Cypress PSoC® 5LP Prototyping Kit - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Cypress PSoC® 5LP Prototyping Kit

Author: fvan

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?: CY8CKIT-049-42xx PSoC Prototyping Kit

What were the biggest problems encountered?: I failed to get SPI to work with a MAX6675, although that is probably not because of the kit.

Detailed Review:

Hi, this is my review of the Cypress CY8CKIT-059 PSoC 5LP Prototyping Kit for the element14 Road Test.

 

My experience using PSoC kits was limited to blinking an LED on a CY8CKIT-049-42xx PSoC 4 Prototyping Kit and attending a workshop on BLE using the CY8CKIT-042-BLE PSoC 4 Bluetooth Low Energy Pioneer Kit. You can find my thoughts on the workshop here: PSoC 4 BLE Pioneer Kit Workshop. If you ever get the chance to attend such a workshop, do it! It's totally worth it.


I approached this review by making some tests, starting with an LCD and gradually moving to more complex topics, but always from a starter's point of view. Here we go ...

 

CY8CKIT-059


So, what is this kit exactly ? It's a low cost ($10 !) prototyping platform meant to evaluate the PSoC 5LP, a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 CPU.


One of the first things I did was to solder on a set of female headers. This allows for easier connections to a breadboard or other components.


 

CY8CKIT-059 vs CY8CKIT-049-4xxx

 

The first kit I got to know Cypress and PSoC with, was the PSoC 4 variant of this RoadTest's kit, the CY8CKIT-049-42xx. It's a $4 dollar kit, which I've seen handed out for free at the Cypress booth at electronics events such as Electronica.

 

Because the kits look very similar, I thought I'd make a quick comparison, and see what exactly you get for your $$$.

 

CY8CKIT-059 (PSoC 5LP)CY8CKIT-049-42xx (PSoC 4)

source: cypress.com

 

source: cypress.com

Price$ 10$ 4
CPU CoreARM Cortex-M3ARM Cortex-M0
Flash256 KB32 KB
SRAM64 KB4 KB
EEPROM2 KB0 KB
Max; Operating Frequency80 MHz48 MHz
Dedicated ADC1x DelSig, 2x SAR1x SAR
Dedicated DAC40
CapSenseYesYes
LCD Direct DriveYesYes
GPIO3836
Dedicated UART00
Dedicated I2C10
Dedicated SPI00
Dedicated OpAmps22
Dedicated Comparators42
Dedicated Timer/Counter/PWM Blocks44
Programmable Universal Digital Blocks (UDB)244
Programmable Analog Blocks4
SIO80
USB IO20
CAN Controllers10
DMA Channels240

 

As you can see, the difference in features between these two boards is very impressive. I was already amazed by what the PSoC 4 kit had to provide for a mere $4, but I'm now even more impressed with the new PSoC 5LP kit!

 

Software

 

The software used to program the CYCKIT-059 (and other PSoC kits from Cypress) is called PSoC Creator. That software can only be installed on Windows, but whether it is run natively or in a virtual environment doesn't matter. I created a short blog post on programming a PSoC kit from a virtual Windows environment, you can find it here: PSoC 4 Prototyping Kit on OSX (or Linux) with VirtualBox

 

The software requires some getting used to, but if you've used Eclipse based IDEs and the likes before, you should find your way around just fine. The programming is a but different as well. It's not purely about writing code, but it's possible to partly program graphically by dragging and dropping blocks like a character LCD, a PWM signal, logic gates, etc ... All documentation is also built into the IDE. A right-click suffices to bring up the datasheet of one of these blocks to get examples, explanations and specs.

 

Tests

 

I created some blog posts as I made experiments with the CY8CKIT-059:

* programming a breathing LED

* creating a custom CapSense touch slider

* use a character LCD to display live sensor output

 

Instead of copying that content in this review, I'll provide the links to the individual blog posts.

 

Breathing LED

 

This was my first test using the kit. But before being able to program the kit, the software needed to be set up. Both topics are tackled in this blog post. The breathing LED is obtained by combining two PWM signals with slightly different period with a XOR gate. The result is a PWM signal with variable duty cycle which is attached to the onboard LED's pin, creating a "breathing effect". With this little test, I was able to validate the installation of the software and the programming of the kit.

 

Blog post on how to get started and creating this first program: Cypress CY8CKIT-059 PSoC 5LP Prototyping Kit - Getting Started & Breathing LED

 

CapSense Slider

 

The CapSense component can be used for different types of capacitive touch buttons. In this particular case, I opted for the linear slider, but it's possible to create buttons, radial sliders, proximity sensors and more. To create the linear slider, I used a piece of cardboard on which I created some shapes using copper tape. The shapes were then connected to alligator clips using conductive paint. Because I wanted to experiment with different conductive materials, I used a combination of copper tape and conductive paint.

 

Blog post: Cypress CY8CKIT-059 PSoC 5LP Prototyping Kit - CapSense Linear Slider

 

16x2 Character LCD

 

After going through the basics, I combined the LCD with the CapSense slider I created in the previous post to control the LCD's backlight and report the brightness. The LCD's anode pin is connected to a digital output pin controlled by a PWM signal. The PWM signal's duty cycle is controlled by the CapSense slider, making it possible to change the brightness of the backlight. The value of the PWM's compare value is displayed on the LCD display.

 

Blog post containing pictures, code examples and a demo: Cypress CY8CKIT-059 PSoC 5LP Prototyping Kit - 16x2 Character LCD

 

SPI with MAX6675

 

I was trying to get another part to work for this review, but didn't manage so far.

 

Using the SPI Master block, I was trying to retrieve the temperature from a thermocouple sensor via a MAX6675 SPI Slave. Starting off from the examples and changing the program based on the datasheet of the MAX6675, I was unable to get a proper reading.

 

I'm not giving up yet, but I do not wish to delay this review any further. When I manage to figure it out, I'll be sure to update this post!

 

Conclusion

 

This kit is great and (very) affordable. If you have never experimented with PSoC kits before, this is certainly a good starting point. If you feel $10 is still too much, try getting a hold of a CY8CKIT-049-42xx kit. At $4, you can't really do anything wrong!


The features this kit offers are impressive, and I've only scratched the surface of what it is capable of. If you want to see some of the more advanced stuff that can be done with this kit, be sure to check out Gerrit Polders review in which he uses the kit to build a Software Defined Radio! (http://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/2065)

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