August 8, 2013 AT 2:00 am

Taming the STMicro Discovery boards

STmicro Discovery board

STMicro’s Discovery boards are an inexpensive (~$10) way to prototype with the company’s microcontrollers. But they are not as user-friendly as hardware dev platforms like the Arduino.

Taming the STMicros Discovery boards for regular use

We think Karl Lunt has a point when he says that the STM32 Discovery Boards are cool and inexpensive, yet not hobby friendly. But it’s nothing that a little big of creativity can’t solve…

The first is the addition of a microSD card adapter. He soldered wirewrap wire to each of the contacts on the adapter. He recommends a low iron setting to make sure you don’t melt the plastic adapter housing. He then used double stick foam tape to adhere it to the bottom of the dev board. The other ends of the wire are wrapped around the appropriate pins on the dual-row pin header. Similarly, the UART3 connections are broken out from the pin headers to that white quick connect socket. This lets him access serial data without having to solve the USB issues that were vexing him.

Finally, he made his own daughter board to break out the dual row headers into screw terminals. We’ve been hit with problems interfacing hardware with the board’s native connections — jumpering to IDE cables just never worked reliably. This breakout board not only makes it simple, but organizes the pins into groups based on their alternate functions.


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