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

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