Posts Tagged ‘stm32’

Particle Asset Tracker Kit v2 2G/3G GPS Location Tracker Supports Grove Modules

April 13th, 2017 No comments

Particle, the maker of IoT boards such as Electron 2G/3G module, has launched it second Asset Tracker Kit – based on Electron – with a smaller case, improved GPS performance, satellite support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo & BeiDou, and compatibility with Seeed Studio Grove modules.

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Asset Tracker Kit v2 hardware specifications:

  • MCU – STMciro STM32F205 ARM Cortex M3 micro-controller @ @ 120 MHz with  1MB Flash, 128K RAM
  • Cellular Connectivity – U-Blox SARA U-series (3G) or G-series (2G) modem + NanoSIM card slot + u.FL connector for Antenna
  • Location
    • 72-channel u-bloxM8 engine with support for GPS/QZSS L1 C/A, GLONASS L10F, BeiDou B1I, Galileo E1B/C, SBAS L1 C/A: WAAS, EGNOS, MSAS, GAGAN
    • Update rates: Single GNSS: up to 18 Hz, 2 Concurrent GNSS: up to 10 Hz
    • Position accuracy of 2.5 m, sensitivity of -167 dBm
    • Acquisition times: Cold starts: 26s, Aided starts: 2s, Reacquisition: 1s
    • On board ceramic GPS antenna with LNA and bandpass filter with ability to switch to external active antenna
  • Expansion
    • 2x 18-pin header with  28 GPIOs (D0-D13, A0-A13), TX/RX, 2 GNDs, VIN, VBAT, WKP, 3V3, RST
    • 2x quick connect grove sensor ports
  • Sensor – Built in 3 axis IMU
  • Battery – 2,000 mAh LiPo battery
  • Dimensions –  board: 10.3 cm x 3.6 cm x 0.76 cm (1.27 cm including headers)
  • Operating temperature of –40° C to 85° C

Particle Asset Tracker Kit v2 comes with Electron board with either 2G or 3G connectivity, the “Asset Tracker Shield” PCB with GPS, the battery, antennas for GPS and cellular, a weatherproof case, a USB cable, a breadboard, a pinout reference card, and a Particle SIM card with 3 months of Particle’s 1MB monthly data plan. After three months, the plan cost $2.99 per month for up to 1MB data (equivalent to thousands of message), and $0.99 for each extra MegaBytes. There’s no contract and the plan can be stopped anytime.  The company also provides an Arduino Library for the asset tracker with examples for GPS, accelerometer, and wakonmove, as well as access to Particle Cloud to store and analyze the data.

There are three models of the kit for sale, Asset Tracker 2G for $109, as well as Asset Tracker 3G (America/Australia) and Asset Tracker 3G (Europe/Asia/Africa) both going for $129. Particles kits will provide much more flexibility than the 3G + GPS tracker kits available on Aliexpress for $70 and up, and should be much easier to get started with then rolling your own with Orange Pi-2G IoT board, a cheap GPS modules such as NavSpark mini, plus battery and case.

Secure IoT Connectivity with NodeMCU ESP8266 Board, ATECC508A Crypto Chip, Mongoose OS, and AWS IoT

March 7th, 2017 16 comments

There are many examples of Internet of Things projects, but more often than not the implementation is not secure, either because the device is exposed to the Internet with minimum or no security (worst case), or a gateway (hopefully) provides secure connection to the Internet, but the communication between sensor nodes and the gateway in the local network is not secure, due to memory limitation of the nodes, for example it might be challenging to implement security on ESP8266. Mongoose OS is an open source operating system for the Internet of Things developed by Cesanta working on ESP32, ESP8266, STM32, and TI CC3200, and the developers have demonstrated a secure solution with Mongoose OS running on ESP8266 connecting over a TLS connection to AWS IoT (Amazon Web Service IoT) and using TLS credentials stored in Microchip ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication Device.

NodeMCU with ATCRYPTOAUTH-XPRO (Left) or barebone ATECC508A (Right)

The addition of ATECC508 chip either using “XplainedPro extension board for crypto products” (ATCRYPTOAUTH-XPRO) or ATECC508A chip itself, is to avoid storing private TLS credentials in NodeMCU’s flash memory, as anybody with physical access to the device could steal private keys and get access to the cloud. ATECC508A is connected via the I2C interface of the target board.

So I guess the crypto chip truly makes sense if you have sensor nodes on the field with information important enough that third parties may be interested in getting access to your sensor to try read your private key from ESP8266’s flash. It costs less than $1, so you may consider it anyway, although you can still get a secure TLS connection between NodeMCU and AWS IoT without it, but it adds another level of security.

Once you are done with the hardware connections, you’ll need to install Mongoose OS on the board, and follow the MQTT + AWS IoT tutorial to get started. Nothing complicated need to be done to leverage the crypto chip, as the command mgos aws-iot-setup should automatically detect ATECC508A chip and use it.

STMicro Introduces STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board & I-NUCLEO-LWAN2 STM32 LoRa Expansion Board

February 21st, 2017 4 comments

STMicroelectronics and Mouser have launched two new products with LoRa connectivity: STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board with an STM32L072 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU and Semtech SX1276 transceiver, and I-NUCLEO-LRWAN1 STM32 LoRa expansion board for STM32 Nucleo boards with an STM32L052 MCU and Semtech SX1272 radio transceiver.

STM32 LoRaWAN Discovery Board

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$55 OpenMV Cam M7 Open Source Computer Vision Board is Powered by an STM32F7 Cortex-M7 MCU

January 2nd, 2017 6 comments

I wrote about Jevois-A33 computer vision camera based on Allwinner A33 quad core Cortex A7 processor last week, and today, I’ve come across OpenMV Cam M7 open source computer vision board based on a much less powerful STMicro STM32F7 ARM Cortex M7 micro-controller, but with the advantage of consuming less power, and exposing some extra I/Os.

openmv-cam-m7OpenMV Cam M7 board specifications & features:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F765VI ARM Cortex M7 @ up to 216 MHz with 512KB RAM, 2 MB flash.
  • External Storage – micro SD slot
  • Camera
    • Omnivision OV7725 image sensor supporting 640×480 8-bit grayscale images or 320×240 16-bit RGB565 images at 30 FPS
    • 2.8mm lens on a standard M12 lens mount
  • USB – 1x micro USB port (Virtual COM Port and a USB Flash Drive)
  • Expansion – 2x 8-pin headers with SPI, I2C CAN bus, asynchronous serial bus (Tx/Rx), 12-bit ADC, 12-bit DAC, 3x I/Os for servo control; interrupts and PWM on all I/O pins; 3.3V (5V tolerant)
  • Misc – RGB LED and 2x 850nm IR LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 3.6 to 5V via VIN pin
  • Power Consumption (@ 3.3V) – Idle: 110mA;  active no μSD Card: 190mA; active with μSD Card: 200mA
  • Dimensions – 45 x 36 x 30 (H) mm
  • Weight – 16 grams
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The camera board supports frame differencing (motion detection), marker tracking, face detection, eye tracking, color tracking (up to 32 colors at the same time), optical flow, edge/line detection, template matching, image capture (BMP/JPG/PPM/PGM), and video recording (MJPEG/GIF). Programming is done in OpenMV IDE using MicroPython language. You’ll find more details in OpenMV Cam’s documentation, and watch a description of the board and a QR code detection demo in the video below.

The computer vision board can be pre-ordered now for $55 on the product page with shipping scheduled for March 2017.

STMicro SensorTile is a Tiny STM32 Module with Bluetooth 4.1 LE and Four Sensor Chips

December 8th, 2016 1 comment

STMicroelectronics SensorTile is a 13.5 x 13.5mm sensor board based on STM32L4 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a MEMS accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, pressure sensor, a MEMS microphone, as well as a 2.4Ghz radio chip for Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity for wearables, smart home, and IoT projects.


SensorTile hardware specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32L476 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller@ up to 80 MHz with 128 KB RAM, 1MB flash
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 Smart/LE via BlueNRG-MS network processor with integrated 2.4GHz radio compliant with
  • Sensors
    • LSM6DSM 3D accelerometer + 3D gyroscope
    • LSM303AGR 3D Magnetometer + 3D accelerometer
    • LPS22HB pressure sensor/barometer
    • MP34DT04 digital MEMS microphone
  • I/Os – 2x 9 half holes with access to UART, SPI, SAI (Serial Audio Interface), I2C, DFSDM, USB, OTG, ADC, and GPIOs signals
  • Debugging – SWD interface (multiplexed with GPIOs)
  • Power Supply Range – 2V to 5.5 V
  • Dimensions – 13.5 x 13.5 mm
SensorTile's Functional Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

SensorTile’s Functional Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Software development can be done through a sets of APIs based on the STM32Cube Hardware Abstraction Layer and middleware components, including the STM32 Open Development Environment. The module is supported by Open Software eXpansion Libraries, namely Open.MEMS, Open.RF, and Open.AUDIO, with various example programs allowing you to get started. Several third-party embedded sensing and voice-processing projects also support the module. The module also comes pre-loaded with BLUEMICROSYSTEM2 firmware, and can be controlled with “ST BlueMS” app found on Apple Store and Google Play.


But the best way to get started is with SensorTile kit including SensorTile core module and:

  • STLCR01V1 cradle board with a footprint for SensorTile core board, HTS221 humidity and temperature sensor, a micro-SD card socket, a micro USB port, a lithium-polymer battery (LiPo) charger, and a SWD header.
  • A LiPo rechargeable battery and a plastic case for the cradle board, SensorTile module, and battery
  • STLCX01V1 Arduino UNO R3 compatible cradle expansion board with analog stereo audio output, a micro-USB connector for power and communication, a reset button and a SWD header.
  • A programming cable

I could not find a price for SensorTile core module, but STEVAL-STLKT01V1 SensorTile kit can be purchased for $80.85 directly on STMicro website or their distributors. Visit SensorTile kit’s product page for further information include hardware design files, quick start guide, software and firmware downloads, purchase links, and more.

MUSES-α & MUSES-β DVB-T/C, ISDB-T, DTMB & ATSC Modulator Boards Review – Part 1: The Hardware

October 19th, 2016 4 comments

V-Bridge Muses digital TV modulator boards launched on Kickstarter earlier this month, with the cheaper $200 MUSES-α board modulating video from a PC, and $600 MUSES-β turnkey solution capable of broadcasting HDMI or AV + stereo input to various digital TV standards including DVB-T/C, ATSC/QAM, DTMB, and ISDB-T/TB without the help of a computer. The company sent me the two hardware kits for evaluation and review on CNX Software, and today I’ll start by showing off the hardware I received.


I got 3 packages and a F-female to F-female cable, which means you can connect the board directly to your TV tuner without having to rely on actual RF signals, and potential legal issues that goes with it.pc-modulator-kit

The first package I open if for the PC modulator kit that include MUSES-α board, an “RF” board, as a USB cable to connect to your computer.

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Click to Enlarge

MUSES-α board features Vatek A1 chip, a USB port, an Ethernet port, a power jack, and  headers for UART, I2C, TS, JTAG, RF board and GPIOs.


The back of the board just has a Winbond flash.

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Click to Enlarge

The RF board is based on Texas Instruments TRF372017 IQ modulator PLL/VCO chip, and includes an F-male connector.


To get started you’d have to connect the USB cable, the coax cable to your TV’s tuner, as well as a 5V power supply.

The next package is the STM32 + LCD control board allowing to use MUSES-β board without PC.

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Click to Enlarge

It’s made of off-the-shelf parts including DF Robots LCD keypad shield for Arduino, connected to an STM32 based board via jumper cables + some glue.

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Click to Enlarge

The “STM32F4xx” board is also an off-the-shelf STM32F407ZET6 ARM Cortex-M4 board found on Aliexpress for $15.50. So what you are paying for here, is not really hardware, but all the development work required for a niche product.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The third package includes the rest of the turnkey solution with an RF board, MUSES-β board based on Vatek B2 modulator and video encoding chip, and a video & audio input board with HDMI input, and 3 RCA connector for video composite and stereo audio input. All boards are already attached to an acrylic base, and the kit adds the top acrylic cover, some spacers and screws, and a 5V/2A power supply.

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Click to Enlarge

The RF board is exactly the same as the one used with MUSES-α board, and the AV input board features Explore Microelectronics EP9555E  for HDMI input and Intersil TW9912 for CVBS input.

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Click to Enlarge

MUSES-β board comes with a USB port, a power jack, headers for the RF and AV input boards, I2C, MCU connect, and a TS port. I must have a received a prototype board, so there’s also some rework that should be gone once the kit ships to backers.

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled - Click to Enlarge

MUSES-β Kit Fully Assembled – Click to Enlarge

Assembly is quite straightforward:

  1. Connect the STM32 board to the “MCU connect” header
  2. Optionally add the top acrylic cover
  3. Connect the 5V/2A power supply
  4. Connect the coax cable to your TV, and add video and audio input(s) to the HDMI port or CVBS + stereo audio RCA jacks
  5. Scan the channel on your TV, and enjoy

That’s exactly what I’ll try in the second part of the review, once I receive some documentation from the company.

STMicro STM32 ARM Cortex M3 Boards List and Wiki

July 8th, 2016 10 comments

STMicro STM32 has popular Cortex-M micro-controller found in the $2 “Blue Pill” board, STMicro’s own Nucleo Board, as well as many other variants. Olavi Kamppari (OliviliK), working on hard real-time control with EmBitz IDE, has created a detailed Wiki for STMicro STM32 on Github with lots of information, including an interesting comparison table of various STM32 Cortex M3 boards (and one GD32 board).

STMicro_BoardsI’ve reproduced the table in his wiki below, made is sortable & filterable, and added links to Aliexpress store found in other parts of the wiki.

NameManufacturerPriceProcessorSpeed MHzFlash kBSRAM kBPackageI/O PinsSWDUARTUser ButtonUser LEDDimensions HxWxL inchWeight gramsMount
HY TinyPowerMCU$3.80 + shippingSTM32F103TBU672128203625hdrhdrPA10.24x0.84x1.552Breadboard
Blue PillVCC-GND$1.96STM32F103C8T67264204832hdrPC130.45x0.89x2.276Breadboard
Smart V2.0Unknown$3.69STM32F103C8T67264204833JTAGPA0PC130.45x1.66x2.1813Double Breadboard
Demo BoardUnknown$4.37STM32F103C8T67264204835JTAGhdrPC130.51x1.44x2.9015Double Breadboard
ME V5.02ME$5.10STM32F103C8T67264204835JTAGhdrPD20.46x1.78x2.47184 holes
GD Red PillUnknown$5.10GD32F103C8T672, 96, 108, 12064204830hdr0.72x1.00x2.448Breadboard
LC Tech RBLC Technology$9.88STM32F103RBT672128206451JTAGhdr0.47x1.41x2.2815
Nucleo-F103RBSTM$15.32STM32F103RBT672128206451USBPC13PA50.75x2.75x3.28333 holes
MiniF103RUnknown$12.57STM32F103RBT672128206451JTAGUSBPC0, PC10x92x2.67x3.65384 holes
ME V1.02ME$9.88STM32F103RCT672128206453JTAGhdrPD20.46x1.97x2.76224 holes
ME F103/F407ME$12.00STM32F103VET6725126410078hdrhdr0.53x2.44x3.73348 holes
LC Tech ZELC Technology$12.99STM32F103ZET67251264144112JTAGhdr0.47x1.95x2.91264 holes
VCC-GND ZEVCC-GND$14.72STM32F103ZET67251264144112hdr0.44x1.86x2.3812

You can find much more details about each board in the Wiki.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

Micrium µC/OS RTOS Is Now Free for Makers and Startups

June 24th, 2016 1 comment

According to UBM embedded market study for 2015, Micrium µC/OS real-time operating system only came second after FreeRTOS when the company asked close to 1,000 engineers and managers around the world which operating systems they were currently using in their embedded products. The OS appears to be particularly popular in Asia, and the results are all the more impressive considering it’s a commercial operating systems.

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

Operating Systems used in Embedded Systems (UBM Survey)

But Micrium decided to bring more people on board by announcing a free version called µC/OS for Makers targeting hobbyists and startups (<$100k revenues) in February earlier this year. The real-time operating system includes a preemptive multitasking real-time kernel with optional round robin scheduling, has a low footprint (6K to 24K bytes code space, 1K+ bytes data space), support various types of targets including ARM Cortex-M and Cortex-A based MCU and processors such as STMicro STM32,  NXP Kinetis, Cypress PSoC5, etc.., as well as Atmel AVR, TI MSP430 and many others.

The Maker version of the OS excludes the CAN module, Building Blocks and the Graphical UI library, but comes with USB, TCP/IP, Modbus, and file system stacks. A summary of the different licenses for µC/OS-III is shown in the table below.

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Click to Enlarge

You can find more information on Micrium Maker page, or directly download it  (free email registration required) to try it out on your own platform or board.