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More back-to-basics project. Breadboarding a bare Stellaris (or other) chip.

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Hi everyone!


I'm waiting for my Stellaris boards to ship, and they won't be here until December at the earliest, so I thought maybe while I'm reading about ARM development I'd also try my hand at something a little more low level.


I'm fairly comfortable with AVR development and one of the things I love about it is that you can pop a chip on a bare breadboard, add a power brick, voltage regulator, a few caps, and you've got a running "board" that you put together with your bare hands. Not that there's anything wrong with prefabbed boards like the Ardiuno or Stellaris, but there's a certain satisfaction that you get putting bits and pieces together.


So I'm starting to think of possibly putting together an ARM breadboard solution. Stellaris M4 chips seem to be hard to come by so I'm probably going to either use a Stellaris M3 or one of the NXP M3 chips. One of the things the NXP has is a USB bootloader so (it looks like) I can just wire up a USB port and drop my firmware onto the chip right from my desktop with a minimum of work. I'm not sure if the Stellaris family offers something like this, I haven't dug through the datasheets extensively just yet but that's on my list of to-do's.


So my question: Has anyone here tried this bare-bones approach before? I know getting a LQFP chip on a breadboard isn't going to be easy, but there are several prototyping options which would let me keep the chip itself off the breadboard and wire up everything I need with cables. I'm still going through datasheets trying to figure out exactly what other components the chip will depend on being present, but it seems to have internal oscillators and such, so I'm thinking this won't be a royal pain to put together.


Anyway, apologies in advance if this doesn't belong in the Stellaris section. I'm not 100% sold on using the Stellaris chip yet, but it's in the running. This is really more of a "generic ARM" project since it's more about the hardware than the specific vendor implementation.



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So I'm starting to think of possibly putting together an ARM breadboard solution. Stellaris M4 chips seem to be hard to come by .....<snip>


Currently I don't think you can buy TI Stellaris Cortex M4 chips yet, and its not even in the production stage yet.


Just fyi, the current latest Stellaris Launchpad board still using experimental release, check this out -> http://forum.stellarisiti.com/topic/340-which-chip-revision-in-your-ek-lm4f120xl-stellaris-launchpad/

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Decided to go with an NXP 1768 chip, simply due to availability. I'll post updates in the NXP section once I have some, though I think it'll be pretty much applicable to any Cortex processor.

That's pretty harsh... though understandable.

Maybe someone at TI is listening... and can let the higher-ups know they should be first to market, not playing "American League" baseball and batting clean-up.

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Haha, well I could have used a Stellaris M3 class chip which are in good availability, but to be 100% honest the lack of a Stellaris prototype board (still on order, exp. ship December) led me to pick up the NXP chips since I could buy an LPCXpresso 1768 board which will be delivered on Monday. As much as I crow about vendor independence, while I'm starting out I'd prefer to keep both my prototype board AND my project board on the same chip.


So in this case, yeah I think TI sort of lost my "business" by delaying the Stellaris LP so long. But it's not a big deal. I'll go back to investigating Stellaris chips once I have a prototype board in my hands.

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