(Now a bi-weekly program)

July 2, 2013

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Experimenting with the Xtrinsic Evaluation Board
What can you do with sensors for altitude, pressure, magnetic field and 3-axis accelerometer ... all on one, low-cost experimenter's board?

Plus ... Introduction to the CWTD PSOC Project


One of our regular attendees here on CWTD recently pointed us toward this really interesting low-cost evaluation board that is just chock full of interesting sensors.  So while waiting for our own boards to arrive in the mail, we thought that we'd go through the capabilities of this "XTRINSIC" board to help you decide what you might be able to do with it!

Additionally, we'll be introducing the CWTD PSOC Project ... a low cost, Programmable System On a Chip controller that we'll be configuring over a couple of forthcoming episodes to couple with a Softrock RF front end to serve as a standalone receiver.

73, George N2APB & Joe N2CX

Podcast ... Right-click to download & listen!

Text Chat window from during the show ...

<20:05:26> "Joe N2CX": Microelectromechanical systems!
<20:06:26> "Joe N2CX": http://www.cwtd.org/July2.html
<20:07:45> "Joe N2CX": I think Element14 is actually distributor Newark Electronics
<20:22:34> "Ray K2ULR": https://jawbone.com/up
<20:22:35> "Frank N3PUU": you would want a pitot tube for that, no?
<20:22:43> "Joe N2CX": Yep!
<20:23:15> "Frank N3PUU": Sorry no mic on this computer tonight..
<20:23:34> "Ken - VA3KMD": It would depend on the aerodynamics of your automobile and where you placed the sensor.
<20:23:54> "Al K8AXW": Can the parameters be recorded in any manner?? Like making an accelerometer to monitor your teen son's driving habits??
<20:24:46> "Joe N2CX": Certainly one could record the data to memory and time tag it for later observation.
<20:25:10> "Al K8AXW": Does this thing have much memory capacity?
<20:27:38> "George - N2APB": Dunno. Skimming the specs for this but nothing popping out yet. Must have some, but perhaps just for program use.
<20:28:12> "Al K8AXW": Couldn't find an conspicuous numbers either
<20:33:14> "Al K8AXW": EEVblog.com, I think, has a nice video for soldering these types of chip. At any rate, there is indeed a Youtube video on soldering this type of chip
<20:33:21> "Joe N2CX": 16K of SRAM
<20:37:33> "Joe N2CX": Circuit Cellar is yet another great magazine.
<20:44:27> "Ken - VA3KMD": It will be fun to interface this board with the uM-FPU.
<20:49:08> "Frank N3PUU": http://diydrones.com/
<20:52:22> "Ray K2ULR": Probably multi-sensors that have to "concur" and vote.
<20:53:44> "Joe N2CX": The voting is certainly better than in political settings!
<20:54:05> "Tom AK2B": Go to mbed.org and find all the cool things you can do with FRDM-KL25Z board.
<20:54:58> "Tom AK2B": http://mbed.org/handbook/Firmware-FRDM-KL25Z
<21:00:55> "Tom AK2B": http://mbed.org/cookbook/Si570  example using si570 and softrock
<21:17:00> "Ken - VA3KMD": George: Is the CWTD store still in operation?
<21:18:39> "George - N2APB": Yes it is Ken. Been meaning to put that info back up since the restructuring. The display, Rookey and Choke Balun are the only items currently still being sold. Just let me know what you need.
<21:19:22> "George - N2APB": Five Dash (http://fivedash.com/)  offers the "Softrock Rx Ensemble II Receiver Kit".
<21:19:52> "Ken - VA3KMD": Any update on the GPS module?
<21:20:35> "Frank N3PUU": good show guys.. definitely interested in the psoc!
<21:20:41> "Tom AK2B": thank you
<21:21:19> "George - N2APB": http://fivedash.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=6&zenid=2723db76513855cb472315531f39af51  for the Ensemble RX-II kit
<21:21:58> "George - N2APB": Ken, the GPS module is actively in design and we hope to have a good update on it at the next showtime.

Xtrinsic Sensors Eval Kit ... $26 from Newark Electronics ... http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-54360?ICID=knode-xtrinsic-evk



element14 exclusively presents a low-cost sensors evaluation kit [XTRINSIC-SENSORS-EVK ], which includes a multi-MEMS sensor board based on three Xtrinsic sensors and the freescale FRDM-KL25Z Freedom platform with the software code, for design engineers to easily evaluate and demonstrate the performance of the sensors in a variety of applications including eCompass, Mobile Phones/Tablet Computers, Remote Control/Wireless Mouse, Game Consoles, Navigation Devices, Medical Devices, etc.

The Xtrinsic MEMS sensors board features three types of Xtrinsic sensors from Freescale, including MPL3115A2 , MAG3110 and MMA8491Q . Included in the kit are the software drivers and code that enables users to easily evaluate and demonstrate the performance of the sensors to measure altitude, pressure, as well as detection of magnetic fields and physical position.

MEMS Sensors Board features 3 types of Xtrinsic sensors:
  • MPL3115A2 High-precision Pressure Sensor
    The MPL3115A2 provides highly precise pressure and altitude data with variable sampling rate capability. It has very low-power consumption, smart features and requires zero data processing for mobile devices, medical and security applications. The Xtrinsic MPL3115A2 pressure sensor smart features include digital output, two interrupts for auto-wake, minimum/maximum threshold detection and autonomous data acquisition. MCU usage can be limited since the MPL3115A2 pressure sensor can process sensor data locally, reducing communications required with the host processor.
    • Less than 1 foot / 0.3 m resolution
    • Pressure range: 20 – 110 kPa
    • Compensated, direct reading (software is not needed)
    • 20-bit pressure measurement (Pascals)
    • 20-bit altitude measurement (meters)
    • 12-bit temperature measurement
    • On-board intelligence
    • Flexible sampling rate up to 128 Hz
  • MAG3110 Digital 3-axis Magnetometer
    The MAG3110 is a small, low-power digital 3-D magnetic sensor with a wide dynamic range to allow operation in PCBs with high extraneous magnetic fields. The MAG3110 magnetometer measures the three components of the local magnetic field which will be the sum of the geomagnetic field and the magnetic field created by components on the circuit board. Used in conjunction with a 3-axis accelerometer, orientation-independent accurate compass heading information can be achieved. The MAG3110 features a standard IC serial interface and is capable of measuring local magnetic fields up to 10 Gauss with output data rates (ODR) up to 80 Hz.
    • 80 Hz maximum sampling rate
    • IC interface 400 kHz
    • -40C to +85C operation
    • .95 to 3.6-volt supply
  • MMA8491Q 3-axis Low-g Accelerometer
    The Xtrinsic MMA8491Q 3-axis accelerometer is an ultra-low-power tilt sensor that enables smart meters, home appliances, asset tracking applications, gaming and remote controls through auto-on/auto-sleep energy-efficient operation housed in a specialized industrial package. The Xtrinsic MMA8491Q accelerometer is simple, yet robust with reduced system and implementation cost for reduced development time. Its unique single sample and hold measurement method allows for ease of use.
    • Lower power for significant battery saving
    • Lead pitch complies with industrial footprint
    • Out-of-box tilt detection sensor saves setup time
    • Reduce turn-on data latency
    • Enables high-resolution application with low-power consumption requirements
    • Works well with MCU-based devices
    • Wide operating voltage

FRDM-KL25Z Freedom Development Platform

  • MKL25Z128VLK4 MCU – 48 MHz, 128 KB flash, 16 KB SRAM, USB OTG (FS), 80LQFP
  • Capacitive touch “slider”, MMA8451Q accelerometer, tri-color LED
  • Easy access to MCU I/O
  • Sophisticated OpenSDA debug interface
  • Mass storage device flash programming interface (default) – no tool installation required to evaluate demo apps
  • P&E Multilink interface provides run-control debugging and compatibility with IDE tools
  • Open-source data logging application provides an example for customer, partner and enthusiast development on the OpenSDA circuit
  • mbed enabled

The MEMS sensors board is connected to FRDM-KL25Z Freedom board via J2 and J9 I/O header on FRDM-KL25Z board. The FRDM-KL25Z features a KL25Z128VLK - a KL2 family device boasting a max operating frequency of 48MHz, 128KB of flash, a full-speed USB controller, and loads of analog and digital peripherals. The Xtrinsic MEMS sensors evaluation kit also provides the software for easily evaluating and interacting with MPL3115A2 , MAG3110 and MMA8491Q Xtrinsic sensors.


Kit is really complete, even including a low-power microcontroller and a battery holder to evaluate standalone sensing applications. This is like a six in one solution : one 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+ mcu + two accelerometers + one magnetometer + one altimeter + one temperature sensor.  Demo code provided by Element14 is a good entry point.  It should be easily modified to generate new community projects thanks to the tools of the Freescale FRDM platform (free compiler like Coocox, embedded OpenSDA hardware debugger, embedded OpenSDA flash programmer ...). Then the DIP package of the module will be very usefull for fast prototyping breaking the barrier of sensor LGA packages. To conclude, I definitely recommend this bundle to any customer looking for an easy and cheap solution to quickly evaluate and integrate motion sensors to their applications.



Download the Data Sheet


Download the Data Sheet




Mobile Phones/Tablet Computers

Remote Control/Wireless Mouse

Game Consoles

Navigation Devices

Medical Devices



The CWTD PSOC Project ... Introduction

Here's a preview of what we'll be focusing on, in part, in the upcoming couple of episodes ... a small, inexpensive "PSOC" controller that will interface to the popular Softrock Ensemble RX-II, and to the Softrock Lite boards to provide standalone operation of a receiver.  The PSOC chip is able to do the clock control, demodulation and I/O device control to let you use the Softrocks in a low-cost, standalone receiver.

Five Dash (http://fivedash.com/)  offers the "Softrock Rx Ensemble II Receiver Kit and the Softrock Lite-II kit

We intend on using the Cypress PSoC3 chip ... search Digi-Key (and elsewhere) for chips and eval boards.    




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