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Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

[ Edited ]

Hi Everyone, I'm the SVP/GM responsible for all MCU, Wireless, and Sensor Products at Silicon Labs. This includes everything from high level strategy down to all product roadmaps and features. I want to make myself available to the community to ask questions. As they come in, I'll respond to them here. I'll answer all questions through the end of August.

 

Have fun.

 

[edit: I'm going to log on 1-2x per day and answer questions until the end of August]

Posts: 13
Registered: ‎05-21-2013

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business (Wireless, MCU, Sensors). AMA.

Thanks Daniel, I'll go first:

 

I've been stalled in my development of a WT32i based product for a week now.  The issue began with a documentation omission in the iWrap manual, and when that was resolved I was told I needed to update the firmware in the WT32i module. The module because "bricked" during that process, and I've been stuck there communicating back in forth with the tech support guy ever since. He's working hard, but the overlap between his working hours and mine apparently leave room for just a single response a day.

 

As a result, it's taken > a week to resolve what i hope is a simple product, and I am fast approaching the point where I may have to recommend an otherwise less attractive device. You will understand how a company would be leery of proceeding into mass production after both the unexplained crash and the fact that it takes a week to resolve it.

 

Can't more timely support for US-based customers be provided?

 

Gerald Cooper

Virginia

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

[ Edited ]

Hi @gcooper, thanks for reaching out. As you know, we are in a global industry, which means that we have customers in almost every country in the world. Our goal is to have 100% coverage in the three major regions (AMER, EMEA, APAC) to work in real-time, but it is not always possible. I hear you and will discuss this with the team. In the meantime, I'll have someone reach out to you separately.

<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Hero</font></font> </a> jmg
Posts: 1,107
Registered: ‎04-27-2004

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

[ Edited ]

DanielCooley wrote:

Hi Everyone, I'm responsible for all MCU, Wireless, and Sensor Products at Silicon Labs. This includes everything from high level strategy down to all product roadmaps and features.


Hi Daniel,

ok : One road map question, is around Wide Vcc MCUs, which are a somewhat glaring blindspot in SiLabs lineups. SiLabs have only the now quite old C8051F5xx series as Wide Vcc.

 

Most new vendor releases these days, especially in small MCUs, are Wide Vcc.

Some quick examples:

 STC STC8F 8051 series, is wide Vcc and 24b opcode fetch

 Nuvoton have 28c, 16kF wide Vcc parts,

 Nuvoton have Wide Vcc in both ARM and 8051 & new ARMs have 1.8~5.5V VccIO feature.

 SyncMOS have 1.8~5.5V 1T 8051 series

 Infineon XMC1xx series are 1.8~5.5V, as are Cypress PSoC4 family.

 

Other questions :  "Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA."

 What is AMA ?

 Does IoT Business include Clock Generators ?

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

[ Edited ]

Hi @jmg, AMA stands for 'ask me anything' Robot Happy

 

Regarding wide VCC products, Silicon Labs IoT products are for the most part is focused on energy-efficient and battery-powered applications. This means we need to make design choices that optimize for VCC levels at 3.8V and below. If you look at any of the most common low power platforms (CC26xx, STM32L, nRF52x, KW4x, and so on), you will find similar characteristics.

 

Lastly, the IoT business doesn't include clock generators specifically. It includes MCU, Wireless, and Sensors. But feel free to visit our webpage on clock generator products!

Posts: 2,801
Registered: ‎02-07-2002

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

With the popular LiPo batteries going upto 4.35V I would say that 3.8V is not enough for battery-powered applications.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@vanmierlo you're right about battery chemistries like LiPo and Li-Ion. In an ideal world, we'd be able to support a direct connection to VCC of 5.5V, which would cover all major battery chemistries plus USB. But as we ride Moore's law down the curve, the transistor options become more and more limited. At 40nm, for example, we are stuck with 2.5V transistors as the maximum VCC. We have to play all kinds of design tricks just to get up to the 3.8V that we support today. We could simply stick with older technologies with 3.3V or even 5V transistors, but then we wouldn't be able to pack enough memory, processor, and RF capabilities into our chips.

 

What most of the market has adopted is power management ICs (PMICs) to manage the charging and/or discharging of batteries that go above the ~3.8V range. You can find tons of examples out there from the usual suspects (TI, ADI, etc.).

<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Hero</font></font> </a> jmg
Posts: 1,107
Registered: ‎04-27-2004

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

 Thanks, but not quite the road-map answer many were hoping for...


 

Regarding wide VCC products, Silicon Labs IoT products are for the most part is focused on energy-efficient and battery-powered applications. This means we need to make design choices that optimize for VCC levels at 3.8V and below.


?  Yet a very common battery chemistry today is 4.3V  ?

http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/charging_lithium_ion_batteries

 


If you look at any of the most common low power platforms (CC26xx, STM32L, nRF52x, KW4x, and so on), you will find similar characteristics

I see you focused there on wireless and 32b part codes, when I mentioned small MCUs, but even in 32b & wireless, look at most-recent entries like PSoC4, which offers Wide Vcc and RF.

 

Quick highlights :

  • Wide Operating Range 1.7 - 5.5 V (Radio operational 1.9 V onwards)
  • Flexible Low Power Modes
    • 1.3-µA Deep-Sleep Current
    • 150-nA Hibernate Current
    • 60-nA Stop Current
<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Ninja</font></font> </a> sjg
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎07-28-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

Hello Daniel,

 

Well over two weeks ago, I assured my client that in little over a week I would have some very basic code for him.  We didn't even plan to use the radio; just simple IO, a uart connection to a PC, and a working I2C channel.  My schedule was based upon past experience with three different btle soc vendors.

 

To date, I am able to toggle an LED in response to a button press on one of your starter kits.  That's it.  My client is unhappy, my reputation has taken a hit, and I am unhappy.

 

I'm confident things will get better if I can ever get past this initial set of hurdles, but I am running out of patience and faith in this environment.  

 

Steve

 

Posts: 7,951
Registered: ‎08-13-2003

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

I'm confident things will get better if I can ever get past this initial set of hurdles,

one important item missing which chip?

erik
Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-01-2012

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

Hi Daniel,

 

To the extent you can talk about silicon roadmap, are there any plans to offer chips with...

 

1) Separate VDD/AVDD support. Many chips allow this, but the EFM32s that I know of do not: these pins must be essentially tied together, dragging all the system's switching noise or other voltage wiggles onto the analog rail. This unnecessarily complicates mixed-signal designs (ADC usage, etc.), especially toward IoT-focused designs, where they are often running from a small (relatively high-impedance) battery source and a power-hungry radio sharing that source can key up at any time.

 

2) More RAM! Any plans to offer EFM32 product variants with >128K RAM, especially the RF parts? Any plans to offer DSP/FPU-enabled (M4 / Wonder Gecko) parts with >32K? I suspect there is a good reason behind this amount (fixed silicon area and making room for the FPU?), but 32K of RAM is pretty crippling for many of the applications you'd need a DSP for. A good example is power-limited IoT applications doing, say, equipment health monitoring, power and bandwidth constraints force most of the processing (including nasty signal processing and compression) to happen device-local rather than fob it off to a distant server. Understandably, having the RAM on-die has power implications whether you use it or not (some other vendors get around this with a register to cut power to unused banks), but when you need it, you need it, and chucking a giant external SRAM on the board isn't always an option.

 

Thanks!

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@jmg we will be introducing 5V parts in a few years (they are on the roadmap) but nothing in the next year or two. For applications that require higher voltages, you can use the PMICs I referenced or vendors like Infineon XMC, Cypress PSoC4, NXP Kinetis KE, Atmel SAM C, etc. There are lots to choose from.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

[ Edited ]

@Drmn4ea, great questions.

 

1. Our latest (and all future) products will support separate VDD/AVDD supplies. You can see this in our latest Wireless Gecko (EFR32 [link]) and Gecko (EFM32 [link]) releases. We detail this extensively in AN0002, which can be found on our website...link here.

 

2. Yes, more RAM is coming soon; it's one of our most requested features. I don't want to give it all away here, but you'll have alot to play with...alot. Robot Happy

Posts: 105
Registered: ‎10-01-2012

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

Very cool!

Are you able to give any more details on how soon we can expect the high-RAM parts?

Posts: 7,951
Registered: ‎08-13-2003

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

looking through this discussion, I see the usual "what thr .... are they talking about" very few posts indicate 8 or 32 bit and you push both as IoT thingies

erik
<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Ninja</font></font> </a> sjg
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎07-28-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.


erikm wrote:

I'm confident things will get better if I can ever get past this initial set of hurdles,

one important item missing which chip?


EFR32BG.  I did not bother to list because Daniel seems interested in the bigger picture.  For me, the big picture is, politely, cloudy with issues -- issues that in my point of view apply across the chip lineup.

<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Ninja</font></font> </a> sjg
Posts: 38
Registered: ‎07-28-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@DanielCooley

Here are some questions for you.  I don't ask these to be rude, and I surely won't mind if you don't answer them here.

Have you ever tried out the tools, kits, and stack Silabs is providing to us?

Have you ever given one of the starter kits to someone unfamiliar with the silabs environment and monitored their progress in coming up to speed?

If you are interested in one person's experience, head over to the Simplicity Studio and Software section of these forums and look at my posts over the last three weeks or so.

 

Obviously my recent experience does not apply to everyone, but my experience leaves me not that interested in road maps.

 

Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-12-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi, I have a few questions on wireless Gecko sub GHz SoCs. 

 

- When is EFR32FG131 (only Sub GHz) with smaller flash size (like 64KB) available on the market?

- Does Connect Stack already implement CSMA/CA? or I should implement using CCA (Clear Channel Assessment)?

- Does Connect Stack and RAIL support EZR32HG/LG?

- I've looked around a few Sub GHz wireless SoCs in the market such as NXP, Semtech Lora, and TI CC series, but only Silicon Labs provides 20dBm without an external PA. I am very curious why only SiLabs can do so, which is actually one of the main reasons why i am considering SiLabs solutions for my product. 

 

Thanks!

Baik

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@Drmn4ea I'm sorry, but I can't give out any more information...just know that it's soon.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@erikm Silicon Labs classifies all of our MCU, Wireless, and sensor revenue into a bucket called IoT. There are reasons for doing this, but I understand what you're staying. In any case, I do lead the MCU businesses (8b and 32b). Their roadmaps are shaped by IoT markets but not exclusively.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@bahohgreat questions.

 

  • EFR32FG1P131 is already on the market. The full part number in the 48-pin QFN is EFR32FG1P131F64GM48.
  • CSMA/CA will be coming on the next release of our SDK, before the end of the year.
  • Connect and RAIL are not supported on the EZR32HG/LG platforms.
  • Thanks for the props on +20 dBm. I can't give all the secrets away, but we are proud of that spec.
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@sjg I read your post (and your previous ones in the forums). Yes, I have gone through the experience myself...without telling the teams. Ordered a kit on digikey, downloaded the tools, watched the training videos, navigated documentation, etc. I will be taking up the issues you point out regarding OOB experience and documentation with the development teams. Thanks for the candid feedback.

Posts: 7,951
Registered: ‎08-13-2003

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

[ Edited ]

Silicon Labs classifies all of our MCU, Wireless, and sensor revenue into a bucket called IoT. There are reasons for doing this, but I understand what you're staying. In any case, I do lead the MCU businesses (8b and 32b). Their roadmaps are shaped by IoT markets but not exclusively.

 

I, merely, am miffed with all the posts where it is totally unknown whether the issue is related to 8 or 32 bits.  Most. if not all, problems have totally different solutions in the two cases.  I really do not think any developer cares if it is called IoT or Ralph, but (s)he WILL want to know which processor familuy.

erik
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@erikm I guess I'm a little confused. We have separate forums for the 8b and 32b MCUs. Depending on which forum you're reading/posting in, the context should be there. Are you asking for a mandatory field for part number or family when entering posts to help refine the forum post?

Posts: 7,951
Registered: ‎08-13-2003

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. AMA.

@erikm I guess I'm a little confused. We have separate forums for the 8b and 32b MCUs. Depending on which forum you're reading/posting in, the context should be there. Are you asking for a mandatory field for part number or family when entering posts to help refine the forum post?

 

this discussion is one example, the simplicity Studio forum is another where the chip type often is obscure

erik
Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-12-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Thank you for your detailed response. I bought EZR32HG 915MHz wireless starter kit and am stuck on how to use CCA to implement collision avoidance right now. It would be great if I can get any document or help on it. What do you think?

 

Baik

Posts: 129
Registered: ‎01-07-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

 

i want to use the Si1144 Heart Rate Algorithm and Bluetooth LE on one chip, when do you have a chip/module available that is capable of handling this?

 

Thanks.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@bahoh the applications engineering team is following up with you on this...they have found your ticket.

Posts: 9
Registered: ‎08-12-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

Thanks a lot for your prompt response. I am looking forward to technical support team soon. 

Baik

Posts: 417
Registered: ‎07-13-2015

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@DanielCooley Hey Daniel, it is really awesome to see you personally listening and answering to all our feedback. Me and my collegaues are generally happy with Silabs hardware; however we have lots of trouble with the software that comes with it.

 

I'll try to summarize my feedback in a few bullet points:

 

  • I really like emlib and emdrv and would like to see them getting more love. Especially it would be really nice to make it easier for the community to contribute. Having a GitHub repo for the Gecko SDK is a very nice first step, but I'd love to see it developed more openly and would love to see the ability for the community to send pull requests. (I personally already have a bunch of patches to it which I would love to get included in the official release.)
    What is Silabs' policy on accepting community patches (provided of course that we are willing to work on matching your quality standards)? Can you comment on any plans about this?

 

  • How come that even though Simplicity Studio has a package manager, we can't install neither RAIL nor the BLE stack nor the Connect SDK from it?

 

  • Is it in the plans to improve the radio configuration tool in Simplicity Studio? For now, it seems sub-par when compared to WDS. (At least when I use it with the EZR32 ― I'm better off creating a Si446x config in WDS and just use the generated header.)

 

  • One of the reasons I use Silabs products is because Simplicity Studio supports Linux. It's okay-ish, but I feel like a second-class citizen because there's stuff that is quirky or just doesn't work out-of-the-box. I reported a couple of issues last year which haven't been updated for a long while.
    Is it in the plans to improve Linux support or at least address the known issues? Do you have some guys who regularly test your tools on at least the latest release of at least the few major Linux distributions?

 

  • The EFM32 starter kits that I've used so far all have had issues and quirks detecting MCUs on custom boards. The 32-bit MCU forum is full of users having trouble with it.
    Are you aware of these issues? Is it a priority to fix them?

 

  • Are you planning on releasing a SoC (not a module) that supports Wi-Fi like TI's cc31xx?

 

  • I've given a try to the Mighty Gecko, which I believe is an awesome product. Unfortunately the Bluetooth Low Energy stack that comes with it only works with IAR (a non-free, third-party compiler). I couldn't get it to work with the (gcc-based) build system that comes with Simplicity Studio. For this reason, I went with TI's cc26xx instead. I was really sorry (I truly wanted to use Silabs hardware), but at least they ship a BLE stack for the cc26xx which at least works with their tools.
    (Seriously though, how do you justify launching a software stack that is incompatible with your existing tools?)

 

  • It is unclear what exactly is the difference between each the Wireless Gecko products and I think they are not advertised correctly. I get it that they support different protocols, but how exactly does it work?
    • Will RAIL run on a Blue Gecko? I get it that the Blue Gecko only supports BLE and not proprietary. But then, what if I want to implement my own BLE stack with RAIL, will that work?
    • Speaking of the Wireless Gecko portfolio, I can see that the Mighty Gecko is the one that "has it all", ie. supports everything that the others do. However this isn't noticable on the website, only if you look for it specifically.
    • What exactly is the difference between the Connect SDK and RAIL? I couldn't figure it out, and I couldn't find this information on the web site.
    • How come that we can only register for downloading the Thread and Zigbee SDKs if we have a Mighty Gecko kit? What if I just buy a couple of Mighty Gecko SOCs from a distributor like Farnell and want to program them with let's say a Zero Gecko starter kit?
    • Since the Flex Gecko supports any custom proprietary protocols, does this mean that it can also support standards like BLE/Thread/Zigbee/etc? This is also very unclear from the website.

 

 

Posts: 9
Registered: ‎06-28-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

I am on my first BLE development but I have worked on various micro-controllers with and without wireless, mainly in C and with IAR.

 

The development on a BGM113 using the SiLabs IDE has been probably my most frustrating project to the point that I have lost faith in Silicon Labs.......but I still have to complete the project.

 

My points would be:

1) Typical IDE that is only easy to use once you have used it a lot, so I am struggling.

2) There are a number of 'features' that should have been sorted before release.

3) We develop in C, lots of the information on the forum is for BGscript. We have asked questions about C and had responses regarding script.

4) I am in GB, often support is ask a question one day, answer next day.

5) Despite my negative thoughts I am willing to give feedback to help SiLabs sort out various 'features'.

6) With IAR sometimes you have to disconnect the debugger or restart the IDE, with the SiLabs IDE you have to occasionally reboot the PC.

 

Is there a timescale for upgrades to remove the various features from the IDE.

 

Andy

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@smalldevshack we will be releasing a reference design for heart rate on our Si1144 + Blue Gecko by the end of the year.

Posts: 2
Registered: ‎08-17-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

I have a question about the Si7013-A20 I2C Humidity and two-zone temperature sensor. 

 

I would like to connect a very high impedance sensor (1M Ohm output impedance) to the analog input of the part (VSNS pin).  I'm trying to understand if the amplifier internal to the SI7013 is capable of accepting a signal from this high impedance source or if a buffer amplifier is required.

 

The data sheet contains very little information about the input characteristics of the VSNS pin.  A circuit diagram and / or model of the input would be very helpful.  At least the input characteristics such as impedance & leakage current in buffered and un-buffered modes should be listed in the data sheet.

 

The data sheet does state that the Input Leakage current into the VSNS pin is 5x VDD uA, which is obviously a problem for my sensor impedance, but it also has a cryptic reference to "200K nominal pull up" and doesn't list whether the state leakage is for buffered or unbuffered input mode. Where is this "200K nominal pull-up" in the circuit?  Does the stated leakage current apply to both buffered and unbuffered modes?  

 

Thanks,

Doug

 

    

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@Timur alot of good questions. I'll see what I can answer here.

 

===

I really like emlib and emdrv and would like to see them getting more love. Especially it would be really nice to make it easier for the community to contribute. Having a GitHub repo for the Gecko SDK is a very nice first step, but I'd love to see it developed more openly and would love to see the ability for the community to send pull requests. (I personally already have a bunch of patches to it which I would love to get included in the official release.) What is Silabs' policy on accepting community patches (provided of course that we are willing to work on matching your quality standards)? Can you comment on any plans about this?

 

I’m glad you like our code! As you mention, we are as a first step rethinking how to distribute code using code-sharing sites like GitHub to give developers easier access to our software. Regarding the development we will probably never switch to a fully open development model. There are many reasons for this but the short summary is: (1) that we’re building a lot of SW for unreleased chips and features, (2) we have to be responsible for the code in the end and (3) that there is a fine legal path we have to thread when accepting community driven patches. The last point is something we hope to have a standard for quite soon.

 

That being said we really appreciate these patches and you can post your them here, on the forum, send it to us in the support channel, or create a pull request on GitHub. They will find their way back into the Gecko SDK, but not directly as commits to the main repository. It will probably look more like Git’s own GitHub repository, where pull request are used as patch notifications and integrated by the core development team. We have already looked at your GitHub fork with the UARTDRV patches and we hope to have them in the next Gecko SDK release, if not the one after that.

 

===

How come that even though Simplicity Studio has a package manager, we can't install neither RAIL nor the BLE stack nor the Connect SDK from it?

 

Simplicity Studio V4 fixes this; you can get it now. It is listed as early access but is GA quality. The package manager now includes: Znet 5.7.3.0, Znet 5.7.2.0, SL-Thread 1.0.6.0, Connect 2.0.0.1, Connect 2.0.0.0, Connect 1.0.5.0, RAIL 1.1.0.0, and RAIL 1.2.0.0. The bluetooth stacks will be added in next month. As long as you're using the same login for salesforce and Simplicity Studio, there should be no issues using the package manager.

 

Simplicity Studio V3.x did not include support for username authentication and therefore did not include stack distribution in its package manager.

 

=== 

Is it in the plans to improve the radio configuration tool in Simplicity Studio? For now, it seems sub-par when compared to WDS. (At least when I use it with the EZR32 ― I'm better off creating a Si446x config in WDS and just use the generated header.)

 

For the next revision of the configurator, we will have full radio/PHY configuration options that will work with RAIL and the Connect stack – parameters such as channel frequency, modulation, bit rate, packet parameters etc., similar to what is offered with WDS. I'm checking on the release date and will edit this post once I have that information.

 

===

One of the reasons I use Silabs products is because Simplicity Studio supports Linux. It's okay-ish, but I feel like a second-class citizen because there's stuff that is quirky or just doesn't work out-of-the-box. I reported a couple of issues last year which haven't been updated for a long while.
Is it in the plans to improve Linux support or at least address the known issues? Do you have some guys who regularly test your tools on at least the latest release of at least the few major Linux distributions?

 

Simplicity Studio V3 is tested on Ubuntu 14.04 32 bit and V4 is tested with Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit. Other versions of Linux may also work, and we often answer forum questions to help users getting Studio up and running on their preferred version of Linux. Because Studio is a Java application, most functionality and bug fixes translate across operating systems. However, there are exceptions. There are more Windows and Mac users than Linux, so more issues are reported by users and fixed by the Studio team, leading to a more robust product over time on those operating systems. Please continue to post problems discovered on Linux, and it will help us to continue to improve our Linux offering.

 

=== 

The EFM32 starter kits that I've used so far all have had issues and quirks detecting MCUs on custom boards. The 32-bit MCU forum is full of users having trouble with it.
Are you aware of these issues? Is it a priority to fix them?

 

It sounds like you are using our Debug Out functionality provided by all of our STKs. It allows you to use the on board controller as a debug adapter with your own design. You put the adapter in Debug Out mode, and connect it with a cable to your own target. We did see some flakiness on Debug Out functionality for a period of time. It bubbled up in the forum and we coordinated an effort across multiple teams to resolve the problems. Since that time, we haven’t heard any complaints. Are you using the latest versions of Studio and board controller firmware?

 

=== 

Are you planning on releasing a SoC (not a module) that supports Wi-Fi like TI's cc31xx?

 

We don't currently sell Wi-Fi SoCs. We're focusing on module customers in this segment, which dominate the volume in most of the IoT markets that we participate in.

 

===

I've given a try to the Mighty Gecko, which I believe is an awesome product. Unfortunately the Bluetooth Low Energy stack that comes with it only works with IAR (a non-free, third-party compiler). I couldn't get it to work with the (gcc-based) build system that comes with Simplicity Studio. For this reason, I went with TI's cc26xx instead. I was really sorry (I truly wanted to use Silabs hardware), but at least they ship a BLE stack for the cc26xx which at least works with their tools.
(Seriously though, how do you justify launching a software stack that is incompatible with your existing tools?)

 

Glad you like Mighty Gecko! And you're right that we don't support GCC today for our Bluetooth stacks. This will come in 2017, and we will update the community as the time comes closer.

 

=== 

It is unclear what exactly is the difference between each the Wireless Gecko products and I think they are not advertised correctly. I get it that they support different protocols, but how exactly does it work?

  • Will RAIL run on a Blue Gecko? I get it that the Blue Gecko only supports BLE and not proprietary. But then, what if I want to implement my own BLE stack with RAIL, will that work?
  • Speaking of the Wireless Gecko portfolio, I can see that the Mighty Gecko is the one that "has it all", ie. supports everything that the others do. However this isn't noticable on the website, only if you look for it specifically.
  • What exactly is the difference between the Connect SDK and RAIL? I couldn't figure it out, and I couldn't find this information on the web site.
  • How come that we can only register for downloading the Thread and Zigbee SDKs if we have a Mighty Gecko kit? What if I just buy a couple of Mighty Gecko SOCs from a distributor like Farnell and want to program them with let's say a Zero Gecko starter kit?
  • Since the Flex Gecko supports any custom proprietary protocols, does this mean that it can also support standards like BLE/Thread/Zigbee/etc? This is also very unclear from the website.

We're going to clean up the website to make this more clear.

 

 

Posts: 417
Registered: ‎07-13-2015

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Thank you @DanielCooley for your quick and detailed reply.

 


 

Regarding the development we will probably never switch to a fully open development model. There are many reasons for this but the short summary is: [...]

 

I understand the reasoning. As long as there is a well-defined way for us to contribute and communicate with the devs who integrate our patches (in case there is a misunderstanding or the code needs fixing before it can be merged), I'm fine with this policy.

 

(Side note: you might want to look into how Intel does it, they afford to add preliminary support for unreleased hardware into their open source drivers.)

 


 

Simplicity Studio V3 is tested on Ubuntu 14.04 32 bit and V4 is tested with Ubuntu 16.04 64 bit. [...] Please continue to post problems discovered on Linux, and it will help us to continue to improve our Linux offering.

 

I'm specifically referring to this forum thread and the three bugs I reported here, two of which still remains unfixed in latest v3. In v4, the udev rule is still incorrect, the other ones I haven't checked yet but will update that thread when I do.

 

I would also suggest to add support to the Fedora / RHEL family for two reasons: (1) RHEL is widespread in the enterprise sector, (2) Fedora usually ships the latest versions of components found in every desktop Linux distro, so supporting Fedora means that your app will be future-proof because these versions will eventually make it into other distributions as well.

 


 

It sounds like you are using our Debug Out functionality provided by all of our STKs. [...] We did see some flakiness on Debug Out functionality for a period of time. [...] Since that time, we haven’t heard any complaints. Are you using the latest versions of Studio and board controller firmware?

 

Yes, I'm talking about Debug Out, and yes I'm using the latest version of everything and yes, the bugs are still present. This thread contains my experience and here is another user reporting the same problem. It boils down to several little but very annoying bugs.

 

These issues bite me several times every day with SS v3, so it's very frustrating. I've now downloaded the SS v4 to see what happens but couldn't find how to autodetect the connected MCU and after selecting it manually I couldn't get it to launch a project.

 

(Actually, has anyone ever tried to do these tasks with SS v4? It took me 5 minutes after installation to find these issues.)

 


 

[About the Wireless Gecko series] We're going to clean up the website to make this more clear.

 

In the meantime, do you think you could please answer the three questions that I had about (1) Blue Gecko + RAIL, (2) the Zigbee/Thread SDKs and (3) Flex Gecko + BLE?

Posts: 8
Registered: ‎06-02-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

 

In one of the post below you mention that the new simplicity studio V4 now includes SL-Thread 1.0.6.0.

Also, in QSG135 (page 2 - software components) it now says that the EWARM compiler installation is now 'Optional' - does this mean that I will be able to compile a Thread stack example for the Might Geko ERF32MG board using the Simplicitiy studio 4 / Gnu combination?

 

Cheers

 

Michael

Posts: 22
Registered: ‎07-30-2013

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

 

First of all, thanks for running an AMA post, I really appreciate getting information like this. My question concerns BGScript. Since the SiLabs acquisition, I've seen BGScript go from good to great, but now things seem to have calmed down, or even stopped. What's the case for BGScript? I've seen it used on Maker projects, but also on more professional projects, either to prototype, or just to get an idea out fast. I've been documenting it as I can (a YouTube video series), and writing articles, but I'm worried about suggesting it to clients if you guys drop it. Please tell me you won't drop it!

Posts: 47
Registered: ‎08-13-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi ,

 

I am evaluating using WT32i for classic bluetooth. I am comparing dev kit of couple of vendors.

 

While the documentation , bluetooth profile,  and interface is very good, Bluegiga stack appears to be less known in industry. I just want to check with you if you would be able to throw some light on the same, in terms of how old and how well adopted this stack is in the industry?

 

Thanks and Regards,

 

Rahul

Posts: 7
Registered: ‎08-19-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi! I want to know if si1132 will detect the reflected UV or not? Some environments will reflect UV. I want to understand if si1132 will take care of that reflected UV or we need to take care of environmental parameter ourselves.  

 

 

Thank you!

Posts: 6
Registered: ‎04-03-2013

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel, one question regarding GCC support for the BGM111 environment. How long will it take to GCC compiler support  inside Simplicity Studio?

 

Best regards,

Ingo

Posts: 29
Registered: ‎03-22-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi
I setup wt32 as digital streaming solution with hands-free device.
I have stream music to i2s and this working good.
I like to connect microphone with amplifier to wt32.
My microphone module has only one output, wt32 have two ( positive and negative for left and right channel).
Could i connect to one ( pos or neg) input or how to connect this mic to line in and stream this signal to blue ( to caller)?
Have i use special commant to open sco for this or in default config line in was open to mic signals?
At the same time sound from caller was streaming to i2s (a2dp stops offcourse).
Regards
Posts: 122
Registered: ‎09-15-2013

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

 

I see the Pearl and Jade Geckos are now available.  When can we expect more Gemstone-series Gecko's to be released?  We've been waiting for updates to the TinyGecko and WonderGecko for a while now. 

 

Thanks,

 

Chris

Posts: 50
Registered: ‎03-13-2013

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Daniel,

I have quick suggestion/question about efm32's. I've used this series for a while and like them a lot, but there is one feature that would make life so much easier so many times. Would it be possible to have GPIO's as PRS sinks(receivers) and not just PRS sources? Using the gpio as PRS source allows you to remap almost any gpio to most peripherals, which is very handy, especially when you make a mistake Robot wink.

Having the option of using them as receivers as well would allow you to route most peripheral outputs to a gpio pin which would also be handy and much more flexible. Especially when PRS output pins are so few and fixed in nature.

Is this possible in future version of the IC's? Note this could also be the gemstone series if that's where the EFM32 are heading towards. We might migrate to those in future after we've used a few in projects.

 

Thanks,

Kent Martin.

<a href="http://community.silabs.com/t5/Welcome-and-Announcements/Community-Ranking-System-and-Recognition-Program/m-p/140490#U140490"><font color="#000000"><font size="2">Hero</font></font> </a> jmg
Posts: 1,107
Registered: ‎04-27-2004

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

[ Edited ]

Timur wrote:

 

I've now downloaded the SS v4 to see what happens but couldn't find how to autodetect the connected MCU and after selecting it manually I couldn't get it to launch a project.

 

(Actually, has anyone ever tried to do these tasks with SS v4? It took me 5 minutes after installation to find these issues.)

 


* I've run up SS v4 on EFM8 boards, and it seems much improved on the old issues around target-detect-lock-out.  So far, in V4 it always finds the target.

 

* I did find some strange Project/Debug view effects after 1st install /Launch around drilling into OMF info, but an exit re-launch I think cleared that & I've not see it since.

 

* Some defaults chosen seem different from v3

 

* Only remaining issue is after a laptop partial sleep, it spits a message

Required service "RunControl" is not available

 and requires a retry, which seems to always resolve. ie like different parts do not wake up the same, or something around the partial sleep tangles things, just a little.

 Not a show stopper, quick to resolve, & partial sleeps are not that common.

Reproducible enough that I've suggested a simple Retry button on the message window Robot wink 

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi Everyone, I had to make a short trip to Asia this week but am back now. In short order, I'll be answering the questions that have come in the past few days.

Posts: 70
Registered: ‎06-17-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@DanielCooley does Silabs plan to update the older EFM32 Gecko Series (Tiny, Giant, etc.) with some of the features from the newer ones (pearl gecko)?

e.g. 5V tolerant I/Os, RTCC, CRYOTIMER, lower overall power consumption 

 

Best regards,

Michael

Posts: 21
Registered: ‎08-02-2016

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

Hi,
We are using the EBWT12 board to implement a device(Source) supporting HDP.
So, we are reading & referencing the iWRAP_HDP_Application_Note, can succeed to communicate with Sink.
BTW, we used iWRAP command such as SET PROFILE and SET BT etc. to implement BPM source.
Should we use only iWRAP command to implement HDP source OR is there another way?
Actually, we want to implement a medication monitor(IEEE 11073-10472), can not handle utilizing iWRAP.
Can we send the various IEEE 11073 messages without iWRAP command OR iWRAP supports Medication Monitors?
Also, Why does the board disconnect to Samsung Smartphone
I connected to LG / VEGA Smartphonesuccessful. But Samsung Smartphone was not connecting.
Samsung Smartphone occur error
"NO CARRIER 0 ERROR 981a L2CAP_RESULT_PEER_ABORTED"
Tell me about reason.
Thanks.

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@michael_k good question. Yes, we will be releasing newer versions of our Gecko series next year. You'll see follow-ons to Giant, Tiny, etc. that bring the features you're looking for (5V tolerant I/O, RTCC, Cryotimer, lower dynamic current consumption, graphic accelerators, ...)

Posts: 33
Registered: ‎02-08-2014

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@rahulbansalmit thanks for your question. 

The iWRAP Bluetooth stack, which I used in the WT32i Bluetooth Audio Module, was first introduced to the market 2004 so it has been available for more than 10 years now. Since the introduction, the iWRAP Bluetooth stack and it’s been constantly developed and improved as our Bluetooth products and the core Bluetooth standard evolved. We have made a major update to the Bluetooth stack every 1 to 2 years adding new Bluetooth profiles, core specification features or application level improvements.

 

The current iWRAP stack used in the WT32i is the 6th major version of the stack and to this date we have shipped more than 10 million Bluetooth modules to the market where iWRAP Bluetooth stack is used. The applications where the stack is used range from Bluetooth speakers, headphones, aftermarket car kits to health, medical and automotive aftermarket products.

 

The iWRAP Bluetooth stack is still developed and maintained actively, even if the most Bluetooth standard development focuses on Bluetooth low energy.

Posts: 417
Registered: ‎07-13-2015

Re: I lead the Silicon Labs IoT Business. Ask Me Anything.

@DanielCooley I've got another question for you in addition to my previous ones.

 

Do you plan to release any devices based on the Cortex-M7 core? They say that it's more power efficient than than the M4, so I believe it would make sense to offer it in the EFM32 family.

 

Also just out of curiosity, have you ever considered releasing products based on Cortex-A cores, or is that out of scope for Silicon Labs?