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STM32 Value line Discovery board


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Definitely sticking with the LP. Being able to swap chips is a HUGE advantage over the STM offerings.

 

Mark my words: In a year or so, the LaunchPad will be giving the Arduino a run for popularity and usage in the hobbyist market! Just look at the community and projects that have sprung up in a few short months.

 

-Doc

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Just for the record: The STM32VL is about $13 on Mouser, and the 8-bit STM8S is $9 on Mouser.

 

Hmmm... $13 for a 32-bit STM board with a soldered uC, or $13 for three 16-bit LaunchPads with two removable uCs each??? :roll:

 

Sorry, but until I need a bunch more pins or ADC/DAC on-board, the LaunchPad wins.

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Don't forget if you need more IO pins and more peripherals, check out the 55x series. The benefits to going to another MSP430 is that you do not need to learn new code for a new microcomputer and can use the same tools to program it. The code ports over easier than you can imagine. The 55x series runs at 25MHz which is more than one needs for a lot of applications. If I have time in the next year, I will eventually start selling F5528 baseboards which would be 100% compatible with the LaunchPad.

 

The STM32 has its place though, as do all 32 bit controllers. Sometimes you just need to use real big numbers. In a few months I will be needing either an ARM, a DPS, or an FPGA for some crazy number crunching. Has anyone seen what frequency the STM32 can run at? I haven't found it in my quick bit of research.

 

NJC

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Can I program them with the LaunchPad?

I looked into this this morning. You can't program them directly from the LaunchPad's DIP socket, simply because they have far too many pins (60-80ish), and are only available in SMT packages. However, they support the SBW programming protocol, so they can be programmed by the FET on the LP, either through J4, or by tapping the programming lines from the socket or breakout headers. So, yes and no.

 

But, being SMT, I think that might reduce interest for you, as you (and I) seem to really appreciate the removability (is that a word?) of the DIP ICs that the LaunchPad allows. However, maybe investing in a ZIF socket for the SMT chip wouldn't be a bad idea, if you intend to use them often...

 

Just my two cents.

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The MSP430F5528 comes in two form factors: QFN-64, and BGA-80. Both of these have sockets available, thought not through Digikey or Mouser. The cheapest solution I found is well out of my price range, at $65US for a QFN-64 socket. The next lowest was around $120US for a BGA-80 socket... And then another QFN-64 socket for an outrageous $260US. Sickening.

 

Needless to say, if I end up using the F5528, it'll be embedded in the solution for good.

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Surface mount zif sockets are stupid expensive. TI sells target boards with ZIF sockets for the 552x series, I bought the 64 pin target board when they had the half off thing going. I think it's $75 for the board, quite expensive, but I needed it; built in USB is the nicest thing ever, trust me on that.

 

Personally, I don't need to remove my 5528 at all from the board; typically larger and more powerful chips don't *need* to be moved around as much as smaller ones are. There aren't that many applications that need that kind of power, and if they do it's no problem to use a target board for development. Also, for a project large enough to need one of these chips you would make a PCB anyway.

 

One large plus to this chip/target board setup is that it can be programmed by the LaunchPad. Typically microcomputers that have this kind of power require programmers that cost more than $50, let alone a development board or target board. But also keep in mind, this chip will be complete overkill for most projects. I need it because I'm handing more than 16k 16-bit ADC values per second; these values need to be preprocessed and then send to the computer in real time.

 

PS: I recommend NEVER working with a BGA chip during development, even as a professional engineer.

 

If you guys have any questions about the 5528 I can try to answer them. I'm quickly gaining proficiency with them. I actually ported over my resent post to the G2231 from the 5528.

 

NJC

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