Good news for all makers, start-ups and Arduino fans: With the new STMicroelectronics (ST) STM32 Nucleo environment another semiconductor manufacturer is offering some cool and exciting development boards, extension boards and great software compatible with Arduino. The following is a quick guide on how to get started and what products are available.
Pick the Right Developer Board
In most cases if you have an idea for a new application you will start picking the right MCU for the design. In case of the STM 32 Open Development Environment (STM32ODE) you can choose development boards equipped with any 32-bit ARM Cortex-M-based STM32 microcontroller you want. The range spans from ultra-low power MCUs like the STM32L053R8T6 with 32 MHz Cortex-M0+ core, 64-KB flash and 8-KB SRAM to high-performance MCUs with DSP and FPU like the STM32F411RET6 with 100 MHz Cortex-M4 core, 512-KB flash and 128-KB SRAM.
Apart from the MCU all boards are equipped with Arduino UNO extension connectors, Morpho extension headers (access to all 64 MCU pins), integrated debugging and programming ST-Link probe and an USB port for flexible power supply.
STM32 Nucleo Development Boards
Decide the Functionality and Select the Expansion Boards
Next select the Nucleo expansion boards you need to give your application all functions required. The Arduino and ST Morpho headers of your base board enables you to easily add expansion boards from ST and third parties. You are able to stack as many boards on top as you want to for unlimited creativity in your design. For the most basic ideas the ST Nucleo boards will give you all the functions and flexibility you need. If you want to build a simple weather station for example, you would choose a low power development board (e.g. NUCLEO-L053R8) and add three ST expansion boards. You need one with environmental sensors, one for communication e.g. Bluetooth Low Energy and one for energy management.
Check out the table below for currently available and up coming expansion boards.
Roadmap of Extension Boards
Get the Software Bricks
ST offers the free STM32Cube software tools consisting out of a PC software configuration tool and STM32 embedded software bricks. Within the STM32CubeMX code generator you will be able to graphically configure the application with just a few simple clicks. Possibilities reach from I/O allocation on the selected STM32 package up to high level TCP/IP stack settings. After you have set up the configuration you can let the tool create the initialisation code in C depending on your choices. This code will sit on top of the STM32Cube embedded software part including an abstraction layer, portable from one STM32 series to another, and a collection of middleware stacks coming from ST or the open-source market for RTOS, USB and more. The user code can rely on this lower level code.
Get a more comprehensive guidance on how to start in this presentation: STMCube – Getting Started
The soft- and hardware parts are further compatible with with a number of Development Environments including IAR EWARM, Keil MDK, mbed and GCC-based IDEs.
Development Software Overview
Unleash your Creativity
With the STM32 Nucleo ODE it is very easy to develop and test new ideas. For a deep dive in the functions and possibilities of the STM32 series register for our free webinar February 20th: