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  • EEVblog #266 – Mailbag

    Posted on April 9th, 2012 EEVblog 30 comments


    http://www.energymicro.com/tools/efm32-tiny-gecko-starter-kit
    Another mailbag episode. What’s in Dave’s PO Box?
    And can the uCurrent make music?

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    • Jonh Dowdell

      The quote is from Army of Darkness. “This is my Boomstick!”

    • Jonh Dowdell

      Also, I get that crap from Domain Renewal Group as well.

      • Worf

        There seems to be a domain renewal group scam company in every country these days. They’re completely funded by fooling companies into paying them thinking they’re the guys who sold them the domain name.

        Not sure if they actually do anything like transfer your domain to them or just take your money and run.

        Just plug their name into Google and it shows it’s all one big ass scam.

        • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

          I do believe the one I got is legitimate, as they have been going a long time, and I heard were forced to change their wording to look less like your current domain provider.
          They just charge a lot.

    • Rafael

      Not sure if it is due to lighting or the angle of the camera, but it seems the LCD was pressed hard in the center (the package was abused during shipping, maybe???).

      • Sigurd

        I think they mark the LCD to say that it’s OK. Mine was marked too. Comes right off.

    • j

      Dave, there is a tiny gecko on the IC!

    • Martin

      The lighted coaster guy probably had those chips pre-programmed at the distributor. Digikey, for example, will do that for some programmable devices.

      • robert

        Nope.

        • Martin

          Yes, they do.

          • robert

            No, I didn’t. Maybe that is a bit clearer.

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        He said he hand programmed them by pressing against the pads on a blank board. I’ve done myself more than once!

    • DrZoidberg

      Here’s the gecko Dave!

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/12774933/IMAG0225.jpg

      Its even a touch button!

      And when you press it, a little gecko is shown on the display :D

      • Anders

        The touch-gecko had to go because of too few pins on the (pain in the @ss)qfn64-package. Not sure why we didn’t put a silkprint-gecko there though, maybe on the next spin. There is a nice silkprint-gecko on the bigger development-kit at least.

        The gecko on the display actually shows when you put a finger on the light-sensor, similar to the touch-gecko on the G890 starter-kit.

    • Anders

      Dave, It would have been cool if you had fired up the current measurement system on the efm32-kit, compare it with your uCurrent for example. (Which you should make many more of btw, we want one here in Norway.)

      Anders (Energymicro)

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Good idea Anders, I’ll have to investigate the current measurement capability some more. That video was just really an “unboxing”.

        • Anders

          Next time we will definitely put a nice surprise in the bubblewrap! :-)

    • Squonk

      Dave, I am not affiliated with Energymicro, but working on this platform for a while…

      You missed the LC sensor at the bottom right (for detecting metal nearby) and the opamp footprint at the back is to provide access to the builtin opamp!

      Also, the J-Link can be used as a JTAG-SWD programming dongle for your own board thru the JTAG connector!

      And yes,the announced consumption are real!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        Oh, a metal detector! Totally missed that one, will have to check it out, thanks.
        These look like really nice devices the more I look at them.

    • Asm

      Had no idea there was a firm developing microcontrollers here in Norway! If it weren’t for an aversion to ARM architectures, I’d pick one up.

      (Yeah, I know about Nordic Semiconductors; wonderful products, too, but not really micros.)

      • Anders

        We also have Atmel (AVR) and TI (the ChipCon radios), Both are from Norway!

        • Squonk

          If you look at the management staff @ EM (http://www.energymicro.com/management/management), the CEO is Chipcon’s co-founder, the CTO is also coming from Chipcon, and the VPE was director of the AVR Products group…

          I would not be surprised to find someone coming from Nordic, too ;)

          • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

            We be interesting to have them as a guest on The Amp Hour!

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        What’s wrong with ARM? everyone seems to love them!

    • andrew

      What’s the edge of the v-scored uCurrent PCBs like compared with the old routed one? Noticeable?

      • http://www.eevblog.com EEVblog

        I’ll have to get a closeup photo of that, but it’s barely a noticeale difference. I’m pretty happy with it.

    • Drone

      The picture for the EFM32-G8xx-STK kit ($74.25 USD) on the Mouser page shows it commes with a USB cable. Did I miss the one that came with your kit? Let us know how this board flies USB only and how crippled the IDE is.

      I believe IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM quits after 30 days; then it’s time to bend-over (big-time!)

      Given the relatively high cost of this dev. board, adding a pricy Segger dongle isn’t an option. Slath a layer of IAR EW license cost on top – and I think this stack of stuff is outside the realm of the typical experimenter in terms of cost.

      • Anders

        Actually the kickstart edition of IAR is only code-size limited to 32K. Which incidentally is the size of the flash on the “tiny gecko” mounted on the kit. You won’t notice any limitations and no 30-day expiration.

        Keep in mind that the $70 also gives you an accurate current-consumption- and code-profiler and a J-link adapter (only for EM-devices though). But I agree, this might not be within the budget of the typical experimenter.

        • Drone

          @Anders, you are right. I did not see the “Kickstart” versions on the IAR site only the 30 day limited version (which they seem to push pretty hard). After looking a bit more I found the kickstart versions:

          http://www.iar.com/en/Service-Center/Downloads/

          Thanks for the correction. David

    • Philip

      Hey Dave,
      just in case you’re still interested in what kind newspaper it was: it seems to be a small local newspaper in the town of Gerbrunn in central Germany. So if you want to know when you have to keep the pavement in front of your house free from snow or how that meeting was between pre-school children and Gerbrunns elderly people then that’s the place to check ;). Seems like the only purpose why it’s printed is to use it as package material when sending something to Australia… ;). Keep up the great work, you made me love electronics. Cheers from Austria