San Jose, Calif.Choosing an RFIC based on a vendor’s datasheets alone can be daunting. It’s preferable to get some hands-on experience before committing to a specific IC. With WUSB (Wireless USB) being so new, that’s especially true.
Although evaluation kits are a great way to rapidly bring a new RFIC to life on the bench, an eval kit can also give you a tried-and-proven operational circuit so you can decide for yourself what’s needed with respect to impedance matching, board layout, antenna types, and power-supply decoupling, to name a few.
A good low-cost eval kit, backed up with the right docs, can be a boon for any organization that needs to familiarize itself with a device before committing to design-in. For vendors, the eval kit is also a doorway to the company’s wares. If the eval kit flies, a chip maker can often sell not only the targeted IC, but support devices, too.
Such is the case with this kit. Providing a user-friendly prototyping tool for WUSB, chip maker Cypress Semiconductor Corp. announces the availability of an eval kit for its WirelessUSB LP 2.4-GHz radio SoC (system-on-a-chip).
Let’s look at the target IC for a moment. Cypress says its Type CYRF6936 transceiver SoC is now in production. The CYRF6936 WirelessUSB LP radio, reviewed recently here at eeProductCenter, is billed as a second-generation member of the company's SoC family for wireless HID (Human Interface Device) applications.
The CYRF6936 also embodies Cypress's patented frequency-agile DSSS (direct sequence spread spectrum) approach. The IC operates in the 2.4-GHz band, where it can transmit and receive over distances of about 50-meters. Click to view a simplified block diagram of the chip.
Click for larger image
The device is interoperable with Cypress’s first-generation CYWUSB69xx chips, but the ‘6936 adds quite a few enhanced features. These include better operating-voltage range (1.8-V to 3.6-V), reduced supply current in all operating modes, and higher data-rate capabilities.
The CYRF6936 also exhibits reduced crystal oscillator start-up times, faster synthesizer settling times, and quicker link turn-around times.
What You Get
Back to the CY3630 EVK evaluation kit itself. Priced at $250, it joins Cypress’s growing family of evaluation kits for RF applications.
This latest CY3630 EVK packs a socket for the company’s CY7C60323 multi-configuration microcontroller (the microcontroller drives the radio), as well as radio modules, LCDs, and a prototyping area.
You also get programming software for the controller. The kit also gives you four firmware tutorials, as well as a wireless range demo that can help you build familiarity with the features of a WUSB transceiver built around the CYRF6936 silicon.
The prototyping area provides access to pins, power, and ground. The LCD modules show program outputs when operating wirelessly, with red, green, and yellow LEDs indicating status. Two buttons on the platform board can also be programmed to provide additional user feedback.
The EVK also lets you peer into other features of the WUSB LP chip, such as its Auto-Transaction sequencer, and its AutoRate receiver.
The CY3630 EVK also includes an emulation module for in-circuit debugging, and a MiniProg programmer for in-system serial programming. The MiniProg accommodates any of Cypress’s flash-based microcontrollers.
So, warm up your test gear and soldering iron, and get set to put a CYRF6936 transceiver chip through its paces.
Get more info by contacting Cypress Semiconductor Corp., 198 Champion Ct., San Jose, Calif. 95134. Phone: 408-943-2600. Fax: 408-943-4730.
Cypress Semiconductor, 408-943-2600, www.cypress.com