Author Topic: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3  (Read 3753 times)

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Offline AlxDroidDev

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Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« on: October 28, 2015, 06:36:20 am »
I was given a Silabs Cortex M3 chips by a friend. I am new to the while ARM Cortex eco-system, and I was wondering how different it is developing for the Silabs M3 from developing for other ARM uCs.

I bought a ST-LINK V2 clone from DealExtreme, and I was also wondering if it can be used to program the Silabs chip or if it is exclusive for STM32 chips.

All I got was the chip. No boards, no nothing. Just a brand new SIM3U167-B-GQ, in TQFP-80. I am planning on soldering it to a board like this to get started and learn from there. I have no idea, however, what is the minimum circuitry I need to have it working on a breadboard. I understand I don't need an external crystal to have it working at 80Mhz, nor a USB-to-UART dedicated chip. Is that correct?

I can breadboard an AVR with my eyes closed, but I am really in the dark with this M3.
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Offline Brutte

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2015, 06:34:17 pm »
You need an eval board to start with it. But even before that you need to RTFM (ARM Architectire Reference Manual of your core, at least). Download uVision and play with it while RTFM (it comes with simulator, debugging is 32k limited).
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2015, 05:25:52 am »
I was given a Silabs Cortex M3 chips by a friend. I am new to the while ARM Cortex eco-system, and I was wondering how different it is developing for the Silabs M3 from developing for other ARM uCs.

I bought a ST-LINK V2 clone from DealExtreme, and I was also wondering if it can be used to program the Silabs chip or if it is exclusive for STM32 chips.

All I got was the chip. No boards, no nothing. Just a brand new SIM3U167-B-GQ, in TQFP-80. I am planning on soldering it to a board like this to get started and learn from there. I have no idea, however, what is the minimum circuitry I need to have it working on a breadboard. I understand I don't need an external crystal to have it working at 80Mhz, nor a USB-to-UART dedicated chip. Is that correct?

I can breadboard an AVR with my eyes closed, but I am really in the dark with this M3.

Head on over to http://www.silabs.com/

Download the Precision32 software tools: http://www.silabs.com/products/mcu/Pages/32-bit-mcu-software.aspx

Get a board from SiLabs, too.
 

Offline AlxDroidDev

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2015, 12:31:52 pm »
Thank you Brutte and Bassman59.

I did do a lot of RTFM, but perhaps I chose the wrong manuals.

The ARM-v7 (that applies to the Cortex M3) Architecture Reference Manual seems to be a bit of an overkill:

From http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.subset.architecture.reference/index.html
Quote
This manual has been written for engineers implementing ARM processors, porting operating systems, or writing development tools, who require detailed information on the ARMv7-M architecture.

I was looking for a more "quick-and-dirty" approach, just to get started, like the "Arduino on a breadboard" thing. I am downloading Precision32 right now and I am also giving mbed.org a shot.
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Offline Brutte

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2015, 06:48:12 pm »
The ARM-v7 (that applies to the Cortex M3) Architecture Reference Manual seems to be a bit of an overkill
From http://infocenter.arm.com/help/index.jsp?topic=/com.arm.doc.subset.architecture.reference/index.html
Quote
This manual has been written for engineers implementing ARM processors, porting operating systems, or writing development tools, who require detailed information on the ARMv7-M architecture.
Yes, that is the document. There is also Technical Reference Manual which is a ~glossary of Architecture Reference Manual plus op-codes details. I do not recommend TRM as you won't understand how this uC works from that and (at least in my case) have to read Architecture Reference Manual anyway.

Quote
I was looking for a more "quick-and-dirty" approach, just to get started
Yes, that is caled "slow-and-painful" route. Then just avoid above documents and you cannot do any "better" than that. You could start from the datasheet and manual of your uC then (search Silabs site).

BTW neither Precision32 nor mBed include a simulator.
 

Offline westfw

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2015, 02:44:03 am »
I've seen "minimal" ("ghetto") ARM development posts for some of the NXP chips, and for some of the ST chips, but nothing for the SiLabs chips.   (How can we possibly resist a thread about "Ghetto Geckos"?)  (Although, the chip you have is not one of the "Gecko" chips.)
 

Offline AlxDroidDev

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2015, 10:31:27 am »
I've seen "minimal" ("ghetto") ARM development posts for some of the NXP chips, and for some of the ST chips, but nothing for the SiLabs chips.   (How can we possibly resist a thread about "Ghetto Geckos"?)  (Although, the chip you have is not one of the "Gecko" chips.)

NXP has made breadboarding ARM a breeze, with the DIP LCP1114 (Cortex -M0). They saw an opportunity in the hobbist market, and now they have something nobody else (AFAIK) has: a DIP ARM chip. They even got free advertisement on a few Hackaday posts, and many other sites.

For the past few days I've been done a lot of reading on the subject and it's extremely rare to see a mention of SiLabs'  ARM chips. I wonder why that is. There's lots of talks about ST, NXP, Atmel and a few others, but SiLabs seems to be almost invisible. The funny thing is that its chip is one of the fastest and with more features there is in its price range.
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Offline westfw

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2015, 03:03:34 pm »
Quote
I wonder why that is.
SiLabs got most of their ARM chips by acquiring "Energy Micro", relatively recently.  You might have better luck searching under that company name, or for "EFM32."
OTOH, I don't remember seeing a lot of discussion in hobbyist circles about them, either.
OTTH, Hobbyist ARM info in general is pretty scarce and recent.  Yeah, there have been a couple hack-a-day articles and a discussion or two here, but they haven't really "caught on" the way PICs or AVRs did...
 

Offline Brutte

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2015, 07:01:07 pm »
NXP has made breadboarding ARM a breeze, () and now they have something nobody else (AFAIK) has: a DIP ARM chip.
Here you go, my ARM in DIP. Not the cheapest (10$) but does the job.
Quote
The funny thing is that its chip is one of the fastest and with more features there is in its price range.
It is around 8eur in quantity of 10 pieces, with 256kB of flash and 32k of SRAM. Not sure how they want to compete with other vendors.
 

Offline AlxDroidDev

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2015, 10:23:48 pm »
Here you go, my ARM in DIP. Not the cheapest (10$) but does the job.

Not fair, man!  Besides, I can't get one of those around here for less than US$ 80... if we can find one.
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Offline Brutte

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2015, 11:22:58 pm »
Not fair, man!  Besides, I can't get one of those around here for less than US$ 80... if we can find one.
Don't you have eBay in Brasil?
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I bought a ST-LINK V2 clone from DealExtreme, and I was also wondering
Luckily you are within DX range.

Cannot wait for your next excuse.
 

Offline Throy

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2015, 12:21:46 am »
Unless I'm missing something here, that discovery board from ST doesn't have a STM32 in a DIP package, but rather a LQFP64.

Quote
STM32L152RBT6 (128 KB Flash memory, 16 KB RAM, 4 KB EEPROM) or STM32L152RCT6 (256 KB Flash memory, 32 KB RAM, 8 KB EEPROM) microcontroller in an LQFP64 package
 

Offline Bassman59

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2015, 03:55:40 am »
Quote
I wonder why that is.
SiLabs got most of their ARM chips by acquiring "Energy Micro", relatively recently.  You might have better luck searching under that company name, or for "EFM32."

They had the Precision32 devices in production before they acquired Energy. The Precision devices are faster and quite capable. Why SiLabs seems to have pushed them into the background is a mystery.

Quote
OTOH, I don't remember seeing a lot of discussion in hobbyist circles about them, either.

We use them professionally, and I know a bunch of other guys who are all SiLabs 8051 fans and have designed them into products. Naturally, the first choice of vendor is one with which you are familiar, so when SiLabs introduced the Precision32 ARMs, naturally we looked there first, and we use them.
 

Offline AlxDroidDev

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Re: Help getting started with SiLabs ARM Cortex-M3
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2015, 05:54:32 am »
Unless I'm missing something here, that discovery board from ST doesn't have a STM32 in a DIP package, but rather a LQFP64.

I believe he meant that he can fit board (rather than the chip) on a breadboard, thus making it "breadboardable".
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