Author Topic: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs  (Read 28554 times)

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Offline granz

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #50 on: April 01, 2014, 02:36:32 pm »
Microchip is a victim of its own (super) success: PICs have been a great story for them, so much so that they wanted to milk that cow a little bit too long. Before they realized it, technology turned against them.

A sad story.

Well, I'm not sure it's that sad of a story.  I'm sure there are lots of things behind it, but Microchip stock has been on an overall rise over the last few years.  Compared to ST for example, they are doing much better.  For example, according to yahoo finance, last reported income for Microchip was 350M, where as it was -500M for ST, and -22M for Atmel.

 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #51 on: April 01, 2014, 02:42:53 pm »
That's why looking forward is important. Going to a pic seminar and then a st or lpc ... Seminar and look around you. I went st conference in shanghai last year and saw a sea of young faces.

if I were running microchip, I would be very scared. But then, that's no my problem, :)
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Offline Royce

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #52 on: April 01, 2014, 04:00:26 pm »

What are you talking about? Have you ever tried to use Cypress' tools?

PSoC Creator does *not* support C++. I've gone several rounds with their tech support people on the issue. It's not a problem with the toolchain itself, which is based on GCC. It's a deficiency in their IDE which wants to be very aware of what's going on in the source. It simply fails to deal with C++. Going around PSoC Creator is difficult because the IDE generates low-level C code that wires up all your analog and digital blocks.

I was hoping to port a project from STM32 to PSoC5LP. It would have been perfect for Cypress' chip, but all my existing code was in C++. It was a choice of going with PSoC and re-writing a lot of code, or using a more conventional mcu with some external analog parts. The keeping the existing code was worth more than removing some op amps from the BOM.

I can't vouch for it, my $4 kits are in the mail yet, and I've only just noticed PSoC4 as of yesterday on account of their $1/chip sale. So apologies if this is just noise. That said, I did run across this paper from a fellow that claims to have ported the Arduino (C++) libraries to Creator.

I will have a go at replicating his result once my boards arrive and I have a little bit of time.

It is disappointing that C++ doesn't work out of the box. I agree that C++ is handy and can make for cleaner clearer code. Even STL is not out of the question for small MCU's like this. Check this guy's work with STL and the AVR. You just have to be mindful of what the code is doing under the hood, but when do you not have to be mindful in resource constrained situations?
 

Offline hli

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #53 on: April 01, 2014, 06:40:58 pm »
Rarely I used ALL peripherals. But it is common for me to have a few SPIs, a couple UART, 4+ PWM channels, and a couple timers + 1-2 adc channels.
Getting _all_ of that in a PSoC4 will be a stretch. The 4245 has 2 SCB blocks (fixed function for SPI, I2C or UART), 4 TCPWM blocks (for PWM or as timers), two OpAmps, two comparators and one SAR ADC (with analog mux). Then you have 4 UDBs, each with 2 Macro-Cells and one data path. One UDB can do e.g. an 8-bit PWM (use two for 16 bit), or SPI, or a timer, or something completely different (there is an example doing square root in UDBs...).  Timers can be, sometimes, replaced by the very flexible clocking system (you can get basically multiple different frequencies down to single Hz or lower).
OTOH, PSoC3/5 come with up to 24 UDBs, dual SAR-ADC and DelSig-ADC, and SC/CT blocks for doing interesting anal,og stuff (like PGAs, TIAs or mixers)
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #54 on: April 02, 2014, 12:50:57 am »
My cypress order arrived today, and I need to comment on packaging optimization.  The "prototyping kits" have lovely packaging; it looks designed for handing out at trade shows (or MAYBE mailing; I don't know how that transparent plastic film window would hold up in the real mail.)  Not particularly scalable (mailing two isn't going to be cheaper than mailing one, probably), but a really well-done alternative to traditional samples, IMO.

They arrived in a FedEx padded envelope, together with the pioneer kit.  Presumably, this accounted for the $12 shipping.

The bare chips, OTOH...  OMG.  One full chip-tube-sized box containing a tube with the 10 SSOP chips.  A SECOND, tray-sized box, with tray, containing the 10 LQFP chips.  This was "free shipping" supposedly.  Ouch.

Here's a picture of the prototype modules.  The upper-left is the actual board, peeking through its transparent window...
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #55 on: April 02, 2014, 01:35:02 am »
Are full size chip tubes still one meter long?

Mine shipped on Friday and have been holding at FedEx since Monday, they had them all ready and sorted but it's not scheduled for delivery until tomorrow. Yeah, don't try to make me happy by delivering on Monday and make me wait until the 3rd business day instead!

On other news I got an Intel Galileo dev board today, I know poor GPIO performance because it's driven by I2C via a cypress chip (CY8C9540A-24PVXI), but I'm more interested in the mPCIe connector and the 400MHz Pentium class SoC Quark processor, ethernet and 256MB of DDR3 ram. ($14 per chip).

I might play with the duino stuff but I doubt it, I'm more looking into using linux for now to test some things for now.

 

Offline Q-Kernel

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #56 on: April 02, 2014, 02:59:54 am »
My favorite MCU is the PIC24F128GC010. (128kb Flash / 8kb Ram) Most important it has PPS which simplifies the board layout and gives you the ability to fix board mistakes in software.  It has a lot of analog peripherals like 2 channel 16-bit delta-sigma ADC, 50 channel 12-bit pipelined ADC with 10M samples per second, 2 DAC's, 3 OPAMP's etc. It also has of course SPI's, UARTS's, I2C's, PWM's, IC's, LCD controller and USB on the go. Very low power (deep-sleep 75nA)

Very nice core architecture and the speed is very good. Compared to other processors in the EEMBC coremark benchmark the PIC24 get 1.88 coremark/MHz. Other small MCU's get:
- ATMega (8-bit) 0.54
- MSP430 (16-bit) 1.1
- PIC24F (16-bit) 1.88
- STM32F0xxx (32-bit) 2.2

I did several designs with the PIC24F128GA306 which is its predecessor without the sigma-delta ADC and USB on the go. Working now on a battery powered design where I use almost all the peripherals.


« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 04:32:57 am by Q-Kernel »
 

Offline Laurynas

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #57 on: April 02, 2014, 10:32:34 am »
Rarely I used ALL peripherals. But it is common for me to have a few SPIs, a couple UART, 4+ PWM channels, and a couple timers + 1-2 adc channels.

The incorporation of CPLD/FPGA into a mcu is certainly quite interesting. I was simply trying to get a sense as to how many of those peripherals you can create with 4 UDBs.

Here is an example from a device of mine.
This device has 9 8-bit PWMs, 4 16-bit PWMs, I2C port. Report of used resources:

Resource Type                 : Used : Free :  Max :  % Used
============================================================
Digital clock dividers        :    1 :    3 :    4 :  25.00%
Pins                          :   36 :    0 :   36 : 100.00%
UDB Macrocells                :    9 :   23 :   32 :  28.13%
UDB Unique Pterms             :   15 :   49 :   64 :  23.44%
UDB Total Pterms              :   21 :      :      :
UDB Datapath Cells            :    3 :    1 :    4 :  75.00%
UDB Status Cells              :    0 :    4 :    4 :   0.00%
UDB Control Cells             :    0 :    4 :    4 :   0.00%
Interrupts                    :    1 :   31 :   32 :   3.13%
Comparator/Opamp Fixed Blocks :    0 :    2 :    2 :   0.00%
SAR Fixed Blocks              :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%
CSD Fixed Blocks              :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%
8-bit CapSense IDACs          :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%
7-bit CapSense IDACs          :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%
Temperature Sensor            :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%
Low Power Comparator          :    0 :    2 :    2 :   0.00%
TCPWM Blocks                  :    4 :    0 :    4 : 100.00%
Serial Communication Blocks   :    1 :    1 :    2 :  50.00%
Segment LCD Blocks            :    0 :    1 :    1 :   0.00%


Although there are a lot of UDB macrocells left, but since 3/4 datapath cells are used, it'd say 3/4 of logic resources is used.
Opamps, ADC, CSD, IDACs, Comparators, LCD, and a communication block(I2c/serial/SPI...) are still free.

Note that sometimes there are more efficient user components than the ones that are in Creator by default. In this case those 9 8-bit PWMs are built from 3 UDB blocks while 4 16-bit PWMs are using dedicated TCPWM modules.

So in this case i needed a lot of PWMs and got them by using dedicated blocks + UDBs. in annother device those UDBs could be used for additional serial/i2c stuff or those dedicated TCPWM blocks could be used as counters.

Not sure if this is a good enough example to show PSoC flexibility, but i just started with PSoC and don't have anything more interesting.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #58 on: April 02, 2014, 10:50:03 am »
Quote
Most important it has PPS

Another fan of PIC24's PPS, :)

I also liked the dedicated timers for OC and PWM: I have been using them as general timers and loved that.

Microchip could have done so much for PIC24 yet they did so little.
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Offline granz

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #59 on: April 02, 2014, 03:44:17 pm »
My favorite MCU is the PIC24F128GC010. (128kb Flash / 8kb Ram) ...

That is an excellent chip, I used that exact one recently, and I'm very happy with it in a battery-powered data-logger application. 

On another note: I noticed a while back that some PICs have configurable logic cells also.  It looks like they started adding them in 2011 to some parts.  Does anyone have any experience with these?  It looks like they are mostly intended to interconnect peripherals, rather then be used to add extra peripherals.

http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en-us/press-release/microchip-launches-8-bit-mcus-with-configurable-lo.html

 

Offline Q-Kernel

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #60 on: April 02, 2014, 06:27:36 pm »
They only have that in the 8-bit pic's. The functionality is great but I find that the 8-bitters are very limited. It would be nice if they put those logic cells into the PIC24/dsPic and PIC32 line.

On another note: From all PIC's (8, 16 and 32-bit) I prefer the 16-bit line (PIC24/dsPIC) because they have the most versatile peripherals and work in a wide range (16-70) MIPS.
The 8-bit are in a lot of cases not powerful enough for my projects while the PIC32MX doesn't give that much more performance and their PPS is not that good.
I always use PIC24/dsPIC if I need less then 70 MIPS,  512kb Flash and 32kB of RAM. That is more or less what you get from the smaller ARM M3.

Above that I use ARM M4. Haven't tried the PIC32MZ yet because of the silicon bugs but it is faster than most ARM M4's
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #61 on: April 03, 2014, 03:28:31 pm »
I got my PSoCĀ® 4100 & PSoCĀ® 4200 Protoyping Kits Other than I need a good long USB Extender cable an a USB HUB to be able to access it better.
Only tried the PSoC 4100 for now but after encountering this link, I wished I got the Pioneer Kit along with both.

@westfw, check this out if you didn't find it already:

http://www.element14.com/community/thread/23736/l/100-projects-in-100-days

For those that don't have the Pioneer kit, you can always adapt the code for your needs.

Edit: Also you can program the prototyping kits with Android???? didn't try, but I could use my transformer prime with keyboard and dock to program these things? No IDE for development just to configure them via the USB UART, the SDK only takes care of been able to communicate with the USB-Serial Bridge Controller.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2014, 03:31:44 pm by miguelvp »
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #62 on: April 03, 2014, 10:39:44 pm »
I bought 5 of the PSoC4 4200 kits - I agree with the previous poster, very cool packaging, super light weight and BS-free.  I haven't had much time to play with them yet but what a fantastic concept by Cypress... hell, the whole kit is barely above the cost of the chip + what a small PCB would cost... and it comes with USB connectivity that you can just program and snap it off afterwards.  Wonderful!

I also got the PSoC Pioneer kit before and I highly recommend it.  I think it's only about $15-20 and I use it for fleshing out tons of ideas before committing resources to them - definitely worthwhile.

Counter-intuitive as it sounds, the PSoC3 is actually above the PSoC4 in power/perpipherals, and the PSoC5 is the top of the line... so if anyone gets hooked on the PSoC concept but needs more breathing room, PSoC3's are cheap and can have tons of peripherals instantiated in them.  I have one in a commercial product running 26 PWM's, an ADC, lots of interrupts and lots more - all in a chip that cost about $3.
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Offline Zeta

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #63 on: April 04, 2014, 01:49:18 am »
My cypress order arrived today,

They arrived in a FedEx padded envelope, together with the pioneer kit.  Presumably, this accounted for the $12 shipping.


Ouch this is what I was afraid of. $15 shipping is ok for me but Fedex customs agent fees will probably be over $50. I wish they offered USPS shipping.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #64 on: April 04, 2014, 01:54:07 am »
Quote
This device has 9 8-bit PWMs, 4 16-bit PWMs, I2C port. Report of used resources:

That's a pretty big device.

Having read the datasheet the psoc4 datasheet, their capabilities are quite limited, given 4 udb. If I am not mistaken, out of the 4 udb, you can make 4 8-bit timers / pwm, OR 2 16-bit timers / pwm, or 1 32-bit timer / pwm.

Still quite useful but seems those devices are geared to be more like mcus than the psoc3/5 devices.

Still impressive. Just not as impressive as they are made out to be.
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Offline miguelvp

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #65 on: April 04, 2014, 02:07:30 am »
Ouch this is what I was afraid of. $15 shipping is ok for me but Fedex customs agent fees will probably be over $50. I wish they offered USPS shipping.

If you purchase 2 $4 boards they'll charge you $50 taxes? I don't get it.
I did pay $7.50 shipping (no pioneer kit) and came from Canada  :-// I guess that warehouse is closer to Chicago.

Maybe you can contact the closer sales office from you and inquire.
http://www.cypress.com/?id=1062

I did end up getting the Pioneer from element 14 and they offer DHL shipping, I figured since they too the effort to drive the 100 projects in 100 days, I give them my business for that kit instead of ordering directly from cypress.
 

Offline vvanders

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #66 on: April 04, 2014, 02:10:04 am »
Just got my prototyping kits and pioneer, pretty impressed so far(I've been using the IDE while waiting for the hardware). I'll echo what other people are saying about the packaging, pretty slick and the "PSoC rocsk!" sticker behind the board is cute.

Plan on putting some more time into these a bit later(including the PSoC5 on the pioneer at some point).
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #67 on: April 04, 2014, 03:24:53 am »
Quote
This device has 9 8-bit PWMs, 4 16-bit PWMs, I2C port. Report of used resources:

That's a pretty big device.

Having read the datasheet the psoc4 datasheet, their capabilities are quite limited, given 4 udb. If I am not mistaken, out of the 4 udb, you can make 4 8-bit timers / pwm, OR 2 16-bit timers / pwm, or 1 32-bit timer / pwm.

Still quite useful but seems those devices are geared to be more like mcus than the psoc3/5 devices.

Still impressive. Just not as impressive as they are made out to be.

The PSoC4 also has four 16-bit "timer/counter/PWM" blocks, so you wouldn't likely be using the UDB's as timers/PWM's.  There are also on-chip op-amps and comparators, as well as a couple of communication blocks (usable for UART or I2C).  There's furthermore on-chip LCD drive and capacitive touch sensing, which greatly reduces the amount of things you would need to use the UDB's for. 
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Offline Zeta

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #68 on: April 04, 2014, 04:30:37 am »
Ouch this is what I was afraid of. $15 shipping is ok for me but Fedex customs agent fees will probably be over $50. I wish they offered USPS shipping.

If you purchase 2 $4 boards they'll charge you $50 taxes? I don't get it.
I did pay $7.50 shipping (no pioneer kit) and came from Canada  :-// I guess that warehouse is closer to Chicago.
It's not taxes (Actually I don't pay import taxes), but rather Fedex fee for storage, opening the box and filling the customs form. Sounds crazy but thats how things work with Fedex here. :/ :--
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2014, 05:33:03 am »
Ouch this is what I was afraid of. $15 shipping is ok for me but Fedex customs agent fees will probably be over $50. I wish they offered USPS shipping.

If you purchase 2 $4 boards they'll charge you $50 taxes? I don't get it.
I did pay $7.50 shipping (no pioneer kit) and came from Canada  :-// I guess that warehouse is closer to Chicago.
It's not taxes (Actually I don't pay import taxes), but rather Fedex fee for storage, opening the box and filling the customs form. Sounds crazy but thats how things work with Fedex here. :/ :--

What country are you in?  If you want one of these PSoC kits, I don't mind sending you one via USPS if you pay shipping plus the cost of the kit. 

FWIW, Cypress just sends the orders over to distributors - most of my samples and orders from the Cypress website are actually shipped from Digikey.  It doesn't even say Digikey on the package, but something like "Cypress fulfillment", but then is in Thief River Falls, MN - which is Digikey.  My point being, these kids should be in stock soon with Digikey and other distributors, so another option would be to hang in there and get it from one of those guys (who will ship to you via USPS) when stock shows up.
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Offline Laurynas

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2014, 06:38:10 am »
Quote
This device has 9 8-bit PWMs, 4 16-bit PWMs, I2C port. Report of used resources:

That's a pretty big device.

Having read the datasheet the psoc4 datasheet, their capabilities are quite limited, given 4 udb. If I am not mistaken, out of the 4 udb, you can make 4 8-bit timers / pwm, OR 2 16-bit timers / pwm, or 1 32-bit timer / pwm.

Still quite useful but seems those devices are geared to be more like mcus than the psoc3/5 devices.

Still impressive. Just not as impressive as they are made out to be.

Think of UDBs as a Joker card. You have opamps/PWMs/Counters/Comparators and some other stuff as standalone components, and UDBs are there to fill in what's missing for your particular project.
And you don't have to use Cypress UDB components - I'm using a community version PWM component that turns 1 UDB into 3 PWM outputs.

Anyway, this is a lowend MCU, PSoC5 is much more impressive but it's no longer a 1-2$ chip.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #71 on: April 04, 2014, 07:48:27 am »
The range of "programmable logic" available in microcontrollers is getting interesting.  Low-end PICs have a small block or two as part of their "CLC" peripherals.  PSoC 3 anf 5 (and the ill-fated Atmel FPSLIC) have quite a lot of configurable logic, and I guess the PSoC 4 is in-between.  All sorts of attempts to find a "sweet spot" of usefulness.

I attended a Cypress/Vendor seminar back when the PSoC-5 was relatively new, and one of the other attendees pointed out that sharing the software development tool with the hardware configuration tool (single tool, single set of design files, etc) BREAKS the traditional development model where the hardware engineers and the software engineers barely talk to each other.  An interesting observation; perhaps not applicable to the sort of do-it-all embedded microcontroller people, but more true of those large corporate entities that buy large quantities of chips.  I guess we'll see what happens.

PSoC-1 has the Cypress proprietary core, that I haven't heard anything good about.
PSoC-3 has an (advanced, single-cycle) 8051 core.
PSoC-4 has an ARM CM0
PSoc-5 has an ARM CM3

(Note that the Pioneer board is still PSoC-4 based.  There's an interesting looking "FreeSoC" board that has a PSoC-5: http://freesoc.myshopify.com/products/freesoc-development-kit - Open Source and all that.  It's a bit beyond the "impulse buy" price point, though...)
 

Offline Laurynas

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #72 on: April 04, 2014, 08:03:34 am »
(Note that the Pioneer board is still PSoC-4 based.  There's an interesting looking "FreeSoC" board that has a PSoC-5: http://freesoc.myshopify.com/products/freesoc-development-kit - Open Source and all that.  It's a bit beyond the "impulse buy" price point, though...)

Pioneer has PSoC4 as it's main chip, and PSoC5 as it's programmer, however PSoC5 can be programmed and has some headers for easy access. There are demo projects using PSoC5 on Pioneer board in element14 forums, but i haven't tried it myself.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #73 on: April 04, 2014, 09:36:51 am »
Quote
Pioneer has PSoC4 as it's main chip, and PSoC5 as it's programmer, however PSoC5 can be programmed
Cool.  I missed that!
 

Offline miguelvp

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Re: Highly anticipated low-end MCUs
« Reply #74 on: April 04, 2014, 09:43:46 am »
Quote
Pioneer has PSoC4 as it's main chip, and PSoC5 as it's programmer, however PSoC5 can be programmed
Cool.  I missed that!

It's part of the 100 projects in 100 days I linked above:
http://www.element14.com/community/thread/25084/l/psoc-4-pioneer-kit-community-project036-what-i-can-use-the-psoc-5lp-too
 


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