EFM32™ Zero Gecko Starter Kit w/ Sensor Card - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: EFM32™ Zero Gecko Starter Kit w/ Sensor Card

Author: migration.user

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

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?: Arduino Uno R3 which I already own a clone of. I was comparing the functionality with that board.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: The IDE was really hard to handle and not much Linux support was found.

Detailed Review:

I received the board about a week ago, the shipping time was a little bit long but it came from the UK and I am in Canada so it was to be somewhat expected.

 

My favorite part of this board is the fact that it comes with onboard features so you can immediately start working with it. It has a low memory LCD screen, 2 pushbuttons, 2 capacitive touch buttons and with the sensor kit that comes with the program includes a Humidity, Temperature and Light level sensor as well as a few more headers so you can add things to it later on.

 

My least favorite part about this board is the IDE itself. The IDE is based on / modeled after Eclipse and I have never liked Eclipse, so there is a level of personal preference here. Also though in terms of functionality, I experienced a lot of problems with the IDE crashing or refusing to start. When I started my first program, the IDE basically broke and refused to ever start again. Even after uninstalling the IDE and trying again, it kept trying to load the program and it crashed again. It refused to import "display.h" as well for some reason. I was hoping that there was good support for the IDE in Linux because I use it on all my laptops, but it's in the beta phase (though it feels more alpha) and there are a lot of bugs and problems with it there. The IDE is SimplicityStudios.

 

The reason I wanted this board is because I have a lot of fun with the Arduino Uno R3 and I have always been fascinated by these controllers. I am trying to learn C and this is the best way I can think of to do it, hands on and with a purpose.

 

Overall the board is great, it's sturdy, it's quality built and full of features. The IDE, for me, however, limits the functionality of the board itself and has cause me many a problem. Once I get that straightened out it will be a wonderful project-base and a great tool to learn with. I rate the experience of owning it so far: a 7/10. There is very limited documentation on how to use some of the features and I am not knowledgeable enough to know it off the bat, and that is why I am here. To learn!

 

Thank you RoadTest and Silabs for providing me with the EFM32 Zero Gecko, I really will enjoy it.

-Jonah

Anonymous
  • Hi Ron,

     

    First off, thanks for reading my review. I'll report the bugs as soon as I get my laptop back from a friend. The main problem with it was that it kept crashing and not updating the IDE properly after the initial install, so it would tell me that I do not have the necessary SDK's, it would then try to download them and once again fail to do so in an endless loop. The other problems I described were actually on Windows 8.1, some research has led me to believe that the issue was a failed update (after I got rid of

    the broken C program that would force it to quit).

     

                                                                     

     

    This is after reinstalling, and cleaning all the workspaces and program "residue" after uninstalls. I'm not quite sure what the issue is and I've tried everything listed online to solve it.

     

    Once again, thanks for reading the review,

    -Jonah

  • Hi Jonah,

     

    This is Ronnie from Silicon Labs. First let me thank you for your honest and open feedback on our products, we appreciate you taking the time to provide this input. We are very interested in understanding more details on the issues that you encountered with our Simplicity IDE on Linux. If possible, could you open the product and go to "Help->Report Bug", which will collect the necessary error logs for the product, then submit a support ticket here (Technical Support)? You can also post the information on our Community Forum (Simplicity Studio and Software - Silicon Labs Community) if you prefer, both options will ensure that the proper team receives the details needed to investigate.

     

    The Simplicity Studio release for Linux is a beta release as you have mentioned, but we are providing updates on a continual basis and would like to ensure that you do not run into these issues moving forward.

     

    Regards,

    Ronnie