Sunday, January 30, 2011

Overview of the STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board

The STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board.

The STM32VLDISCOVERY is a $10 evaluation board for the STM32 value line microcontrollers. It has a 64-pin STM32F100RB microcontroller, can be powered & programmed via USB, one user push button, a reset button and two user leds. The board is quite barren and doesn't have much features, just I/O pins - but that's exactly what we DIYers want! You can decide yourself what you want to use the ports for.

Only downsides to the board are bad Linux support (three proprietary windows toolchains are supported) & bad breadboard compatibility. Luckily, you can go around both issues with a bit of effort.

STM32F100RB features:
 - 32-bit!
 - CPU frequency max. 24 MHz (evaluation board has a 8 MHz crystal)
 -128 kilobytes of Flash program memory
 - 8 kilobytes of SRAM
 - Up to 7 16-bit PWM timers: 1 advanced control timer, 6 general-purpose timers
 - Communication interfaces: 2 x SPI, 2 x I2C, 3 x USART, 1 x HDMI-CEC
 - 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with 16 channels
 - 12-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) with 2 channels
 - 51 general-purpose inputs / outputs (GPIOs)

There are actually two programmable microcontrollers on the board - in addition to the STM32F100R, there's an STM32F103 on the board, serving as a debug interface called the ST-Link. A curious thing about it is that the chip used for debug is actually more powerful than the chip you're supposed to program. If you're hardcore, you can make use of both chips and flash also the STM32F103, but you will lose the USB programming capability.

Related links
STM32VLDISCOVERY evaluation board homepage - data sheets, firmware package...
STM32F100RB microcontroller homepage - data sheets, application notes, user manuals...
Dangerous prototypes forum - Thread about STM32VLDISCOVERY

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