Have a good start with Telecom Design EFM32 starter kit

Telecom Design kitAfter making my kit on my own, I finally got the official Telecom Design TD1204 kit (thank you TD) There is no big issues to use it once you have the right entry point, but as I had some email exchange with support to be fully ready for using it, I’m prefer to share some words with you on what to do and how it works.

Basically, the TD kit is an EFM32 Tiny Gecko Starter kit (STK3300) with some little modifications.  The EFM kit have two interesting functions : in own a Jlink JTAG/SWD programming and debugging interface and its EFM32 MCU can be use to monitor power consumption with precision.

Prepare the kit

The first keypoint to start using the kit is to get the related Application Notes  TD1208 AN0004 it describes how to modify the kit and how to use it even if I found some bug in it.

The first step is to check if the kit has been modified :

  • It should have an added wire from the sliding switch to the connector pin1
  • It should have an added jumper on the bottom connector between 3V3 and VMCU
EFM32 tiny gecko Kit modifications
EFM32 tiny gecko Kit modifications

These modification allow to power the external TD component with the USB power supply while the kit MCU will be powered by the CR2032 coin battery. As a consequence it will be possible the measure the TD120X exact consumption from the kit’s MCU.

To be use in this mode the power switch can be moved on the left position.

Get the software

The software comes from Energy Micro. Telecom Design is providing a version of the tools as part of the SDK 6 and can be found in this directory : C:\TD\TD_RF_Module_SDK-v6.0.0\energymicro\

These version are old but works well. In this post I will describe how to use the new tool version you can get from Energy Micro to not be redundant with the application note.

But first of all, you have to know certain points :

  • The EFM kit is identified by a Serial Number. The previous version was using a port number (usb#0, usb#1). Now it is identified by a serial number. It basically works the same.
  • The kit have different JTAG interface: the one named MCU correspond to the EFM32 on the board you will identify as a EFM32TG840F32 The OUT port correspond to the top left connector where you will connect your TD chip. The application notes sounds like to have a but asking you to select MCU. So if you want to flash your TD and not crash your kit, select OUT port. The TD will be identified as a EFM32G210F128

In case you had crashed the MCU binary and want to restore the power measurement firmware, you can get it here.

If you want to use the last version of the software provided by energy micro (simplicity studio), the download page is accessible here.

When installing simplicity you don’t need all the modules, for flashing you can install the tools and SDK but you don’t need to have Keil, IAR, GCC compiler…

Reflash your device with simplicity studio v4

The first step is to configure the kit in simplicity by identifying the corresponding dev kit :

2016-10-02_13h07_12By clicking on the tool button you will be able to select the dev kit. You have to select the Tiny Gecko board in the list as in the following screen capture.

 

 

 

 

2016-10-02_13h06_26

Once done, you can now check you have the right SDK selected of change it for the right one …

2016-10-02_13h03_19On the screen you can see Debug Mode : MCU, this means the target chip is the one on the gecko board.

Now if you want to flash the device, you need to change it for OUT to get this:

2016-10-02_13h15_19

To flash a new firmware you can click on TOOL button on top of the screen and when the tool list is displayed you can select Flash Programmer.

Here the detected CPU is MCU by the way the one to be reflashed will be the one connected on OUT connector.

2016-10-02_13h22_14Measure current consumption

To measure the current consumed by your application you need to select Debug Mode as MCU as the communication will be done between simplify and the onboard MCU. The switch must be on the left side to measure the current going on OUT port.

Then you can start the Energy Profiler tool from the tool list.

2016-10-02_13h38_35The first step is to select the “Existing program” in the green box. Then you can start extracting data by pushing the Play button (in red)

The result are real time consumption

2016-10-02_13h41_46

And global consumption

2016-10-02_13h42_13Data can be exported for external analysis in a CSV format with current and voltage information.

Global note of the TD1204 devkit : 5 (*****) / 5
 
Public for TD1204 dev-kit
- beginner makers : *
- average makers  : *
- advanced makers : **
- educational : *
- Pro : *****
   
Prototyping capability of the product 
- *****
  SDK allows to develop a full product

Quality of dev-kit 
- *****
  Industry grade

Quality of the documentation 
- ***** 

Capability to be integrated in a prototype 
- *****
  TD shield can be integrated in a prototype

Pros 
- SDK (*****) and community support 
- Power measurement capability
- Open source SDK  

Could be better 
- Form factor
- Price
- Direct availability on internet for non pro
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