Author Topic: ARM development boards  (Read 4313 times)

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Offline RCMR

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ARM development boards
« on: October 24, 2012, 05:34:10 am »
I've been mainly a PIC man until now (yeah, oldschool) but I really want to get "up to my elbows" with ARM-based processors so I've been looking around on eBay for something.

I've got an Raspberry Pi but I want to do more deterministic bit-banging and have a play with the ADCs and other stuff -- the RP is somewhat restricted in that respect.

Has anyone had reasonable success with the little Cortex M3 type boards on eBay?  Most seem to be out of China and seem to be quite well equipped (with TFT touchscreen LCDs) but I'm picking that the documentation will be crap -- in which case it's not such a "bargain".

I'm also looking for a JLink JTAG programmer for the ARM processors -- there are a few but again -- which is reasonable and which is crap?
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2012, 06:13:35 am »
The STM32 Discovery boards are some of the best deals out there. The F4 version has a 168MHz processor with 1MB of flash and 192K of RAM. It's $15.
 

Offline mrflibble

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2012, 06:26:21 am »
I can recommend the STM32 Discovery as well. With all the onboard goodies it's damn good value for money. I currently have 2, and next digikey/mouser ordering round I'll get me some more. Damn handy to stuff in projects. :)

Oh and don't worry about crap chinese documentation. The documentation / support from ST will be crap too so you won't miss out on crappiness! Nice hardware, nice price, not so nice support IMO.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2012, 06:32:28 am by mrflibble »
 

Offline psycho0815

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2012, 06:51:37 am »
There's also the Arduino Due which has a Cortex M3. Propably the easiest way to get startet.
If you like, check out my blog (german):
http://h-reg.blogspot.de
 

Offline miceuz

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2012, 07:39:35 am »
And there is my own dev board named CatNip! http://wemakethings.net/2012/10/04/catnip/
It's based on LPC1343 chip and does not need a JTAG interface to program it.

It has a decent documentation on http://www.microbuilder.eu/projects/LPC1343ReferenceDesign/
and a software library at https://github.com/Miceuz/LPC1343CodeBase

Offline TheDirty

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2012, 02:59:49 pm »
Your easiest option for running a Cortex-M3 with a programmer/debugger and development environment would be to use one of the cheap dev boards that are available from the manufacturer.  There's no need for e-bay here.  All of these are discounted by the manufacturer, come with everything you need to get started, and are relatively easy to setup and start using.

STM32F Discovery has already been mentioned.

LPCXpresso is for LPC1xxxx Cortex M3 and M0.

The Launchpad EK-LM4F120XL is for Stellaris (see the thread in here about this)  There's a wait time for it now.

Mark Higgins
 

Offline T4P

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2012, 03:41:29 pm »
There's also the Arduino Due which has a Cortex M3. Propably the easiest way to get startet.
Forget the Arduino. It's expensive, plus he's been a PIC man. Why settle for less when you can get more?
The STM32 Discovery boards are some of the best deals out there. The F4 version has a 168MHz processor with 1MB of flash and 192K of RAM. It's $15.
Specifically the version with a FPU :P it's a bit more power hungry but not a problem anyway  :P
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2012, 04:19:51 pm »
Specifically the version with a FPU :P it's a bit more power hungry but not a problem anyway  :P
They're interesting, but I've never had an mcu project (yet) that required floating point. Fixed point almost always gets the job done. Double precision IEEE-754 might be worth getting excited about though.
 

Offline gxti

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2012, 05:05:58 pm »
Another vote for Discovery. I was having huuuuuge problems getting ARM projects working using an OSHW JTAG adapter I won't name, so I got a STM32F4 Discovery and had it up and running the same day. Works great as a SWD programmer, I've been using it to program my STM32 projects via openocd. It can probably do non-ST parts as well but I have thus far been too lazy to write the necessary openocd scripts.
 

Offline andyturk

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2012, 08:14:06 pm »
Oh, and another thing about the Discovery boards...

The STM32VLDiscovery board costs less than $10. It's a nice, but has a wimpy mcu with only 8K of RAM and 128K of flash. However, because ST uses similar (if not identical) pinouts for it's chips, I was able to desolder the original mcu and replace it with a big, beefy F103 with 1M of flash and 96K of RAM. That doubles the cost, but it's still cheap, and gives you the chance to practice smd rework (with plenty of tongue angle).

Note that the VLDisco board uses stlink v1 and the F4Disco uses stlink v2. The SWD hardware is the basically the same on both boards, but the difference is in the firmware of the programming mcu (also an F103 part). V2 is a little easier to work with because it doesn't masquerade as a SCSI device, but v1 works too. In theory, you could reflash the v1 mcus to use the newer protocol, but there's no binary image available. I did read about someone flashing Versaloon firmware onto it.
 

Offline RCMR

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Re: ARM development boards
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 11:02:16 pm »
STM32 Discovery board is on its way.  Thanks guys!
 


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