Cypress’ Maker of the Month: Juan Esteban Paz

Posted on November 29, 2016 by Samer Bahou

The Maker of the Month series recognizes unique projects created by the maker community. At Cypress, we are committed to helping our customers (international OEMs and makers alike) bring their innovations to life with our easy-to-use software tools and programmable solutions. For more information about Cypress’ maker community involvement, check out the rest of our Maker of the Month series and our efforts to empower up-and-coming engineers via the Cypress University Alliance (CUA).

Read the Q&A with Cypress’ Maker of the Month, Juan Esteban Paz. Juan Esteban is a mechanical and electrical engineer at Columbec del Ecuador and has created multiple projects using Cypress technology.

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Please provide some background about yourself and your work at Columbec del Ecuador.

I am a mechanical and electrical engineer at Columbec del Ecuador. I really enjoy working in mechanical and machine design and last year I received the first Certified SolidWorks Expert certificate in my country, Ecuador. I have been working with PSoC© for about four years now and since I started learning about it, every project encourages me to do more and more.

My job at Columbec de Ecuador is solving industrial problems. Most of the time, the problems are solved with sets of machinery that are required to be appropriately sized to each customer. These machines can range from sandblasting, painting, manufacturing machinery, pumping systems, etc. to complete manufacturing lines. Our clients range from automotive assembly factories to pharmaceutical plants, infrastructure companies to the military and firemen needing emergency response equipment. There have been some customer product requirements that needed to be custom made because of size, budget and application. Because of that, I had the opportunity to develop some low-cost industrial applications with PSoC.

Can you explain an experience using PSoC?

The most complete application I have developed with PSoC is a high viscosity liquid filler for a cosmetic manufacturing plant. The challenge was that each container had to be filled by a weight control because the product had bubbles. The filling process works in pairs so it has to simultaneously measure each container being filled until it is filled with the required quantity. Then each valve is closed independently and the two containers must enter the filling plates.

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You have quite a few projects on Hackster using PSoC, can you tell us more about your projects using Cypress technology?

When I started learning about PSoC, I decided to make some very simple examples that would help in the development of hobby level/industrial PSoC applications such as DC motor control, LCD interfaces, etc.

One of my favorite projects on my Hackster profile is the PSoC digital signals demo.

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It is an interesting example of a hardware only application (no code) that works for high-speed requirements. In this example, there are four inputs and depending on the combination of these inputs, a different LED pattern is generated, breathing light, pulsing or so on. You can watch the demo here.

You recently uploaded a project, “Robotic Ball and Beam Part 1 Sensors and Hardware,” can you tell us about that project and how you got the idea?

The ball and beam project was a personal challenge for me. Since the whole system is very unstable—if the motor is powered, the beam can in theory start spinning indefinitely; if the ball moves from the balance state, it starts rolling until it falls—the challenge here is to make the system balance the ball automatically on the desired position.

I started working on this project while I was taking a control systems class at a university. Because we ran out of time, we didn’t manage to get it working on the physical prototype. After that, I have been dedicating time to update it every time I learn something new or find something relevant.

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How did Cypress’ technology help execute your projects, and what are the benefits you’ve seen with using these technologies?

I started working with PLCs when I was participating in an extension program in industrial automation. The easy programming in ladder architecture of PLCs might be easy to design from scratch, but modifying a PLC program takes a lot of time and debugging; the same can be said about Arduino. After using PSoC, I can’t find an easier way to develop electronic applications. The hardware blocks reduce a lot of programming and configuring, and the pin assignment makes it very easy to make custom applications.

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I also liked that PSoC is capable of handling tasks in parallel. All the digital blocks can run independently of the user program/firmware and all the analog blocks can also be independent from the code, so the program can be very efficient. It is not reading or updating values on every program cycle, but only when needed or when interruptions are triggered. This allows the device to have a very fast response time.

I have accidentally shorted PSoC a few times and it didn’t break since it is very rugged. Another very strong point for PSoC is that in most cases the requirement for extra ICs or discrete devices is reduced compared to other devices. This results in wider possibilities of configuration and simplified PCBs, resulting in a lower cost system.

"PSoC Creator is a very comfortable programming software; you can design simple devices or some very advanced and complicated programs in the same environment. The schematic design is helpful as a visual guide of the system." 

Are you working on any other projects that use Cypress’ technology?

I am currently working on a new project involving a user interface with CapSense© gesture recognition, A/C motor position control with VFD and a few DC solenoids. Unfortunately at this point, I can’t discuss much of it, but this device will have a human machine interface with CapSense, and we are looking forward to begin testing on it.

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For questions or more information, you can reach out to Juan Esteban at the following platforms:

Thanks again to Juan Esteban Paz for participating in our Maker of the Month program. If you would like to be considered for our next Maker of the Month profile, please email us and share a brief description of what project(s) you have made using Cypress’ technology.

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