposes. Special thanks to ADI’s Bob Olson and Denis Labrecque for handling this request within less than a few hours.
I’m not sure if newer versions of the BF592 EZ-Kit Lite will be shipped with CrossCore or not. In any case, you can get a trial version of CrossCore can be obtained from ADI’s website.
CrossCore Embedded Studio uses Eclipse, a multi-language Integrated Development Environment (IDE), as workspace. Every serious programmer will come in touch with Eclipse sooner or later. Therefore, I personally find it very comforting to be able to use the familiar Eclipse workspace and not having to learn yet another IDE.
In order to access the ADI-provided code examples, it is necessary to install the ADSP-BF592 EZ-KIT Lite® Board Suppport Package .
Once installed, the demo projects are available through the
Help -> Browse Examples menu.
A list of samples will show up and all one needs to do to load the sample code is to couple click on the example. That’s it.
The first program I tried was the Audio Loopback example project. This program basically copies the ADC values straight into the DAC. There is absolutely no processing on the DSP side involved. Just a plain memcopy().
If you just want to test the program real quick, simply connect the board via USB to the PC, build the entire project and use the On-Board debugger to run the program on the target environment. The next section will describe how to burn a program into the permanent brain of the board.
Programming the board requires quite a bit of pioneering. Even though there are a lot of references to programming in the datasheets and auxiliary documentation, there’s not a single functioning example to be found anywhere.
After a while of reading the documentation, I designed myself a little batch file that would take a compiled .dxe file as argument and program it to the ADSP-BF592 EZ Lite Kit via USB.
Here’s the code:
elfloader %1 -b flash -f hex -width 16 -dmawidth 8 -init "C:\Analog Devices\CrossCore Embedded Studio 1.0.2\Blackfin\ldr\ezkitBF592_initcode_ROM-V02.dxe" -o Outfile.ldr -si-revision 0.2 -proc ADSP-BF592-A
cldp -proc ADSP-BF592-A -emu KIT -driver "C:\Analog Devices\ADSP-BF592_EZKIT-Rel1.0.0\BF592_EZ-Kit_Lite\Blackfin\Examples\Device_Programmer\serial\bf592_m25p16_dpia.dxe" -cmd prog -erase affected -format hex -file Outfile.ldr
Make sure you change the file path for the init-code and the device programmer driver if they differ on your system. Also change “
-si-revision 0.2” if your silicone revision is different from 0.2.
Save the code as a .bat file and place it in a convenient spot on your hard drive. If all the path settings are correct, simply drag the .dxe file you wish to program to the BF592 onto the .bat file and watch the magic happen.
This approach works but it’s a little unfortunate that ADI didn’t integrate the programmer option in the IDE. Since it’s based on Eclipse, I imagine it wouldn’t be too difficult to write a plug-in by yourself if needed.
I highly recommend this board to anyone trying to get into DSP programming. It may take you a while to get into it but the time investment will definitely pay off.
Make sure you visit http://jaunty-electronics.com for follow-up articles.
Links and Sources:
 Wikipedia, RTFM: http://en.wikipedia.org/
 ADI, ADSP-BF592 Datasheet: http://www.analog.com/
 ADI, BF592 EZ-Kit Lite: http://analog.com
 ADI, CCES sample code: http://download.analog.com