Cypress Launches $5 ARM Dev Board

We do love new development boards at Hackaday, and it’s always nice to see companies providing cheap tools for their products. For those needing a cheap ARM solution, Cypress has just released a PSoC based board that’ll cost you less than $5.

There’s two main ICs on the development board. The first is the target: an ARM Cortex M0+ based PSoC 4 MCU. The second is a CY7C65211 USB bridge. This device is communicates with the target’s built in bootloader for flashing code.

The bridge can also be configured to talk UART, GPIO, I2C or SPI.  If you need a USB to serial converter, this part of the board could be worth $5 alone.

The PSoC 4 target happens to be similar to the one our own [Bil Herd] used in his Introduction to PSoC video. If you’re looking to get into PSoC, [Bil] provides a good introduction to what makes these chips unique, and how to get started.

72 thoughts on “Cypress Launches $5 ARM Dev Board

    1. I’ll answer assuming you are a good Hindu, and not a deranged eugenics scumbag perpetuating century old Nazi rhetoric.

      No, the compiler is a windows only trial version. The IDE was made by someone with not design flow experience, and the programmers are very proprietary.

      PsoC chips fail closed, and almost put Fujitsu out of business because of the crap chip design.

      They should sell 10 foot polls, as thats all I would personally buy from them.

      1. > I’ll answer assuming you are a good Hindu, and not a deranged eugenics scumbag perpetuating century old Nazi rhetoric.

        I clicked the swastika… it’s the most relieved I’ve ever been to be rick rolled.

    1. It’s neither FPGA or CPLD. It’s something like CPLD in that you have signal routing like the AND / OR matrices in CPLD but instead of macro cells you have various forms of digital and analog ‘cells’ and a CPU. You rout it all together to make a System On a Chip. SoC.
      There isn’t a good diagram except for the datasheet (PDF) 4200 only here

      http://www.cypress.com/?docID=46322

  1. Id rather have a micro/mini usb socket. This is gonna need a usb extension cable to actually do anything with it. Great price though

    1. I agree, although a mini socket would probably add an extra 25%+ to the price. This board looks very nice… it may be what I need to kickstart me into ARM boards.

      1. There are plenty of brilliant ARM Cortex M based boards out there for peanuts these days, and they don’t have the god-awful toolchain issues Cypress does. Check out the Freescale KL25Z, or TI’s Stellaris Launchpad, or ST’s Discovery or Nucleo lines.

        1. …still mostly Windows only, unless you successfully configure a free toolchain. I have had some success reading through mcuoneclipse.com regarding Freescale ARM chip setup… But of course,without an embedded debugger on board, your gonna need a $300-$800 JTAG debugger dongle from Segger (or maybe a cheap Olimex debugger), or similar. $5 boards are great, but it would be even better if the tools were easier on the wallet, and . Oh…and keep in mind, there’s a few different JTAG connection formats out there (should you be looking to get into ARM), the most recent seems to be CMSIS http://www.arm.com/products/processors/cortex-m/cortex-microcontroller-software-interface-standard.php …still learning ARM Dev myself..so please chime in if there isincorrect info here, or something else to add.

        2. All 3 eval boards has debuggers built in. Only the $5 Cypress one doesn’t.
          Between OpenOCD, GCC and whatever IDE you prefer, you should manage a toolchain with debugging support. So not sure what you are complaining about. (Now getting the compiler scripts for the device is a different story).

          Freescale KL25Z has OpenSDA onboard and there is PemicroLinuxDrivers_2012_09_06.tar Linux USB driver
          ST’s Discovery: way too many for me to keep track of, but OpenOCD has support for ST-Link
          Stellaris Launchpad: covered by http://hackaday.com/2012/11/19/how-to-build-openocd-with-stellaris-launchpad-support/

        3. As for a cheap stand alone SWD debugger, there is this. Don’t pay over $9000, just buy an extra board to make into a debugger.

          http://mcuoneclipse.com/2013/04/21/using-the-freedom-board-as-jtag-programmer/

          Just solder in connector, make a cable, cut a trace and downloading firmware.

          FYI CMSIS isn’t JTAG format. SWD is what’s typically used in smaller chips over JTAG (due to pin counts). Those are same whether CMSIS or Jlink or ST-Link or whatever.

          CMSIS is the firmware protocol over USB for *debugger* that ARM is promoting so that the toolchain would have somewhat a standard driver instead of all the different custom drivers out there.

  2. This isn’t really new. The post you linked for the “Introduction to PSoC” video has a comment in it from April 24th linking to the PSoC 4 board for $4. Are they trying to clear out their inventory? $4 for the PSoC 4 board is nice but it’s unfortunate that their PSoC 5 devkit is $100 though.

          1. Maybe “free” as in freedom, but Segphalt said “lower cost.” I fail to see how $74.99, or even $49.99, is “lower cost” than the $4.00 price that Cypress is asking.

      1. The guys at Schmartboard.com are selling a PSoC5LP dev board for $35 ($30 if you use the $5 coupon code for this month!)

        I funded the FreeSoC kickstarter, and I kinda wish I had just bought a Schmartboard instead. (The board is fine, it’s just a bit over-priced and I expected a bunch of tutorials and samples and such that never really materialized. I also funded the Teensy 3.0, and DigiSpark, and those have created huge communities.)

      2. That’s just barely lower priced than the official devboard, and still over priced for what’s contained on it. I ordered a couple of the $4 boards to mess around with, I like the concept of this type of setup, but I don’t know how well it’s actually executed. Or how hard it will be for a non-pro to program. I’ll check out the Schmartboard PSoC5 version too. I’ve been buying way to many devboards lately, but fortunately most of them are pretty cheap!

      1. 4200 also has the CPLD module, 4100 does not. 4000 family (not available in the $4 board) has fewer GPIO and maybe? a lower clock speed.

  3. Yes, nice price – Till you ship it. $35 cheapest option. Thanks but no thanks Cypress needs to learn a thing or two from TI on developer support

    1. I thought that I was unlucky with $15 shipping to Poland. Where are you from?
      +1 TI and NXP somehow managed to ship their devboards for free.

          1. noo, I mean Regional ones, quick look at the link tells me 2/3 of those listed wont even acknowledge you as a customer.
            Im talking “EBV Elektronik” and similar.

          2. They also sell the bare chip there at $1 (QTY 1). That’s probably the cheapest ARM chip I have seen at digikey at single quantity so far. I’ll probably add some and an eval board in my next order.

    2. From Australia: Ordering through Cypress adds $15 fro delivery, total $19.
      Local branch Digikey charge $4.78 – plus $34 delivery.
      Avnet Express don’t list a price, you need to call for a quote.

      Summary: if you can find a group of similar-minded friends, do a group buy direct from Cypress. Otherwise, the delivery fees don’t justify the purchase.

      1. I’m a regular customer at Farnell. I ordered mine yesterday, but missed the ‘order before XXX for next day delivery’ deadline. So I’ll have it tomorrow. Wasted $5 if the toolchain is windows-only: I don’t have a windows box. But I do have an arm-gcc toolchain setup already.

  4. Linux support? If yes I will buy it, without flashing and IDE working on Linux it makes no sense for me, since I use Linux 95% of my time.

  5. The 4100 and 4200 use different target chips (CY8C4125AXI-483 and CY8C4225AXI-483 respectively). The 42XX board/chip has double the frequency and (48Mhz vs 24Mhz) and it has 4 universal digital blocks where the 41XX has none.

  6. Its GCC based, use what comes with that ugly IDE, all the functionality is provided via registers, you lose the nice GUI, but you can use it in linux, or use a virtual machine..

    1. It’s true that it uses gcc as a compiler for the ARM core, but most of the work is done by the tool that synthesizes the hardware description part, generates a bitstream, and then merges the ARM executable into that bitstream. I don’t know of any other toolchain that can handle the synthesis, other than their own.

    2. I got a couple of those a month ago. Impossible to develop on linux, does not work on WinXP in virtualbox. At least I was not able to make the programmer drivers to install without XP hanging, spend a couple of hours on that. All in all, this CPLD integration seems very interesting, but lack of Linux toolchain is a real dealbraker for me.

  7. ” device that boasts a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 processor core running at up to 48 MHz, up to 32 kB of flash and 4 kB of SRAM, programmable analog and programmable digital fabric, and CapSense Touch Sensing technology. “

  8. An analog centered ARM cortex? It may not be a targeted DSP but I know ARM C libraries, and TI DSPs are a totally different beast. Seem like a good choice for some of my guitar targeted circuits.

    ordered one of each: the 41xx and the 42xx

  9. $15 shipping and no Linux support kinda breaks the deal :(
    Do you know of any similarly tiny USB-capable dev boards?

  10. I can’t believe nobody mentioned the freely available design files/BoM at the bottom of the page…

    Also, it looks like they’re out of the 42xx boards :(

    I hope I can get one shipped for a reasonable price. I like the removable programmer section, and I’ve been wanting to try some “capsense” stuff, too.

  11. Cypress used to have a decent sample program with free shipping. Nowadays its $20 this $15 that, F off :/. I rather go on e14/digikey, or avoid cypress altogether than pay ridiculous shipping.

  12. I picked a few up from mouser and didn’t have terrible shipping as everyone’s talking about

    Getting it up and going is a little less than intuitive though…

  13. One gripe (not really Cypress’ fault) I have is the lack of standardization on TTL serial pinouts. The PSoC pinout is Tx, Rx, Gnd, Vdd. The Arduino Pro mini pinout is Gnd, Vcc, Rx, Tx. The pinout on my Dir-615 router is Vcc, Tx, Rx, Gnd …

  14. As others have said, it sucks when these cheap boards are just loss-leaders for an ugly proprietary (and probably expensive) toolchain.

    For about 3 times the price ($17 USD) and much less headache I was happy with these ARM boards:

    http://www.ezsbc.com/

    The ezSBC II can be programmed with free GNU tools over USB. No fancy detachable programmer board or CPLD ability, but the guy who sells them replies promptly to questions and seems generally cool.

    Hello World blink program here: http://www.dangerruss-things.blogspot.ca/2013/09/hello-world-blinky-for-ezpcb-lpc1347-in.html

    1. but you are missing the whole point of PSoC as those are ARM chips only. PSoC has integrated some additional CPLD-ish logic and some analog stuff along with the ARM core so you won’t need to to add separate chips when you need them.

      I’ll let you practice your religion.

  15. Dear Cypress.

    You have decieved me.

    I was thrilled to read announcements about the PSOC4 like:

    > PSoC® 4 is Cypress’s newest ARM-based PSoC, featuring the low-power
    > Cortex-M0 core combined with PSoC’s unique programmable mixed-signal
    > hardware IP,

    The Cortex M0 is a processor I already develop for, so I’m familiar
    with that. I have the tools, I know the processor, I know the compiler
    works. The programmable mixed-signal hardware is the interesting part
    that caught my attention.

    Then I found that I could buy a small cheap PSOC4 development board.
    I was looking forward to checking it out.

    It turns out that the CY8CKIT-049-41XX that I bought (the ’42xx was in
    backorder) simply lacks the “unique programmable mixed-signal
    hardware IP”.

    Technically you might be able to say that the “family” has the
    feature, where not all members of the family have it. On the other
    hand, reading and rereading your statement, I come to the conclusion
    that the wording is unambiuous. If I buy a PSOC4, I get the
    programmable mixed-signal hardware. That’s what it says.

    I rechecked the datasheet for the kit I bought. It says:

    > The PSoC 4 is a scalable and reconfigurable platform architecture
    > for a family of mixed-signal programmable embedded system
    > controllers with an ARM Cortex-M0 CPU. It combines programmable and
    > reconfigurable analog and digital blocks with flexible automatic
    > routing.

    which leads me to exactly the same conclusion: I have been promised to
    get the reconfigurable analog and digital hardware.

    Then, after some research, I find that developing for this processor
    is uniquely tied to some proprietary windows-only toolchain. I simply
    haven’t owned a windows-machine for close to two decades. The
    toolchain won’t run under MONO, won’t run under WINE, might run a bit
    under a VM. Sorry. I’ll pass.

    So, I got myself a sub-$10 development board. The competition has a
    “debugger” on the sub-$10 development boards. There is an
    USB-interface chip on the board, so I expected that to be the
    debugger. Not the case. It is just an USB-serial converter allowing me
    to do serial communications with the chip. Great! For debugging (I
    was just starting to like ARM-debugging where you can break and
    examine the state of your program “live”), I have to buy a separate
    debugger that’s $89. I thought that the idea of the sub-$10
    development boards was that it was cheap to start out using your
    hardware. At close to $100 it’s no longer cheap.

    Anyway, there is talk about an uart bootloader. And a boot ROM.
    And protocol specifications. Writing a Linux program to handle
    sending the hexfile/binary to the bootloader can’t be difficult.

    Deeper investigation: The boot rom doesn’t do bootloading. Just
    initializes the CPU and jump to reset vector. Sigh. I could
    program a bootloader. Well duh! Of course I can program a
    bootloader. That’s not a feature of a chip. Every embedded
    controller from the last two decades can do “self-programming”
    and therefore you can write a bootloader. What else is new?

    As to Linux support: On discussion forums, people have been asking for
    Linux support at least since 2006. Cypress is thinking about it. Well
    8 years later (april 2014): still thinking. I guess I’m not going to
    wait.

    Of course, it is probably just me who mis-reads the claims in
    marketing blurbs. Well, if the plain-english “introduction to the
    hardware” is already too difficult for me to understand, how am I to
    trust the technical documentation? It says here register X does
    Y. Great. Do I get to check if that happens to be the case for the
    chip I have? You claim that PSOC4 has programmable hardware. I have a
    ‘4125 which doesn’t. If I’m reading the ‘4125 datasheet who says that
    it documents the chip that I actually have? Nah! I’m giving up.

    Good luck convincing others to use your products, but you’ve got me
    convinced: I’m out.

    Roger.

  16. I really hope that guys like those who made Energia will write Arduino-like IDE for this board. The only reason why I play with Stellaris Launchpads is – there is Energia. (Yes, I can figure out other IDEs. I’m a SW engineer for 20+ years and I can figure out event the worst ones. I just don’t want to. Arduino works just fine for my hobby projects. I have Arduino, Teensy and TI Stellaris boards).

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