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Cypress' IDE promises to speed, ease embedded design

23 May 2013

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Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has unleashed the latest version of its integrated design environment (IDE) for the PSoC 1 Programmable SoC architecture. The PSoC Designer 5.4 includes more than 40 enhanced User Modules, which are free "Virtual Chips," represented by an icon, that are used to integrate multiple ICs and system interfaces into a single PSoC device, indicated the firm.

Version 5.4 offers multiple new features to make designing with PSoC faster and easier, including an auto-complete feature that automatically suggests variables, functions and keywords as users type, detailed Cypress. The version also allows customers to create their own User Modules, with complete control over the hardware, firmware and graphical user interface.

Version 5.4 includes three SmartSense User Modules that claim to simplify usage of Cypress' CapSense capacitive touch-sensing technology. The SmartSense2X_EMC User Module supports both the CY8C2xx45 and CY8C28xxx PSoC 1 families. SmartSense2X_EMC not only saves time by automatically tuning capacitive sensors and dynamically adjusting the tuning during operation, it also increases end-systems' immunity to electromagnetic interference, providing the ability to operate in high-noise environments. This functionality is intended for home appliances and various markets.

Other key user modules include a programmable current source and a scanning SAR ADC. Instead of having to manually configure the hardware and firmware, users can simply drag and drop the scanning SAR ADC into their design to have it automatically measure voltages on any number of inputs. Users can download PSoC Designer 5.4 free of charge at

Customisable User Modules
User Modules can be dragged and dropped as icons into a design using PSoC Designer's GUI. They are pre-tested and pre-characterized, and each comes with a datasheet that designers can use to customise the functionality for their specific designs. PSoC Designer 5.4 includes more than 160 of these User Modules, making designing with PSoC 1 devices fast and easy, the firm stated. In addition, PSoC Designer 5.4 boosts engineering efficiency through design re-use by enabling engineers to develop their own User Modules containing their own unique hardware and firmware IP. Designers can also create a customised GUI to configure their User Modules.

PSoC Designer 5.4 contains 15 sample projects that show users how to build an array of PSoC systems. This version also includes a GUI that makes it easier for users to sort and filter these example projects to find those of interest.

According to the firm, the PSoC Designer helps users harness the power and flexibility of PSoC 1 devices. By operating at a higher level of abstraction and not requiring ground-up firmware development, it enables new designs to be created, simulated and programmed to the targeted PSoC device in hours or days instead of in weeks or months. It provides the user with a catalogue of peripheral functions called "User Modules." User modules take the configurable PSoC devices and create useful functions as diverse as counters, timers and PWMs, analogue converters, both ADCs and DACs, communications links such as UARTs, SPI and I2C, as well as comparators, programmable gain blocks, filters and even bootloaders. Each user module includes the hardware configuration data, start-up code, an interrupt service routine when applicable, and a set of APIs.

Configurable SoC architecture

PSoC 1 devices employ a highly configurable SoC architecture for embedded control design, offering a flash-based equivalent of a field-programmable ASIC without lead-time or NRE penalties. PSoC devices integrate configurable analogue and digital circuits, controlled by an on-chip MCU, providing both enhanced design revision capability and component count savings. They include up to 32KB of flash memory, 2KB of SRAM, an 8x8 multiplier with 32bit accumulator, power and sleep monitoring circuits and hardware I2C communications. Additionally, PSoC devices contain powerful analogue functionality such as delta-sigma ADCs, operational amplifiers and programmable switched capacitor networks.

The flexible PSoC digital and analogue blocks allow designers to future-proof their products by enabling firmware-based changes during design, validation, production and in the field. The unique PSoC flexibility shortens design cycle time and allows for late-breaking feature enhancements. All PSoC devices are also dynamically reconfigurable, enabling designers to morph internal resources on-the-fly, using fewer components to perform a given task.

A single PSoC device can integrate as many as 100 peripheral functions saving customers design time, board space and power consumption while improving system quality and reliability. Customers can save as much as $10 in system costs, added the company.

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