STM32 programming options the easy way

Every time you start with new microcontroller, you have to deal with new ways of programming them. You may need to purchase and learn new tools and so on. But once you’ve done this process with any microcontroller, learning new is easy. So if you are in to STM32 microcontrollers Shawon have written pretty god guide on programming them.

flashing_stm32

Since ARM Cortex micrcontrollers are flexible devices in terms of developing, debugging and flashing, you have several options of getting your code up and running. Like most manufacturers do, ST devices can be programmed and debugged with special ST-link adapter/debugger which works in JTAG or in SWD mode. Most development boards like discovery already have ST-link debugger integrated so the only thing is needed to run software and load your code. Other covered option is using built in bootloader which can be accessed through serial interface. ST have special software Flash Loader Demonstrator for programming in this mode. When programing with bootloader, special pins have to be pulled up or low in order to access it. This resource is great to start with and then you can dig deeper during development process.

ARM Cortex-M0 development board with battery power in mind

There are tons of ARM development boards that are various sizes shapes and power. But when things turn towards battery operated gear, the lists shrinks down. We expect battery operated and portable electronics part to be small size and include all battery management circuit along with charging and DC/DC conversion. Vsergeev introduces his version of small ARM Cortex-M0 powered board.

arm_cortex_m0_baord_with_battery

He wanted his board to be small size, battery operated (USB as well) and be low price. The board size came out to be 70x43mm, it carries NXP LPC1114FDH28 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller. Additionally there is a 16-Mbit SPI FLASH memory. As mentioned before, board canbe powered from USB (Mini-B) or LiPo battery. Battery can be charged with onboard LiPo charger IC (MCP73831T). There are 4 LEDs on board along with two push buttons and 2 DIP switches. For more IO capability there is also an I2C 8 additional I/O pins expander. So there is total 16 I/Os on header, SWD for flashing and debug and 6 pin UART header that matches popular FTDI adapters for USB to serial feature. Project files are open and accessible on GIT.

Redesigning mobile phone with rotary dial

Rotary dials are long gone since everything went digital. Now every device is equipped with keys or touch sensitive input interfaces. But if you feel a little nostalgic about old times you may find this project really interesting. This is a custom made mobile phone with rotary dial for input. We already know that building mobile phone isn’t that hard when you already have GSM modules around. All you need it so hook everything to microcontroller and LCD and you are up to go.

jaromir instead of adding buttons or touch sensitive LCD went with simpler but yet interesting solution – a rotary dial. The phone is controlled with 8-pin DIP NXP LPC810 ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller. He had to squeeze everything to fit 6 IO pins. Shift register solves a lot here. No matter if it looks cool, making calls, entering PIN numbers can be real pain, but it works. As a phone it has huge enclosure due to large rotary dial size. You will definitely amaze your mates when taking calls. More pictures of it at Picasa.

How much should ARM development board cost?

It is no surprise that ARM microcontrollers become number one choice in many areas. One thing is that in many ways 32-bit ARM can be cheaper that other micros like AVR or PIC. Smaller price and better performance makes decision even easier. Developing tools also evolved in to user friendly solutions. You can see many ARM Cortex development boards made by different manufacturers for about $10. But are there really cheap ones that would have all necessary means to start developing projects? By means a have in mind, basic circuitry to keep chip running, programming and debugging interface and so on.

Cypress_arm_dev_board

It appears that Development board can go as low as $4. Cypress Semiconductor offers Cy8CKIT-049-41XX development board that has 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller running at 48MHz. Board comes with USB to serial bridge part which can be easily snapped of when deployed. Board also comes with CapSense interface, user LED, push button and all GPIO pin connectors.