So, this one might be the cheapest development kit available in the market? I would really appreciate TI, the company which started this trend of making cute little development kits available at lower price. I still have a MSP430 kit having shape and size of a USB thumb drive which had a price tag of $20. I got that one 3/4 years back from a conference for free. The launchpad costed $5. I think, these kits are still among favourites for engineers.Why these boards did not gain enough publicity as Raspberry Pi, Arduino?...may be because of the lack of a bigger or rather a broader community of users, forums? ...and the absence of a pool of available resources, those are easily available for Arduino, Raspberry Pi?
@barfoo0: They are charging $7.50 to ship in US. So real cost of part is $8
I hadn't thought about the postage (shipping and handling) -- although that would apply to other boards also -- but if they are changing $7.40 to ship, then wouldn't the full price be $4 + $7:50 = $11.50? (Where did you get $8 from)
That's my advice: get your LaunchPads direct from TI.
Why? Because in my experience TI doesn't charge for shipping but probably pays more for shipping than the boards cost (my recollection is that most of my TI dev kits have come FedEx 2-day). Also, I'm pretty sure they haven't charged sales tax, either.
@TonyTib: ...Too many affordable dev kits, too little time...
Don't you think this is ironic -- 20 years ago I would gave given anything (of yours) to lay my hands on any of these dev kits -- now I don't have the time to play with them even thought they are so amazingly affordable...
The NXP LPCXpresso boards -- which have been around for a number of years -- have that sort of snap-off layout, i.e., a USB-based debugger on the left and a demo MCU on the right with DIP layout for the signals. However, the LPCXpresso board I have isn't set up for "snap off" -- I'd have to "saw off" with my fine-toothed razor saw.
The LPCXpresso boards are priced in the US$20-30 range depending on which demo MCU is on the DIP side. Usually it's a tiny ARM M0/M0+ like an LPC1100 or LPC800. What drives up the price is that the USB debug SoC is an LPC3154, a serious CPU with 180 MHz ARM926EJ-S, 192KB SRAM, 16KB instruction and data caches, and MMU. Way overkill compared to the tiny USB controller on the Cypress boards.
Interesting note on the LPC3154: it doesn't have any on-board flash memory, so LPCXpresso has to boot up over USB each time you plug it in.
It is possible that the reason this board was overlooked is because there are numerous inexpensive development boards these days. Freescale offers a number of them for about $12 (+ shipping) which include an on-board debugger, etc. In fact the system is so slick that once you plug it in to your computer the dev board looks like a Hard drive which you then can drag your new code to and have it self program!
As I said, there are a lot of dev board these and a lot of them are rather cheap... Boy times have changed, as a number of years ago one would have to spend at least $500 or more for a dev board.
In regards to some of the kinetis boards... mbed.org supports some of them and so you can now use mbed's system... so online compiler, libraries, etc. The result... you compile your program and save the resulting file to your PC... then drag this file over to the virtual mbed hard drive to self program...
As for some comments by others about the exceptional low cost of the PSoc board... I think it is impressive to offer a dev board for $4,but to once the price is below $20 or $15 I find it ridiculously cheap... To have a fully assembled board for less than $20 or so is utterly amazing.
But at only $4.00, this board is much cheaper than the others. I believe the reason it's been overlooked is that Cypress and its distributors have not done a good job to promote the board and build a community around it.
I ordered one to give it a try, although this is a Cortex-M0 MCU, so it's pretty low end. After shipping and handling and tax, it was over $12. But still a decent deal for quantity 1.
Something often overlooked on these inexpensive boards is that, while you can utilize the 'business end' in a prototype or 'project,' the debugger end doesn't stop having value, either. You now have a very low cost debugger for your own target board, if that's the direction you take.
I agree that NXP has been doing this for a considerable time, but with the added costs for the connectors, $4 seems like a fairly big drop from the $18.75 for the LPC812-based (PN: OM13053) 'Xpresso' board.
It does look like that you're minimally going to need an A-type extension cable to be useful at all in a 'development' role, but by now, shouldn't we already have a fairly full complement of USB patch cords?
I'd suggest that even without the connectors, these may be subsidized. There's little chance that "PSoC 4" and "$4" aren't somehow related to marketing.
I too initially thought that this is a board like LPCXpresso which consists of a debugger and a target chip. But the website clearly says this is just a breadboard friendly prototyping platform for PSoC4 chips together with an USB-UART programmer. No onboard debugger or anything of that kind. I think PSoC4 pioneer kit @ 25$ is the one that can be comparable to other low cost development platforms that has an onboard debugger.
So, probably the cheapest 32-bit development platform available on the market is this board called STM32F0DISCOVERY @ 7.99$ from ST micro. Incredible.
vasanth wrote: No onboard debugger or anything of that kind.
That's a good point. When I first saw the board I naturally assumed the USB chip and the PSoC 4 communicated using SWD (Single-Wire Debug, which uses two wires [*]), but you're right that they communicate using UART signals. Reconfiguring the PSoC 4 uses a software boot-loader that runs in the PSoC 4.
Now, you could use that UART to communicate to a debug monitor that's part of your PSoC 4 program, so there is some onboard debugging capability (just add software).
You can also attach an external debugger to the SWD pins. Cypress' MiniProg3 is pricy at US$89 and probably limits you to Cypress software. If you like writing or adapting your own debug software, you could use anything that speaks SWD to connect to those pins. Personally I like the FTDI FT2232H, though SWD is a little clunky and slow. You could in principle use an ST Link from an ST Discovery board if you've picked up any of those for free at conferences.
In principle, you should be able to use the USB chip on the $4 PSoC 4 board since it brings out GPIOs: just jumper them to the PSoC 4 SWD pins. Now that's going to be really slow and clunky. SWD has a bidirectional SWDIO pin so your debugger has to be able to switch that pin between input and output reasonably efficiently.
[*] "Single Wire Debug" has two signals, a clock line SWCLK from debugger to target device and bidirectional data line SWDIO. It's possible to implement asynchronous SWD using just SWDIO and get true SWD, but I've always seen SWD implemented synchronously on two wires.
Unfortunately the "debugging end" is not. It is simply a bare board version of a USB to RS-232 adaptor sans EIA level shifting. It has a number of options, GPIOs, I2C, SPI, but Cypress didn't choose to implement them intelligently in the system. It simply is a serial port replacement that can connect with pre-programmed code in the board to allow the code to be replaced.
However, if the replacement code doesn't also include the bootloader used to replace code, you have reached the end of the road for the $4 board. If what you put into it is buggy, you basically have bricked it.
Unless you buy the $90 MiniProg3, which can load a bare CPU. It can also do the normal debug stuff like single stepping, which that USB-UART that comes with it can't do.
This seems like a stupid decision on Cypress's part. The MiniProg3 has a lot of capabilities beyond what is needed to debug this board. I suspect that the CY7C605211 on the USB-UART part of the kit, which contaisn a processor, could have been made to emulate the necessary part of the MiniProg3 and would have allowed bare chip programming as well as debugging. I'd have been glad to pay an extra dollar or two if needed to get that capabiliy. But I'm not eager to part with $90 to allow development on my $4 board, particularly when there are 100 different ISP/debug setups that are incompatible with each other and I design using several different CPUs.
I bought six of these board (before I realized how crippled they were). The development environment is rich and powerful, and the boards are a great value for the money for simple embedded products. Four of them I plan to use in a litle controller system I've been promising for a couple of years now and the other two I bought simply because they were only $4 (and the shipping on the package was more than that). I just hope I can manage to not brick them long enough to get working code into them.
bodger wrote: Little known fact: you can get free shipping from Digikey if you pay at the time you submit your order.
I didn't know that. When I first started ordering from Digi-Key over the Internet I was pleased to discover that there was no minimum Internet order, whereas at the time by-mail orders had a handling charge below $25 IIRC. So I was surprised to find that they've dropped the minimum for all orders.
I've always liked Digi-Key. I was ordering from them by mail when their catalog was 4 pages long (single B-size sheet, folded once). It was also the order form -- you just wrote how many of each IC or resistor wanted and sent in the whole sheet. I regret that I don't have one of those "catalogs". Max would be highly amused.
It is an industrial signal conditioner converting +/-10V input to a +/-n mA at the output (when n is a progammable current of up to 100mA). The output is intended to drive an electrically ajustable valve. However I don't really go too much into the nitty gritty of the design, only the design approach and some of the options available.
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