Electronic Design

Low-Cost Kits

If there is a microcontroller being released there is likely to be one or more low cost development kits for it. This time I take a look at a collection from Cypress Semiconductor, Texas Instruments, and STmicroelectronics. The Cypress Semiconductor USB dongle provides access its PSoC (programmable-systems-on-a-chip) microcontroller. The PSoC's (Breaking News: Analog PSoC Family, ED Online ID #5936) soft architecture can be programmed using PSoC Designer or the simpler PSoC Express (Visual Design Tool Tackles Multiple MCUs, ED Online ID #13364). This platform provides access to the capacitive sensing capabilities. The TI eZ430-RF2500 is based on the USB-based eZ430 kits (see $1 Arms And $20 Development Kits). This time around TI has added 2.4GHz wireless support in a complete, compact package. The TI MSP430 Experimenters Board is for those looking to experiment with a wider range of peripherals. It is small but exposes everything and even has a socket for 802.15.4/ZigBee support. The STmicroelectronics STR9-comStick is another USB-based solution although it does not have a separate the target board like the eZ430 but it is a powerhouse. It runs a 96MHz ARM966E processor and includes Ethernet and CAN support. Read the reviews here: Cypress PSoC First Touch eZ430 Goes Wireless MSP430 Experimenters Board STMicroelectronics STR9-comStick Related Links Cypress STMicroelectronics Texas Instruments

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