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Topic: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression (Read 46709 times) previous topic - next topic

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #30
[quote author="tayken"]
[...] there is no cheap solution for expansion that I saw, Microchip's expansion board costs 72$ which is exactly the same price as the starter kit itself!
[/quote]

There is this open hardware PIC32 board called CUI32 (CREATE USB Interface) [1] which I like a lot [2].  Sparkfun sells them for $39.95 [3].  I built two of them myself [4][5] for a lot less using a top-of-the-line PIC32MX795F512H [4] instead of the stock PIC32MX440F512H.  Anyway, the board has all pins of the chip available on headers, so no separate expansion board is needed.  It can also act as USB device [6] or host [7].  It ships with a USB bootloader [8], so no PICkit 3 is required, although I find it invalue for step debugging :)  It even has a version of StickOS BASIC [9] included which is an amazing piece of software on its own.  And I think it now has the forum post with the most references ;)

Maybe you want to take a look,
Markus

[1] http://code.google.com/p/cui32/
[2] http://overtone-labs.ning.com/profiles/ ... r-firmware
[3] http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/produc ... ts_id=9645
[4] http://overtone-labs.ning.com/forum/top ... ent%3A1805
[5] http://overtone-labs.ning.com/forum/top ... ent%3A1975
[6] http://overtone-labs.ning.com/profiles/ ... -soundcard
[7] http://overtone-labs.ning.com/forum/top ... ct-for-usb
[8] http://code.google.com/p/cui32/source/b ... %20Devices
[9] http://www.cpustick.com/stickos.htm

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #31
The actual PIC32MX "equivalent" to the STM32VLDISCOVERY board would be the UBW32 (32 bit PIC32 based USB Bit Whacker), an open source design by Brian Schmalz. All I/O pins are brought out to headers and it actually fits on a (full-size) bread board because it's less wide than the DISCOVERY and the CUI32... but it shares one issue with the DISCOVERY, the header on the small side opposite the USB connector that can't be populated on the bottom side if you want to use it on breadbords ... anyway it's a minor issue.

The UBW32 ships with a bootloader and StickOS is available for it, too. Like the CUI32 you can buy the UBW32 from SparkFun and some of their distributors for the same price as the CUI32, US$ 39.95 or more than 4 times the price of a STM32VLDISCOVERY.

With the CUI32 and the UBW32 there are some real PIC32MX (MIPS4k) alternatives to the ARM Cortex-M3 based phalanx of boards out there ... if you can live without the onboard (proprietary) debuggers you get with the STM32VLDISCOVERY and the LPCXpresso boards.

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #32
[quote author="arhi"] .. the concept of "turn the bus on, use the bus, turn the bus off" has not yet settled with me... [/quote]are you sure it isn't "configure the MCU for external bus, use the bus, never turn it off" ???

In my experience, such libraries require an initialization because the, e.g., external bus is not always wired up on every board, and thus the peripheral settings need to be configured properly before the bus can be used.  Also, they all seem to have a "close" but I never call it because my firmware always loops forever.  There is no end of program or back to the command line on an embedded processor, yet they still have the uninitialize companion, just in case.

My apologies if I'm way off base, since I'm actually talking about other processor libraries (TMS320).  I have not studied ARM yet.  I just wanted to mention that perhaps you're not supposed to turn the bus on and off bracketing every access, but instead are just supposed to turn it on if your board wiring supports it and then leave it on.  I'd be curious to know if it's actually different from that.

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #33
@Marcus: I know that board, if I didn't win this starter kit, I might have bought it. The problem is, my microprocessor course profesor was planing to use the low end starter kit (49.99$) but decided not to as the commercial expansion board was a bit expensive (72$) and he was sick of designing boards for class. But I might use the links you posted, cause I just wrote a review and re-packed it. If I can source the connector and design a board, I am planning to use it again.

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #34
rsdio, no idea, just few weeks in .. but anyhow no need to turn bus on/off on every access but turning bus off when you don't need it any more is saving power ...

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #35
[quote author="arhi"]
rsdio, no idea, just few weeks in .. but anyhow no need to turn bus on/off on every access but turning bus off when you don't need it any more is saving power ...[/quote]Ah, yes, if the bus has RAM refresh, bus keeper circuits, or other activity when not directly in use.

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #36
[s:]trying to open discovery examples for truestudio but have no idea how ?! anyone able to give a hint? .. MDK and IAR work ok but inside trueSTUDIO there's no "open project" and copying files into workspace, changing workspace, importing project - nothing worked :( ... I know I'm not a windoze user but it should be simple :D[/s:]

solved: http://www.st.com/stonline/products/lit ... /17878.pdf

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #37
Hi,

I was just browsing around reading about NXP's ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller.  They have a nice evaluation board called LPCXpresso [1] for 20€ [2].  Then I came across a blog by a guy named 'Rossum', and the stuff he does is quite amazing.  For example a "game console" [3] using the Cortex-M0 variant of the development stick, or a Wikipedia reader [4].  Also check out his older AVR projects [5][6].  Amazing.

Markus

[1] http://ics.nxp.com/lpcxpresso/
[2] http://www.embeddedartists.com/products ... 68_xpr.php
[3] http://rossum.posterous.com/20131601
[4] http://rossum.posterous.com/wikipedia-h ... -cortex-m0
[5] http://rossum.posterous.com/teeny-avr-m ... anotouch-0
[6] http://rossum.posterous.com/avr-homebre ... spirations

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #38
@arhi: looks like you found the essential document for Atollic TrueSTUDIO® - here are the three essential documents for using TrueSTUDIO® for development with STM32VLDISCOVERY:

- STM32VLDISCOVERY firmware package - explains the structure of the STM32 standard peripherals library structure and the code examples for the STM32VLDISCOVERY (plus firmware/library code package)
- Developing your STM32VLDISCOVERY application using the Atollic TrueSTUDIO® software - the document you already found
- Atollic TrueSTUDIO® STM32 Quickstart Guide - available from the Atollic TrueSTUDIO®/STM32 download page.

@Markus: Agreed, the LPCXpresso boards/modules are really versatile and well supported evaluation platforms. They have an on-board JTAG debug interface (based on an LPC3154) you can actually seperate from the MCU part of the boards and use them as a stand-alone debug interface. The LPCXpresso boards are supported by the Code Red Toolchain - the limited but sufficient version (for the LPC1343 based board) is free. Featurewise the available LPCXpresso modules do not compare directly with the STM32VLDISCOVERY (the LPC1114 has far less memory/flash and the LPC1343 and LPC1768 have far more features/on-board peripherals than the STM32F100) but the concepts are very similar and the best documented and supported and affordable entry points into the Cortex-M3 world.

We have used the LPCXpresso LPC1343 board as a starting point for a project and were surprised how easy and simple it was to get the project up and running.

LPCXpresso boards are available from Farnell, Digi-Key and Future Electronics at a little higher price than from Embedded Artists as well (for those who want to save on shipping cost).

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #39
@IPenguin thanks a bunch, I found the other two document immediately but was struggling to find the "Developing your STM32VLDISCOVERY application using the Atollic TrueSTUDIO® software" .. I always hated the eclipse's lack of "project file" and .metafile collections in workspace .. but wth .. one do have to get used to some things ... I'm running atolic now inside virtualbox as I was unable to make the st-link work under linux (wine or no wine) so I moved to vbox and xp so now st-link works and truestudio works pretty good ..

thanks again for help

p.s. man how much cm3 differs from 16bit pic/avr world :D .. this will keep me busy for quite some time :D

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #40
Good to hear that you got it all working inside vbox.

Now you may want to check out the stand-alone STM32 ST-Link Utility - here you get the STM32 ST-Link Utility package ;)

There are some interesting low-cost STM32F boards if you want to extend into features like USB 2.0 and others not available on the STM32F100:

- ITead Studio STM32 Development Platform : IFLAT-32 - real neat design with the various expansion headers for XBee and Arduino shields among others ... for US$ 27 you won't get more flexibilty
- Futurlec STM32F103 Development Board - for US$ 39.90 a solid board with all pins on headers and lots of extras
- Futurlec ET-STM32 Stamp Module - with 48 I/Os available (including USB 2.0 on the headers) for $ 24.90
- ITead STM32F103RB The Smallest System Dev Board (PCB only!!!) for $ 3!!! RS232, USB2.0 and 20-pin JTAG connector and all pins on 2 headers!!! For $ 15 you get a full STM32F103 development platform so you have to assemble it yourself.

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first impression

Reply #41
I tried stand alone ST-Ling on linux but was unable to make it run (it works ok on xp inside vbox). I already have http://www.futurlec.com/STM32_Development_Board.shtml :) but I want to try to do some things on the discovery board first :).

I also ordered http://olimex.com/dev/arm-usb-ocd.html (should arrive when I return from vacation that I'm going on in few hours :D )

Re: Low cost STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board - a first imp

Reply #42
Hi,

I made a list of all the toolchain options for STM32VLDISCOVERY that I'm aware of.
See it here: http://embeddednewbie.blogspot.com/2011 ... overy.html

Hope it's of any help!