Arduino is probably one of, if not the most popular micro controller for the typical hobbyist, but there are excellent alternatives to Arduino that are often overlooked simply because Arduino is the big name in hobbyist microcontroller. The microcontrollers I would like to highlight are Cypress' programmable system on chip, or PSoC for short. They are powerful, affordable and extremely easy to use and are an excellent choice for a hobbyist microcontroller. Cypress provides some how to videos with their Cypress Academy: PSoC 101 videos, however they sometimes gloss over points, but these are very helpful videos as well. Additionally they provide documentation for everything in their PSoC Creator IDE that is incredibly well written and after getting the basics down, anyone can teach themselves using their documentation.
This Instructable is the first in a series to get anyone new to Cypress devices up and running. I will try to continue making more if there are requests for things in particular, but don't be afraid to read documentation, test things out, watch Cypress Academy videos, ask questions on the Cypress Forum; taking the time to try to fix a problem yourself will help you learn what does and doesn't work and problems are usually easy to find.
This is also a two part Instructable with this part focusing on the cheapest board, and part 2 will focus on a slightly more expensive board (Still affordable) that it able to use the debugger feature in the PSoC Creator IDE. Here is the link to Part 2;
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Step 1: What You Need
You will need a computer to run PSoC Creator 4.0 which can be downloaded from Cypress' website after creating an account here;
The package you will need to download is the CY8CKIT-049-42xx CD ISO (CD Creator) and this will install everything you need for this kit;
The hardware for the kit is available through Digikey here;
And it is also advisable to get a couple of these headers to solder to the board as these do no come with pre-soldered headers. This kind is a bit more pricey then others but gives you both male and female connectors for wires and its nice having a board setup like this for testing;
You will also need a common cathode RGB LED, two 1k ohm resistors, a 680 ohm resistor, a breadboard, and some hook up wire or DuPont cables (if you are unsure if you need male or female, you can often find them in packs that have male to male, male to female, and female to female all together), but I can't list sources for these as I frequently buy these materials from eBay, and listings come and go frequently, but there are many available and easily found searching eBay.
Beyond that, as long as your computer has a USB port, and you have a soldering iron and solder, you have all the materials required.
Step 2: Breadboard the Circuit
The circuit is quite easy to set up a a breadboard. We wire up our common cathode RGB LED with 1k ohm resistors on the blue and green pins (the two pins on one side of the longest lead), and a 680 ohm resistor on the red pin (the single pin on the other side of the longest lead) We also need to connect the longest lead on the LED to a ground (GND) pin on our micro controller board.
From our pin layout in PSoC Creator, we will want to connect the other leads of our resistors to P1.0 for red (680 ohm resistor), P1.1 for green and P1.2 for blue on our micro controller board. The picture has the wires colour coded, with black being our ground.
Step 3: Programming the Microcontroller
I have done the instructions as a video so that you can pause, rewind and play at your leisure while following along building and programming this project yourself. With a video, rather then telling you where many buttons are and when to click them, you have visual aids to see what I am clicking on at any point in time and can re-watch any step at any point in time. I have also included some pause points for you to pause at and catch up if required.
I would also greatly appreciate feedback on things that are helpful, and on areas that could be improved to make tutorial videos more helpful in the future.
Step 4: Additional Material
If for some reason you are having trouble you can download the zip file of this project, the exact one from the video, and extract all files to a folder on your desktop. From the PSoC Creator locate the file on your desktop, open the work space and run it yourself or use it to verify your project schematic or code. Everything should be there and it should build, and program through the Bootloader Host correctly and will give you a working example as reference as well as have an accompanying video to help familiarize yourself with PSoC Creator.
Once you have familiarized yourself with PSoC Creator and how to build projects, you can start building your own projects, playing with components and getting help from the wealth of documentation that Cypress provides as well as the PSoC community expand your knowledge and ability using these fantastic micro controllers. With their use of components and a schematic as well as coding and excellent documentation they are a powerful, yet easy to use device.
*Let me know if there is any problem with the archive file after unpacking it and running it in PSoC Creator*
*Updated for PSoC Creator 4.2*