ST micro ARM boards....

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Prime
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ST micro ARM boards....

Post by Prime » Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:48 pm

Hi all,

I seem to remember chatting with someone at the recent ABUG about using the ST ARM micros in beeb related projects. I'd like to have a look into this, what would people recommend for having a tinker. Not (too) worried about being supported by a perticular framework such as arduino, as with my AVR based arduinos I tend to generally just use plain old GCC to program the base AVR. Though that doesn't mean I couldn't be converted into using a framework as the ARM chips are somewhat more complicated than the 8 bit AVR / PIC micros.

Cheers.

Phill.

cmorley
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by cmorley » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:00 pm

Search STM32F103 on ebay. You can get arduino nano style boards for ~£1.60

I bought an ST Link II programmer too - so cheap I was expecting a knock off but it turned out to be genuine!

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BigEd
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by BigEd » Mon Jun 11, 2018 2:46 pm

The teensy boards are interesting too - especially as one of them uses an ARM chip which is 5V tolerant. Umm, except I notice now that they use NXP, not ST chips!

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myelin
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by myelin » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:02 pm

Note that the STM32F103 (Cortex-M3) chips used in the cheap boards from China are not 5V tolerant. I believe the STM32F407 (Cortex-M4) chip used in the STM32 F4 DISCOVERY board has a lot of GPIOs that are 5V tolerant and use TTL signalling levels, so they can be connected directly to 80s/90s hardware.

Update: Looks like I was wrong here!
Last edited by myelin on Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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cmorley
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by cmorley » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:00 am

myelin wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:02 pm
Note that the STM32F103 (Cortex-M3) chips used in the cheap boards from China are not 5V tolerant.
Based on? You have to read the datasheet to see which IO are FT as some are but not others. The F103 has a dozen or so FT GPIO in the QFP on the cheap boards.

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myelin
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by myelin » Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:13 am

cmorley wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:00 am
Based on? You have to read the datasheet to see which IO are FT as some are but not others. The F103 has a dozen or so FT GPIO in the QFP on the cheap boards.
Huh... and you're right. I just rechecked the STM32F103x8/xB datasheet, and it says that almost all the GPIO pins are 5V tolerant. I wonder which chip I was thinking about!
SW/EE from New Zealand, now in Mountain View, CA, making BBC/Electron hardware projects for fun.
Most popular: fast serial port, FX2+PiTubeDirect Tube/Cartridge adapter, USB cart interface.

Prime
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by Prime » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:42 pm

Thanks guys.

I've ordered one of the cheap boards off ebay, that comes with the ST link, but also one of the nucleo boards from Rapid, as in the past I've found having an official dev board can help when you start out....

No promises but DragonUSB anyone :)

Cheers.

Phill.

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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by cmorley » Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:55 pm

Prime wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:42 pm
I've ordered one of the cheap boards off ebay, that comes with the ST link, but also one of the nucleo boards from Rapid, as in the past I've found having an official dev board can help when you start out....
I found the "MX Cube" software from the ST website was a help to getting started quickly. It will emit a makefile project with initialisation for the IO etc. using the STM HAL (hardware abstraction layer). Once familiar with the devices you can choose to use the HAL or not as suits. For a compiler I use the GNU Tools ARM embedded suite from ARM - available as binaries.

Prime
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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by Prime » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:02 am

cmorley wrote:
Tue Jun 12, 2018 2:55 pm
I found the "MX Cube" software from the ST website was a help to getting started quickly. It will emit a makefile project with initialisation for the IO etc. using the STM HAL (hardware abstraction layer). Once familiar with the devices you can choose to use the HAL or not as suits. For a compiler I use the GNU Tools ARM embedded suite from ARM - available as binaries.
Yeah I found that on a link from another tutorial, on the web, looks good, I always wished that there was something similar for the AVR as it takes some of the grunt work out of writing the init code and more quickly allows you to get on with writing the buisness logic. A little like the Delphi / RAD idea took all the init writing out of windows programming, just drop buttons, boxes etc on your form and let the runtime deal with the init, you just write the code that happens when you click / type operate....

Cheers.

Phill.

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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by dgrubb » Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:18 pm

Prime wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:48 pm
with my AVR based arduinos I tend to generally just use plain old GCC to program the base AVR. Though that doesn't mean I couldn't be converted into using a framework as the ARM chips are somewhat more complicated than the 8 bit AVR / PIC micros.
I used to be be purely a PIC user, but was deeply aggravated by the poor Linux support and mess of semi-proprietary compiler options. I picked up an ST Nucleo board on a whim and was delighted to find it was programmable using OpenOCD and GCC available directly from the Debian/Ubuntu repositories (no secret sauce required!). Additionally the board (~$10) included a built-in ST-Link programmer which, by swapping a few jumpers, could be used to program other ST uCs. The documentation available online was also very comprehensive, they're clearly very keen to remove as many barriers to using their stuff as possible.

They offer a variety of IDEs for varying levels of comfort, and extensive libraries, but the latter is more a function of the complexity of the peripherals themselves rather than the uC. You wouldn't really want to program a USB device at the lowest level, for instance, although you can comfortably do without the libraries for simple things like timers.

I recently did a small Kickstarter project based around an STM32F series part, in large part because of the open-source tooling (note how brief the build instructions are in the README).

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Re: ST micro ARM boards....

Post by fizzyade » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:35 pm

We use STM32 commercially in products and it’s a kick ass processor. The cubemx software can make setting up hardware and stuff very easy, but there are bugs and I’ve found that in some tests I was doing with it that I’d have to keep editing the init code it generates after every update.

I’ve not actually used cubemx based code apart from in tests.

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