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

Table of contents

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

Author: rohitrangwani

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, MSP430 boards

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Software Installation

Detailed Review:

Yep! A 100% score, the kit was awesome.It performed better than my expectations in some departments like Software Support.

The only problem that I faced was during Software download and installation.

 

I would try to give a brief review of my experience rather than just technical details.

 

First look


 

The kit looks cool but more like some microcontroller kit from 90s at first glance, but I liked its overall build. Here are some key points:

  • Black colored single layer PCB with nice build.
  • Placement of Sensors on sensor board was really thoughtful.(The Weatherstation Demo example utilised that effectively)
  • The approach of Side Expansion was something very uncommon, as most common boards like MSP430, Arduino, etc. are using Top stacking of Shieds or BoosterPack.It might seems good for one/two expansion cards but after that it might be a problem.

 

 

 

 

Starting up with the Kit

 

 

I was amazed by seeing the first demo example on the kit, just remembered old day with Gameboys, and similar handheld games.

  • The Capacitive Touch buttons/Sensor were really awesome and again their placement was just appropriate.
  • LCD screen was just good enough


Features and Performance

  • EFM32ZG222F32 Zero Gecko MCU
  • Advanced Energy Monitoring v2

  • Real-time energy and power profiling - The real-time energy and power profiling was better than present in other kits IDEs  like CCS,CodeComposer Studio for TI MCUs. Using the CCS,you can only view energy profile for limited time but Simplicity Studio performed a lot better with real time ending energy progiling.I also found that the Energy Efficiency of the board was good compared to other so called energy efficient MCUs.
  • Backup Capacitor for RTC mode
  • USB interface for Host/Device/OTG
  • LESENSE demo ready
  • Light, LC and touch sensors
  • SEGGER J-Link debugger - This is one the best features available on board which is not so common in other development kits.I have limited experience with J-link debugger so I didn't reviewed it.
  • Supported by Simplicity Studio - The Eclipse based IDE seemed almost like CCS. The Demo examples codes were well written and very elaborate.

 

 

Weatherstation Demo

 

The WeatherStation Demo used the Sensor Expansion Card.

The Sensors present on the Sensor Expansion Card are:

  1. Si701x/2x Relative Humidity and Temperature Sensors
  2. Si114x UV Index,Ambient Light Sensor
  3. Proximity and 3D Gesture Sensors



Conclusion


Overall a great kit!

  1. One of best in class energy efficient MCU.
  2. Nice build quality.
  3. Software support with detailed examples and demos.
  4. Energy & power Profiler for Monitoring energy efficiency and determining power requirement for your prototype/product.
  5. Different Energy Modes.


Hope you like the Review.Comment your queries and Suggestions.


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