Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Uploaded Arduino blink example to a STM32 board - M3S STM32F103ZET6


In my quest for higher speed, more pins,  more flash and more RAM for my SVTrackR and yet keeping the cost low, I started exploring other ARM 32-bit boards.

Before this, I'm already using  DigiX from Digistump, an Arduino  DUE compatible board but they are in Mega form factor, kinda big and most important factor for me, high price. The DigiX are 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller running at 84Mhz.

DigiX Comparison Table

While shopping at taobao, the development boards from STM32 really stand out as they are low cost, lots of pins and similar form factors as Arduino Nano. My most important criteria is that I should not have to port my codes to another platform or learn another new development environment. As a hobbyists, the development software must also be free.

STM32 dev board
A search for STM32 will results in so many STM32 development boards from any shapes, colours and sizes with price range from RMB25.70 to thousands of RMB. Compared to the above chart for DigiX, the lowest price are 59 in US Dollars.

All these cheap and powerful boards are no good to me unless they runs on Arduino IDE as my SVTrackR codes uses a lot of open source libraries from GPS, OLED and SoftSerial.

Some background and history on STM32 on the Arduino platform. It was started very early by leaflabs producing the Maple and Maple Mini back in 2008. You can read all the details are the links provided below. Good thing it was an open source projects so all the work done by them can be taken up some others to continue the development. If this were a closed sourced project, all these would be gone.

Arduino Forum :- with 2625 messages.

New STM32duino home :-

Roger Clarke from Melbourne did a great job to continue the developement.

If you are a newbie and just want to make some STM32 board purchases without reading all the histories, click on  Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

More pictures of the M3S STM32 development board I purchased. I've also purchased the 3.2" touchscreen TFT that can attached to this board. It also comes in a nice looking plastic box.

M3S with box

M3S with 3.2" TFT

M3S STM32F103ZET6 with 3.2" TFT

From the image the seller posted, this board have a lot of items on board like 2 USB port (mine comes with Micro-USB ), DB9 on MAX3232, JTAG, SWD, DS18B20 slots, mini buzzer, nRF24L01 slots, SPI flash on SD, SDIO, 2 LEDs, 4 buttons, BOOT0/BOOT1 jumpers,  EEPROM 24C02, OV7670 camera module and other that I could not translate the chinese.

Summary Links

Friday, January 30, 2015

Product review of CT-UNO by Cytron

I received my CT-UNO, an UNO board made by Cytron and I'm doing a short review on this board.


The first question is, why another UNO board ?  The answer would be answered in my short review below.

This CT-UNO was used as part of the starter kit during my Penang Mini Maker Faire Arduino workshop in November.

The main factor I really like about this is the Micro-USB port instead of the gigantic USB B plug used by regular Arduino UNO boards. With so many USB micro cables all around, having a USB micro is a good decision made by Cytron.

Secondly, I always like the FTDI USB Serial chip. I'm still using the FTDI Breakout board on a regular basis to program the Arduino Mini Pro ...


On the subject of FTDI board, there is an Android app called FTDI UART Terminal that can accept a FTDI USB-Serial device so that you can plug in the CT-UNO directly to the Android Smatphone and view the Serial Monitor using this app with an USB OTG cable.

CT-UNO with FTDI connected to Android Smarthphone

As per most of the newer UNO board, this is a SMD version of the atmega328P, so you cannot remove the IC.


Another thing I really like about this board is that you can directly solder wires to the pins below the board for permanent connections. Here are some pictures of the CT-UNO on the sides and below the board.

Sides holes

Side holes
CT-UNO back
Last but not least, this board is "Made in Malaysia", so please support Malaysian made products.
The only thing I didn't like about this board is the white colour of the PCB silkscreen but this is my personal opinion.

Overall, it is a very usable UNO board and very good to view Serial Monitor on Android Smartphone that support USB OTG cable.

This product is on Cytron online store.

A special thanks to Vincent Kok for sending me this CT-UNO for review.

Summary Links :-


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