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

Table of contents

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

Author: Anonymous-237891

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?: For the board itself, the STM32discovery from st are comparable products in size even though the gecko has way less I/O but still quite a reasonable amount. It is in the very same range as the ti Launchpad Cortex.

What were the biggest problems encountered?: For now none, it may come later.

Detailed Review:

1) Intro & Unboxing

As always I will start by saying a big "thank you" at Christian DeFeo which is for me like the engineers Santa Claus.

And we will dive right in.

 

So here are the boards right out the box.

There is also a suitable USB cable to connect the board to the computer (I forgot about it when I took the picture).

There is one thing that I will do as soon as possible, which to populate the I/O breakout with breadboard friendly pin like such.

Just to give an order of size, here it is against my Intel Galileo:

Sorry for the blurry images (It is late and my phone doesn't like dark when taking pictures)

 

2) Software installation & listing of available resources


One of the thing that really appealed me is the fact that the software are "apparently" license free AND cross-platform.

Apart from arduinos, it is so rare to be able to programm microcontrollers on a dedicated environment under a different OS than windows.

Before any criticism I want to make an adjustment: under linux and mac it is often possible to deal with open source compiler and eclipse based IDE but it is often tricky and not very clean so...

 

Let see how silicon labs succeed in software compatibility, to do that I will do this review on my MacBook Air and see if the cross platform support is really what they claim !!

 

This is the main page for the kit which contains at the bottom documentation a demo codes:

EFM32 Zero Gecko Starter Kit | Silicon Labs

 

The software is called Simplicity Studio, it is an eclipse based software that looks really easy to use and very user friendly.

It has embedded documentation resources as well as auto updating features etc.. (but unfortunately linux and mac are only betas for now).

Here is a link to the download page : Simplicity Studio | Silicon Labs

Be patient the download speed is a bit slow. But I am not in a hurry

 

One thing which I found suprisingly cool is to be able to download a folder with all the documentation in it.

That should be something every development board should come with.

 

Now that I tried the software I can say it.

It is fully Mac OSX compatible, very simple to use, full of comprehensive example codes and much more...

I have been really amazed by the software so far...

The drivers worked great and founded the board as soon as I plugged it in. No complains at all.

There are plenty of example as I said before which are all very well commented and documented. A big point when starting with a new development is to have resources to learn on the go.

I will skip the IDE which is an eclipse based interface (very CCS like to be true -> without the trouble to find and configure the target which is allready done in the example project).

 

The debug interface worked just fine, it uploads the code at a reasonable speed, but the stepping feature is a bit on the slow side compared to Keil uVision in SWD on my launchpads.

 

As a pre conclusion I would say that I really enjoyed playing with this board so far.

Very easy to get it on and running compared to the STM32 discovery which are not as beginner oriented.

I would compare it to a Launchpad with a screen

 

Coming soon … power analysis and weather station.

Anonymous