PSoC Creator – The Ins & Outs
First off, let’s recall what PSoC is and how it can be used. The PSoC chip (Programmable System on a Chip) is a microcontroller with a built-in array of analog-to-digital resources.
These capabilities allow implementing the processing of both analog and digital signals. PSoCs are single-chip systems that work on several processor cores, DDR controllers, input-output subsystems, buses, and crossbars. Numerous other elements can be optionally integrated with a PSoC.
Different PSoC families have different processor cores (PSoC 3 has MCS-51, PSoC 4 – Cortex M0, PSoC 5LP – Cortex M3, PSoC 6 – Cortex M0 + Cortex M4, etc.) and sets of programmable digital and analog logic (the latter is enabled by built-in analog switches). There are operational amplifiers inside a PSoC that can be programmatically switched—that is, you can build different analog blocks on them.
As for PSoC Creator, this free Windows-based IDE is the second generation of software to create applications for PSoC 3/4/5 devices. It initially replaced PSoC Designer—an IDE for PSoC 1 devices.
Thanks to the intuitive GUI and simple structure (PSoC Creator consists of two main building blocks), you can connect and configure all kinds of microcircuits located on the microcrystal, as well as peripheral devices at the hardware level.
Note that Cypress releases new packages of peripheral devices for PSoC once every few months (including input/output solutions), constantly expanding the scope of application of these microcircuits. So you definitely will not experience a lack of functionality in budget solutions from Cypress.
Let’s move on to the most frequently asked questions anyone starting to work with PSoC Creator may have.
What are the main features of PSoC Creator?
PSoC Creator boasts the following features and specifics:
- simple, intuitive graphical interface;
- support of various connection standards, including I2C, USB, UART, SPI, CAN, LIN, and Bluetooth Low Energy;
- support of both digital and analog signal circuits with filters, amplifiers, analog-digital, and digital-analog converters;
- dynamically-generated API libraries;
- built-in ARM C-based code compiler;
- built-in library Newlib-nano;
- extensive software code debugging features (including diagnostics and autofilling that allow devs to use dynamically-generated software APIs);
- more than 150 peripheral plug-and-play components.
Where is PSoC Creator most useful?
Typically, PSoC chips are used in industrial automation, security systems (including advanced smart home solutions), household appliances, auto electronics, and amateur robotics solutions.
Here are some particular PSoC use cases:
Is using PSoC Creator that simple?
The accessibility of using PSoC Creator rests on the fact that you no longer need to constantly study the documentation of new peripheral components. Instead, you only need to plan the placement of a new item as part of the configuration of the PSoC mainboard. The reconfiguration of the motherboards is this simple because peripheral elements can be easily removed from sockets (and reused in third-party solutions) for new ones to be inserted.
It is also noteworthy that in the process of constructing the device you may not even be aware of the set of microprocessor registers—the rules of interaction between the components are controlled by a set of APIs with a regression check.
Can I use other IDEs along with PSoC Creator?
Each new component intended for use with PSoC can be easily programmed via PSoC Creator, being pre-configured through a dialog box (the numerous API libraries will help you here).
Nevertheless, if need be, you can also involve alternative IDEs from third-party vendors in combination with PSoC Creator:
Is it reasonable to work on PSoC with PSoC Creator when I can get MCU with a more standard IDE?
As you can see, PSoC is a branded version of SoC (systems on a chip). However, due to the specifics of its design, as well as a number of PSoC Creator IDE specifications, these devices outperform traditional MCUs (microcontroller units) (for instance, solutions by Teensy or Arduino, the cost of which is quite comparable to the cost of PSoC boards).
What are the drawbacks of regular MCUs? The primary issue is speed. In trying to provide developers with the maximum ease of programming, popular MCU vendors expose a large amount of program code, which is a significant drawback as this, in turn, is extremely expensive in flash memory resources.
Another downside of MCUs is that these chips usually lack analog components. That is, if you require an operational amplifier, you will have to purchase it separately, which will increase the cost of the project and reduce performance. Like regular MCUs, PSoCs come with their own processor, SRAM, and flash memory.
On top of that, note that PSoC solutions are much less energy-intensive in comparison to standard microcontrollers. This is where PSoC Creator stands out. It independently optimizes the number of computational processes, exploiting only those components that should be in the active phase at any time.
Where to get the latest version of PSoC Creator?
All interested software engineers can download the latest PSoC Creator 4.3 absolutely free of charge via this link.
PSoC Creator 4.3 added support for programmable components from the PSoC 4500 series, which can be used in household automation, robotics, automotive, and even industrial solutions. Thus, due to the support for the complex PASS analog architecture, you can single-handedly create much more complex automation solutions than was previously possible.
How to start working with PSoC Creator?
PSoC Creator is much more than your usual development environment. Featuring a powerful compiler and debugger, you get extensive programming capabilities for complex systems. At the same time, in comparison with traditional products, the resulting solutions based on high-level programming languages boast:
- minimum energy consumption rates;
- ultimate affordability;
- a foundation for repeated modifications;
- high reliability;
- utter simplicity in testing and debugging.
Moreover, by constantly replenishing the Cypress range with more and more peripheral components, you are provided with the broadest prospects for improving your automation solutions further.
If you are looking for a professional approach to PSoC implementation, contact us. Our developers have tremendous expertise in creating projects using hardware elements from Cypress (we are an official partner), so you are guaranteed to get an effective, reliable, and low-cost implementation of your business idea.