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Thread: The battle between Teensy 3 vs MBED Freescale Freedom - who will win?

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    The battle between Teensy 3 vs MBED Freescale Freedom - who will win?

    MBED
    Freescale Freedom MKL25Z128VLK4
    Cost: $12.95 USD
    Kinetis 32 bit ARM Cortex M0+
    48 MHz
    Overclocking: No
    Flash: 128K
    SRAM: 16 K
    Analog In: 6
    Analog bits: 16
    Touch: NO
    PWM: 6
    SPI: 1
    Analog Out: 12 bit DAC
    Serial HW: 2
    I2C: 2
    IO: 53
    Compiler: Free - On-Line <----<<<
    Capacitive touch slider
    Accelerometer
    Tri-color LED
    Open SDA debug interface
    Mass storge device programming
    USB OTG, USB Host, USB Device
    Arduino pinout connectors

    PJRC
    Teensy 3 Freescale MK20DX128
    Cost: $19 USD
    Kinetis 32 bit ARM Cortex M4
    48 MHz
    Overclocking: Yes
    Flash: 131,072 bytes
    SRAM: 16,384 bytes
    Analog In: 12
    Analog bits: 16
    Touch: Yes 12
    PWM: 10
    SPI: 1
    Analog Out: 0
    Serial HW: 3
    I2C: 1
    I/O: 34
    Compiler: Free - Off-Line (Arduino IDE)
    Teensy bootloader programming
    USB Device


    Ref links:
    http://mbed.org/handbook/mbed-FRDM-KL25Z
    http://www.pjrc.com/teensy/

    Notes: Both Freescale processors are different! The comparison is made because Freescale provides both microcontrollers.
    Both PJRC and MBED provided different unique methods in hardware and software development.
    Both modules or boards have different form factors. One is a ARM stamp (Teensy 3) and the other is a PCB board (Freedom).




    My wager is on PJRC
    Last edited by t3andy; 03-04-2013 at 02:51 AM. Reason: clarification

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Looks like the Freescale one is BIG. So, Teensy wins for anything that needs tiny.

    Freescale 52.5 by 80mm.

    Teensy-3 19mm by 35mm.
    Last edited by Russ; 03-04-2013 at 03:09 AM.

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    Senior Member Wozzy's Avatar
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    Not everything Important is given in the Specs.

    Teensy 3.0
    Supported by Paul: YES

    MBED:
    Supported by Paul: NO (but he would probably help you if you asked)

    My money is on Teensy 3.0...and anxiously awaiting 3.0++

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    Looks like the Freescale one is BIG
    An ARM microcontroller provides massive amount of GPIO in a given area. So size, in this
    comparison, is a moot point. You still have to connect to the microcontroller someway unless you
    are going to use the Teensy 3 on a breadboard for life. The MBED Freedom provided headers and the
    Teensy provided pins for GPIO connections.

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    My money is on Teensy 3.0...and anxiously awaiting 3.0++
    Quote from MBED ...
    We'll be introducing additional mbed-enabled development platforms from Freescale (and others) in 2013.

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    Senior Member MichaelMeissner's Avatar
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    I dunno, you seem to have binary thinking, that there must be only one winner. I tend to think it is a healthy ecosystem when you have several players, each with products that have pluses and minuses. I happen to currently drive a Honda, and my wife a Ford. I've had Toyotas and other Fords in the past, and my father had VW's when I was growing up. There are various reasons to buy one model of car from a maker over another, and the same goes for microprocessor and small computer development systems.

    As an example, I have both an Arduino Uno R3 and Teensy 3.0's that I go back and forth between. Each has advantages, and sometimes I go with the Arduino and sometimes the Teensy for the one off things I do. I even take some sketches developed on one and I run it on the other.

    When I was first looking around, I glanced at mbed, and I disliked their internet development system, and I haven't gotten past that to order a board. Back when they were one of the few board vendors for hobbyist setups with Arm cpus, I would think about them from time to time, but even without thinking about the development system, I thought they were overpriced.. Now that the Teeny 3.0/Arduino Due are out in the embedded space, the Raspberry Pi/pcDunio in the small computer space are out, mbed doesn't have much of a value add for me. Obviously there are other people that think they are great, and that's fine.
    Last edited by MichaelMeissner; 03-04-2013 at 01:58 PM.

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    Compiler: Free - On-Line <----<<<
    I disliked their internet development system
    The devil is in the details

    BTW ...
    you seem to have binary thinking
    I can only count to one. Funny, my siblings also complain that I only answer in yes / no or true / false. Its binary.
    Last edited by t3andy; 03-04-2013 at 02:45 PM.

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    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    I agree with MichaelMeissner. Microcontrollers, and especially microcontroller dev boards have never been a "winner takes all" type market.

    Over the next year, I'm going to be releasing a lot of nice features on Teensy 3.0 (the recent LED library is just one sign of the things to come). MBED, Arduino, Microchip, TI & maybe even ST almost certainly will publish lots of nice stuff too.

    For hobbyists and entrepreneurs building electronic projects, things are only going to get better and better... a LOT better!

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    I was only pointing out that by looking at the Freescale Freedom many would say "WOW look at the price and what I am receiving for only $13" But, by very close inspection of the MBED "online only" development system, there are many gotchas.
    Also, the quality and ease of use of development software, which the Teensy 3 provides (thanks to Paul Stoffregen) will dictate the winners from the losers.
    Last edited by t3andy; 03-04-2013 at 06:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by t3andy View Post
    An ARM microcontroller provides massive amount of GPIO in a given area. So size, in this
    comparison, is a moot point. You still have to connect to the microcontroller someway unless you
    are going to use the Teensy 3 on a breadboard for life. The MBED Freedom provided headers and the
    Teensy provided pins for GPIO connections.
    Okey doke. I was only saying that when you want to do something tiny the Teensy wins In my case I needed a choice that at 3/4 inch or smaller that could be embedded in the project.

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    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Yes, the $13 price is pretty amazing. I suspect it's a loss-leader product. Certainly no 3rd party like PJRC could make and sell that board at $13 (not to mention funding software development) while buying Freescale's chip at their regular pricing.

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    I suspect it's a loss-leader product
    Just like the TI Launchpad for the MSP430 and the Stellaris ARM. They figure many will bite and buy their boards only to
    find out that their software is extremely hard to use.

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    Talking of interesting microcontroller products, this looks pretty cool:

    http://freesoc.net/

    I find the programmable peripheral and on-chip analogue capabilities of the Cypress stuff intriguing. Shame it's a bit pricey.

    Won't be replacing Teensy 3 for general purposes for me, though. I think it offers the best all-round capabilities and price, and isn't ridiculously big.

    - Peter

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    good find ... but I am going to win the lottery one day! This thread is about low cost Freescale microcontrollers that you can purchase now as we speak. Your link is "vaporware" until the "pre-orders" are shipped. They haven't sold or shipped any yet and now they are discounting the product by 25% ?
    Last edited by t3andy; 03-05-2013 at 01:27 PM.

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    Sure they have. The kickstarter orders have shipped, or are in the process of shipping. Still on pre-order for follow up orders, though, until they clear.

    Why are you only considering freescale company products? There are plenty of good ARM core chips out there.

    - Peter

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulStoffregen View Post
    Yes, the $13 price is pretty amazing. I suspect it's a loss-leader product. Certainly no 3rd party like PJRC could make and sell that board at $13 (not to mention funding software development) while buying Freescale's chip at their regular pricing.
    If a price difference of $6 per board is determining which DEVELOPMENT board to to use, it is time for a different hobby or better business idea. :-)
    From a hobby perspective i am very happy with the Arduino IDE and the fact that there is so much code and libraries available to borrow from.
    From a business perspective - in a small scale niche product, $6 shouldn't make a difference and in a large scale you probably end up with your own PCB anyway.

    btw: show me any other $19 product where you get the level of FREE support and dedication you get with T3. I have certainly never seen anything like it.

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    Why are you only considering freescale company products? There are plenty of good ARM core chips out there.
    Because both MBED and PJRC provide a quick easy to use ARM development. Of course, I could go the "bare metal" route and use CooCox Eclipse but they don't provide the already completed and tested libraries because their compiler does not support C++.
    Time is money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CheapB View Post
    show me any other $19 product where you get the level of FREE support and dedication you get with T3. I have certainly never seen anything like it.
    Absolutely.

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    btw: show me any other $19 product where you get the level of FREE support and dedication you get with T3. I have certainly never seen anything like it.
    Case close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by t3andy View Post
    Because both MBED and PJRC provide a quick easy to use ARM development. Of course, I could go the "bare metal" route and use CooCox Eclipse but they don't provide the already completed and tested libraries because their compiler does not support C++.
    Time is money.
    Sure. But that's simply not true of the Cypress stuff anyway. Free C++ compiler provided, free libraries provided, etc.

    Anyway, the last thing I'm trying to do is argue against Teensy 3... it is still my system of choice.

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    Cypress ARM cost is very prohibitive - too rich for my wallet.

    btw ...it's funny seeing the Penquins coming to shore among spectators in SA.

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    I presume there is a reason that Massimo called me out in the Arduino forums when I presented why I switched to the Teensy instead of the Due for my ongoing projects...

    The Teensy 3.0 and its Teensy cousins are simply amazing boards, packing 5lb into a 1lb bag. Perfect for breadboards, and perfect for my applications, developing shields for specific uses and then being able to transfer the Teensy as needed from shield to shield. Overall, I expect to save money using this approach. Are there some Teensy pin layout features that I may have implemented differently? With the benefit of hindsight, perhaps, but more than anything, the Teensy 3.0 board shows a dedication getting things right, based on years of experience.

    That said, it would be great if Paul could sell a pre-assembled version of the Teensy, with all pin holes and SMD pads connected. As much as it pains me to solder the RTC crystal (boy those leads are thin) I like that the crystal is not pre-installed as it gives me the choice to use whatever crystal I want. However, I feel that headers are more generic, especially if all the pin lengths and so on are similar. Just a thought and certainly not a game changer.

    As for the other platforms, I'm sure they have many amazing features that are powerful, etc. "Trouble" is that the Arduino community not only has developed a boatload of code, they also make it freely available. ON top of that, the support here and there is amazing and represents a very high switching cost. Thanks but no thanks, I am sticking to Teensy and AVR...

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    "Trouble" is that the Arduino community not only has developed a boatload of code, they also make it freely available.
    bar none ... software is the key and Paul Stoffregen has succeeded where many others have failed. Remember the Arduino compatible "Maple" (STM ARM) by the MIT geniuses?

    BTW ... I have only one issue with PJRC. What would happen if Paul takes a dive skiing at the Three Sisters in Oregon and there is no one
    to fill in for him? Filling in for superman will take some time.
    Last edited by t3andy; 03-06-2013 at 08:19 PM.

  24. #24
    Yeah, the STM32 dev boards, when not completely free, were like $11-$16 each.. Same deal as this new board.. It's a limitted time offer for their dev board. 3 years from now, you won't be able to get them, certainly not at this kind of intro price. Whereas, the Teensy's seem to have done nothing but go down in cost as the years have gone by.
    And much of the reason why my STM32 boards never got used, they won't run Arduino code. Teensy does.

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    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    I remember that thread where Massimo asked for less Teensy talk. My guess is he would probably handle that situation differently now.

    At the time, the Arduino Due had been released for only a matter of days.... and after a very long development cycle. I can tell you from experience there's a lot of anxiety when releasing a new product and in its early days after release. You've just invested a tremendous amount of time and usually a lot of money developing something. That first manufacturing run is nerve wracking. Later it's easy, when you have a well established sales history, but when you launch a new product, you really have no idea if it's sell, yet you have to pour money into inventory... on the heals of pouring time and money into development. Of course, you're optimistic, and you're probably feeling like the product is awesome, but at the same time you're nervous.

    There is a huge emotional investment. Anyone can probably understand this on an intellectual level, but actually experiencing is really something unique, especially when it's your own company and you are personally and financially invested.

    I can tell you I haven't always handled this well. At a former employer, there was one incident where I didn't respond very well to a technician who was critical about a new product I'd designed, which was just going into production. He was the sort of person who's always grumpy about everything anyway.... but he'd made some negative comments to the sales people, who of course are highly impressionable. Normally sales people trust the opinions they hear from customers, but with a new product they don't have any customer feedback yet. How well they sell something really depends on their level of enthusiasm.... and this technician's comments had them coming to me and others in engineering and even upper management asking critical questions. I was absolutely furious. I said things that, well, I don't really regret, but in hindsight I could have handled the situation much more gracefully. In the end, the product did extremely well, but after a slow start (likely due to other factors). When I left the company a few years later, it was still selling very well and commanding a large profit margin (unlike many of their other products which had aggressive price pressure from competitors). I talked with someone a few months ago who still works there, and apparently it's still selling very well.

    So anyway, my long-winded point is I can really understand Massimo's position. Those first weeks when a high volume product is released are a wonderful but anxious time, where it's really easy to become defensive. Massimo and the other Arduino people have done a really great job on building a wonderful platform.... so good that it's easy for us to have extremely high expectations. They're humans just like the rest of us.
    Last edited by PaulStoffregen; 03-06-2013 at 09:27 PM.

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