Cypress PSoC® 5LP Prototyping Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Cypress PSoC® 5LP Prototyping Kit

Author: najath

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?: null

What were the biggest problems encountered?: No major show stoppers. But still.... 1. Software had to be downloaded 2. USB Amale-Afemale cable to connect PC to board would have been great to have 3. Connector headers for accessing I/O could have been provided soldered to the board

Detailed Review:


I'm doing my review as bullet points, as I'm not a good blogger . I can add any detail on request.

Edit1: It seems bullet points does not work for reviews. Had to manually insert some space in start of each line

Edit2: Added some images

 

  • # First Impression - Unboxing
    •     * Standard outer packaging from element14. The actual packaging from cypress was minimal - no wastage

    •     * It was nice to see a friendly note from element14

    •     * "Peel here" did not work perfectly
    •     * No software CD/DVD in the box. Has to be downloaded from website
    •     * Summary of the board and getting started guide on the back side of the packaged card
      •         - Would have been nice if it was a removable sticker, so that we can retain the information and discard the 'box'

    •     * Lack of USB cable makes it difficult to use with a PC. More suited to use with laptop.
    •     * Soldering is required to get any meaningful project done.
      •         - Female receptacle/socket for I/O would have been better

  • # Working in VirtualBox (windows inside Linux)
    •     * How to use existing windows partition (Advantage is you can dual-boot if required)
      •         - Linux installed in separate hard disk
      •         - Create virtual disk from the actual (Windows) disk, using following command
        •             VBoxManage internalcommands createrawvmdk -filename ~/path/to/Your_fullDisk.vmdk -rawdisk /dev/sda
      •         - Add Linux user to 'disk' group for raw access to hard disks
    •     * KitProg does not work with VirtualBox packaged in openSUSE. rpm from virtualbox website has to be installed.
    •     * Unable to upgrade KitProg firmware through VirtualBox
    •     * Programming works fine, debugging is problematic
  • # Software
    •     * Link to kit web page provided in "Quick Start Guide" on rear of package. - http://www.cypress.com/CY8CKIT-059
      •         - Gives product info
      •         - List of downloadable documents
        •             Board design files
        •             Prototyping kit guide
        •             KitProg user guide
        •             Prototyping kit release notes
        •             Prototyping kit Quick start guide (same as the one on backside of package)
      •         - S/W available for download
        •             Kit setup (design files, creator, programmer, documentation, examples) ~600MB
        •             CD ISO ~1.2GB (
        •             Kit only (design files, documentation, examples) - useful if PSoC creator and Programmer are already installed
    •     * Impression
      •         - Significant download size
      •         - Would have been good to receive a CD/DVD
      •         - More than 15min to install
      •         - After installation option to view "Release Notes" and "Kit guide". Later is a good read for newbies.
      •         - PSoC creator is a wonderfully designed IDE
        •             Start page with easy access to recent projects, examples, product info & news
        •             Initially could be overwhelming to use, due to excess of information available
      •         - Only three example projects specifically for the kit
      •         - Lot of good generic examples
        •             Covers a wide range of peripheral and usage scenarios. But no 'complete' project.
        •             Could have included a complete project, instead of having to download application note from website
      •         - Easy access to documentation
      •         - Configure peripheral in the schematic editor (no code to be written)
        •             Just need to call the init()/start() function in main code
      •         - Resource usage report not easily visible
        •             Have to open '*.rpt' file in "Results" tab in Workspace explorer
      •         - Large number of excellent application notes
        •             But difficult to locate what you want.
        •             Stumbled upon a library for a specialized PWM block I was planning to implement myself - Phase Shift Full bridge modulation
  • # Snapping the KitProg
    •     * Snapping the two 'halves' by using the edge of a table worked out perfect. Just some minor filing required to remove the rough edges
    •     * Trouble choosing connecting cable for linking the two halves, after snapping them apart
      •         - Long ribbon cable results in crosstalk and software fails to detect the PSoC 5LP Prototyping Board
      •         - Shielded cable might help to connect over larger distances. Yet to try.
        •             Large distance between PC and hardware required for our experiments as it involves high power
        •             Would ideally like to have only prototyping board near hardware. The KitProg required to be close to PC
        •             Using long USB cables for the time being.
  • # Projects
    •     * Plan was to use for LED lighting project, but hardware was not ready in time
    •     * Tried breathing LED example
    •     * Also tried a project in which PWM triggers ADC soc. ADC eoc ISR is used to run some control routine
      •         - Had difficulty to locate how to write ISR for ADC_SAR_Seq (The component I used). Finally found the API template from documentation of another ADC component (ADC_SAR)
        •             Could have connected an "Interrupt" component to ADC eoc signal. But wanted to use the interrupt internal to ADC

    •     * Planning to use PSoC for implementing controllers for wireless power transfer (WPT) and LED lighting
  • # Conclusion
    •     * A very good board for getting introduced to the world of PSoC
    •     * Good value for money
    •     * Cannot be directly used in project
      •         - Requires soldering of at least connector headers for accessing the I/O pins
    •     * PSoC could be overwhelming to newbies. But once you invest some time, it will improve productivity and efficiency in doing projects, due to the analog & digital peripheral integration
    •     * Ended up buying a couple of additional boards for use in our lab projects
  • # Suggestions
    •     * Value added model - Optionally provide the following for an additional price
      •         - Software CD (Large download for a person starting fresh, could be a problem in countries with slow internet access)
      •         - Pre-soldered connector headers (option for either male or female headers)
      •         - USB A male to USB A female cable (Not common to find with individuals, but required for doing any live debugging)
    •     * A repositories for add-on libraries would be nice to have
      •         - Cypress and users can create custom components that can be shared with other people
      •         - Include full documentation for each component
  • # To try in Future
    •     * Complete implementation of controllers for WPT and LED lighting
    •     * Developing custom components using verilog
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