As for many new starters with Cypress Semi, I didn’t really know the major differences between PRoC and PSoC 4 BLE. In fact I didn’t even realise there was a difference. Yes there is. Luckily enough it is very simple!
Cypress PRoC vs PSoC 4 BLE
Cypress’ PRoC (Programable Radio On Chip) can be seen as a subset of PSoC 4 BLE (Programable System On Chip). They have a similar core but PSoC offers a lot more analog blocks than PRoC. In fact PRoC provides only very basic analog blocks; There is no UDB, OpAmps nor Comparator. A simple comparison table can be seen on their Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Connectivity Solutions Overview. As an ex-Silicon Company Employee I would immediately think that the chips have actually the same DIE, but this is unlikely, because the ADCs are very different: SAR-ADC for PRoC vs Sigma Delta on PSoC 4 BLE.
Why I use PRoC?
I started a development with PSoC 4 BLE and as it turned out the IoT device doesn’t need much analog part. In this case there’s a great price benefit to move to a PRoC module. These totally certified Bluetooth 4.x modules are some of the cheapest on the market in 2016 – 2017. What I really liked is that this ARM®-based chips have been around since 2015. This means it’s up and running, no Beta testing surprises. There’s also a community that can assist should you need it! I’ll go more deeply into my thought in a later post about my choice of Cypress and if this was a good plan or not.
Thoughts for some hack
It might be nice to point out that PRoC still has an SAR-ADC and a Capacitive Delta Sigma (CDS) block. The SAR-ADC has a 1Kohm equivalent serial resitor so might not be the best out there. However, could this CDS be hacked for fast analog acquisitions? I would think so, as long as you switch off all the auto-tune mechanism. It is essentially an excellent SNR ADC. To be explored!