The STM32 family based on the ARM Cortex™ M processor offers a 32 bit MCU portfolio, which is a combination of high performance, real time capabilities, digital signal processing, and low power, AND low voltage operation. STMicroelectronics has broadened the accessibility and flexibility of its STM32 MCU family, by introducing these more affordable and easily extensible prototyping STM32 Nucleo extension boards.

These Nucleo boards mark a change in ST’s development tool strategy, providing a flexible platform to try out new ideas and quickly create prototypes with any STM32 MCU, selecting from the various combinations of performance, power consumption and features.

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The ARM® mbed™ integration and Arduino compatibility will support and accelerate software and hardware development in ARM® mbed™ and Arduino ecosystems. The Nucleo boards do not require any external probe, as the boards come with an integrated ST-Link debugger/programmer. The integrated STLINK/V2-1 debugger supports a virtual com port and drag and drop programming. Arduino connectivity and the new ST Morpho connector allows the board to work with a wide range of development environments including IAR EWARM, Keil MDK, mbed, GCC-based IDEs (Atollic TrueStudio).

ARM mbed™ Integration
ARM mbed™ is a collaborative industry project which delivers free tools and fundamental open source hardware and software building blocks for the rapid development of innovative ARM based devices. The mbed enabled STM32 Nucleo board gives the user free access to the mbed online compiler, the mbed online C/C++ SDK and developer community at mbed.org, making it possible to build a complete application in only a few minutes time. Also, the STM32 Nucleo board comes with the STM32 comprehensive software HAL library together with various packaged software examples, apart from the direct access to mbed online resources (the mbed open source software platform, online tools and collaboration infrastructure) at mbed.org.

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ARM’s Simon Ford, director of IoT platforms said, “The mbed-enabled STM32 Nucleo hardware gives ST’s customers access to the extensive mbed ecosystem of software, tools and community, supporting development of a new wave of intelligent electronic products.”

ArduinoTM Connectivity
Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform consists of various microcontroller boards featuring standardized pin headers for connecting special function boards (shields). There is a wide range of shields available from Arduino and third party developers which can be used for adding special functionalities to designs. STM32 Nucleo boards have Arduino connectivity support and ST Morpho headers (The ST-developed extension headers which allow off-board connections), which makes it easy to expand the functionality of the Nucleo open development platform using a wide choice of specialized shields from the extensive Arduino ecosystem. STM32 Nucleo boards can be easily extended with a large number of application related hardware add-ons by sharing the Arduino connectors and ST Morpho headers. Also, dedicated shields for supporting functions like Bluetooth® LE or Wi-Fi® connectivity, GPS, audio recording, proximity sensing, and wireless control are also offered by STMicroelectronics.

Re-usability of shields
The re-usability of shields in STM32 Nucleo boards protects the customer’s investment in application shields. Any shield can be re-used with any STM32 Nucleo board, across various projects providing flexibility and scalability in designs. “STM32 Nucleo also provides extra flexibility for developers to re-target designs and re-use hardware and software IP across multiple projects, leveraging the diversity and scalability of the STM32 family,” said Michel Buffa, mentioning about the utility of the Nucleo boards.

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Variants and Pricing
The first four available STM32 Nucleo boards are priced from $10.32 per unit. These are:

  • NUCLEO-F030R8
  • NUCLEO-F103RB
  • NUCLEO-F401RE
  • NUCLEO-L152RE

The meaning of NUCLEO-TXXXRY codification is as follows:

  • TXXX describes the STM32 MCU product line
  • R describes the pin count (R for 64 pins)
  • Y describes the code size (8 for 64K, B for 128K, E for 512K)

 

Pankaj V is Technology Journalist at EFY Gurgaon

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