This section provides overview, applications, and principles of evaluation boards. Also, please take a look at the list of 14 evaluation board manufacturers and their company rankings.
An evaluation board is an electronic board that contains ICs, circuits with specific functions, and input/output terminals. They are also called reference boards.
There are CPU evaluation boards by semiconductor manufacturers and microcontroller development boards (target boards) by microcontroller manufacturers.
Evaluation boards are used to check the performance of mounted ICs, circuit compatibility, hardware and software development, and other purposes. It is necessary to select an evaluation board equipped with ICs and electronic components suitable for the intended use.
The following are examples of evaluation board use:
An evaluation board is usually a single printed circuit board equipped with IC chips, communication devices, sensors, input/output terminals, and so on. There are various types of evaluation boards depending on the components mounted on them, but microcontroller evaluation boards sold by microcontroller manufacturers are widely used in general. Microcontroller evaluation boards are used to evaluate and experiment with the functions and circuit characteristics of the microcontrollers on which they are mounted.
Debugging functions include LEDs and a reset button for visual confirmation of the microcontroller status, a switch for switching operation, a sensor for measuring external information, and a 7-segment display for displaying collected data. The principle of operation is that when power is supplied, the microcontroller operates according to the program content written in the microcontroller memory. The program can be rewritten arbitrarily, and the program source code created on a PC is written into the memory area of the microcontroller using software called a writer.
Evaluation boards are mainly used by connecting them to a PC for evaluation, and most of them implement USB, RS232C, and other terminals that PCs are generally equipped with as interfaces. The power supply for the board may come with an AC adapter that can be plugged into an ordinary household 100 V outlet, or it may be a cable that connects to a power supply unit such as a regulated power supply instead of an AC adapter, with an eye to make evaluations due to voltage fluctuations.
In most cases, the evaluation PC environment uses a software package provided by the evaluation board manufacturer that is specific to that evaluation board, but in some cases, the manufacturer that delivered the evaluation board may prepare its own evaluation software.
In addition, since waveform measurement is often performed using measurement devices such as oscilloscopes and logistic analyzers, some evaluation boards have terminals for connecting such devices in advance.
A wide variety of evaluation boards are available from various semiconductor manufacturers.
A wide range of products are used for evaluation, from consumer electronics to robots and satellites.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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