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Richard Erlacher
09/17/09 08:51
Read: 511 times
Denver, Co

#168938 - Just to "stir the pot" a bit
Responding to: Andy Neil's previous message
Andy Neil said:
As this is veering off at a tangent to the original discussion, I've started this new thread.

Per Westermark said:
An evaluation board with a gazillion features are (sic) of no use if the target hardware will never use any of them.

Indeed: I often find that so-called "Evaluation Kits" or "Development Boards" that are packed with "features" are more of a hindrance than help - because all those "features" use-up the IOs, etc, that I want for my own purposes!

It's made worse nowadays by many boards that don't provide nice jumpers to easily isolate the unwanted "features" - but require the delicate removal of tiny surface-mount links!

I've made that point myself on numerous occasions, albeit in the context of FPGA/CPLD EVK's rather than MCU development boards. You'd think those jumpers cost a fortune!


There is, of course a balance between "just enough" features to make the board easily usable - such as a JTAG connector, RS232, a few convenient connectors - and "too much", and my opinion of what constitutes "too much" and "just enough" will never be the same as anyone else's...

One problem that comes up is that EVK makers often don't provide a place to put the stuff that you do need. I, for one, seldom need the JTAG connector to be available on 805x boards, because 805x's don't generally support JTAG. I seldom use the RS232-level serial interface unless I'm using a resident debug monitor, which I do sometimes need. Since most of my work is on existing 805x boards, often well over 20 years old, the package is usually DIP40, for which I have a daughterboard that supports the RS232-level interface.

If, however, I had to use I2C, SPI, of-chip memory, and other features, I might find it "handy" to have a board available on which those features or at least ready attachment features for them are already present, particularly if it's supported with drivers for such hardware. That, for example, is why I liked the NMIY-0031 board for so many applications. It cost $40 or so, and provided the RS232 level, and RS485-level interfaces, AND provided not only the external memory, but a place to put application-specific hardware and a convenient way to attach it.

"Features" included on an eval-board but which consume I/O's should be connected with removable jumpers and should not require permanent modification of the PCB. I've refused to purchase boards for the very reason that their "features" were not what I wanted, and there was no way to "get them out of the way."


List of 3 messages in thread
"An evaluation board with a gazillion features is of no use"      Andy Neil      09/17/09 03:10      
   Should complain      Per Westermark      09/17/09 03:35      
   Just to "stir the pot" a bit      Richard Erlacher      09/17/09 08:51      

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