Can a connector be added to this board to make it a J-Link for use with my board?
Answer: the Debug port can be used to interface to your own EFM32 MCU board. It is documented in the demo kit's user manual but I have not been able to make it work. If someone has please let me know either here or direct email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I can't answer that question because I don't know what capabilities and features you need. I'd look at the MSP430 family and the EFM32 families and see how they could compare based on your application or design.
As to RF, from the Energy Micro site: "Energy Micro, the energy friendly microcontroller and radio company, today announced a strategic relationship with Spectrum Design Solutions, a division of Digi International (NASDAQ: DGII) that provides wireless design services. The two companies will work closely together to solve customers' wireless design challenges using the Energy Micro EFM32 Gecko range of microcontrollers."
@Jon-- Digi manufactures a wide range of RF modules, so I would bet on IEEE 802.15.4, ZigBee, and WiFi to start.
Kamjam asks: Is laptop power saving using the same kit?
I'm not sure about the question, but I'll attempt an answer. Laptops use many ways to save power, but the Gecko family is meant for specific applications such as smart meters, portable instruments, rather than general-purpose computing apps.
Jon, do you know if the Simplicity Suite supports the Eclipse/GCC tools or only the commercial tools like IAR?
I don't know that the Simplicity Studio directly supports other tools, but you can get the example code as files and drop them into a project created with other IDEs. I don't have info about Eclipse/GCC tools specifically. Maybe someone here can help. Contact Energy Micro and check a forum devoted to tools. Wish I had more info to share.
This Kit works with GCC and Eclipse ? I don't know. I'm sure you can get a GCC set of tools for the Cortex-M3 processor, but the trick comes in getting the code into the MCU. You would need to use the on-board J-Link circuit. Or you could put an Energy Micro chip on your own board and use another tool to program the flash memory. I don't know how easy it would be to debug your code on the MCU this way, though.
The J-Link debugger is a circuit that has a USB port on one side and the JTAG-like signals on the other to download code into the processor's FLASH memory. The J-Link also can obtain debug information from the ARM Cortex-M3 core via the Serial Wire Trace Port.
@raghu- Yes EFM32 uses less power than the MSP430. The MSP430 is lower performance and capability per Mhz. I have some documentation- I am comparing it with the MSP430. Send me an email and I will it send it over: email@example.com
Shorter is better. I generally don't learn much in this sort of exercise - I view it more as establishing a baseline. It (should be) easy to go through, and gives you a reference point for "it worked at this point... what did I break?" as you progress.
HALs are useful but only if the hw being abstracted is somewhat standard, such as a UART. But if the hw design is new and changing, HALs don't do much. (My definition of HAL is that it hides details of several different variations of hw, such as UART variations.)
I got the program example to run in less than an hour. The problem I am having is using the onboard JLink to talk to an external EFM32 MCU on my own breakout board. Energy Micro documentation indicates that Ishould be able to do it. Simplicity sees the external MCU but IAR gives fatal error while trying to upload to MCU
@Rob: HAL is always a good thing. If one is not supplied or is non-standard you typically end up writing your own. If the HAL is too inefficient or buggy, you can always abstract the problems away for yourself.
I'm at work right now, but with my netbook or tablet at home and WiFi, I can be working, reading, studying or keeping in touch with friends while sitting under a shady tree with a cold drink by my side.
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