I have a new toy to distract me from my existing projects!
I recently came across this neat little prototyping kit from Cypress Semiconductor, and several aspects of the device piqued my interest:
- The cost is low enough that you don’t have to think twice about using one in a project
- The chip has an ARM Cortex M0 CPU core
- The 42xx version (as opposed to the 41xx version) has a small amount of FPGA-like programmable logic built in
- The device is programmed via an onboard USB/TTL converter, which in a piece of superbly elegant design can be “snapped off” the board once programming is complete.
- The device is capable of running from 5v, and handling 5v signals.
I just had to get hold of a few of these, so after a brief search for somewhere that sells them individually and doesn’t want a fortune for postage, I bought a few of them from DigiKey. I already have a project or two in mind for them, and will write about them here as work progresses.
The device comes packaged in a cardboard slab with a hole cut out for the circuit board – simple but effective. There’s no CD, so you have to download the software on-line. The software is free and seems to be powerful and flexible without having too horrible a learning curve. Unfortunately there is no support for Linux, so I had to press my rather creaky old WIndows XP partition into service.
One hurdle that took some figuring out: the “Bootloader Host” part of the software, which is required in order to upload a design into the chip, doesn’t work on com ports numbered 10 or above, so it may be necessary (and was on my machine) to force the virtual serial port this device provides to be a low-numbered COM port. (On my machine the only available port below 10 was COM2, so I used that.)