$3 STM32 “Black Pill” Board Features STM32F4 Cortex-M4 MCU, Optional SPI Flash

STM32 “Blue Pill” is a popular, and cheap (>$2) development board based on STMicro STM32F103C8T6 Arm Cortex-M3 microcontroller and programmable with the Arduino IDE.

I’ve just been informed the board got an upgrade of sorts with a “Blue Pill 2” board featuring either STM32F401CCU6 or STM32F411CEU6 Arm Cortex-M4F microcontroller, and a USB Type-C port for power and programming. It’s black, so instead, I’ll call Black Bill as some others appear to do.

Black Pill = Blue Pill Cortex-M4 MCUSpecifications for the Blue Pill & Black Pill boards (new features in bold):

  • MCU (one of the other)
    • STMicro STM32F103C8T6 ARM Cortex-M3 MCU @ 72 MHz with 64KB flash memory, 20KB SRAM.
    • STMicro STM32F401CCU6 Arm Cortex-M4F MCU @ 84 MHz with 256 KB flash, 64KB SRAM
    • STMicro STM32F411CEU6 Arm Cortex-M4F MCU @ 100 MHz with 512KB flash, 128KB SRAM
  • Storage – Footprint for SPI flash
  • USB
    • Blue Pill – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
    • Black Pill – 1x USB Type-C port for power and programming
  • Debugging – 4x pin SWD header or USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 20-pin with power signals, I2C, SPI, GPIOs, ADC inputs, etc…
  • Misc
    • Reset button, power and user LEDs.
    • Boot mode selection
      • Blue Pill – Two jumpers
      • Black Pill – Boot button
    • Black Pill STM32F411 only – Power button
  • Power – 5V via USB, 2.0-3.6V power via 3.3V pin on SWD header.
  • Dimensions – 5.3cm x 2.2cm

STM32F4 Black Pill Board

The new boards get a faster microcontroller with an FPU and much more memory and storage to play with, and you could even solder your own SPI flash.

“Blue Pill” is just a nickname for this type of board, and we can see the PCB is named WeAct V1.3. I can not see Arduino support yet for the board, but an STM32F401CC board called BlackBill F401CC is supported in Arduino Core for STM32 repository, and I believe it may be this exact board (TBC).  One person is also specifically working on a MicroPython port for WeAct v1.3  board.

Black Pill / WeAct v1.3 board can be purchased on Aliexpress for $2.79 (STM32F401CCU6 ) or $3.96 (STM32F411CEU6).

Thanks to iridiumsat for the tip.

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19 Comments
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Willy
Willy
7 months ago

These start to look really interesting. I still haven’t tested STM32 but it’s tempting. I notice they figured the crystal on some boards was too thick and they replaced it with a low-profile one. I faced this issue with an Arduino nano board that couldn’t fit into my laser engraver just because of this!

Brian
Brian
7 months ago

It should really be ‘Black Pill 2’ instead of just ‘Black Pill’… There is already a black pill board, which is just a more recent variant of the blue pill design but using a single-sided PCB and more secure USB connector. (there is a Wiki page at https://wiki.stm32duino.com/index.php?title=Black_Pill , but it hasn’t been working for a while).

Pedro Ribeiro
Pedro Ribeiro
7 months ago

I have one of this boards. At first I had to make a Arduino core myself based on the ones for other variants published by Roger Clark but meanwhile the core published by STM added support for it. Mine already got a Winbond 25Q32 added for extended flash storage!
Season greetings to everyone!

Jerry
Jerry
7 months ago

Still probably won’t replace arduino uno and arduino IDE.

halherta
halherta
7 months ago

Most of the STM32 parts already have Arduino support.

The Nucleo-F401/11 boards both have Arduino support. Since this board uses the same part (albeit the 48-pin qfn instead of 64-qfp variant), it should be more or less supported. Just select the appropriate Nucleo board in the Arduino IDE. These parts (stm32f401/11) also have official MicroPython support. So this board can run MicroPython as well.

Jerry
Jerry
7 months ago

Doesn’t mean the schools will buy 3rd party parts. Official Arduino Uno has wide support and distribution networks. It’s also quite cheap, e.g. $50 per board.

Tim
Tim
7 months ago

I don’t understand you thinking $50 is cheap for a microcontroller, besides an UNO doesn’t cost that much.

Happy Holidays 🎄🌲

Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
7 months ago

Are you a troll? 50 USD vs. 3 USD? I can buy more than 10 of them for 50 USD. The programmer cost around 1.5 USD. You can even transform a Bluepill/Blackpill into a black magic probe. So, you can even flash more powerful MCUs with it and replace a J-Link in some cases. A powerful tool for a lot of countries in Asia and Africa. Not everybody is as rich as you are.

David Willmore
David Willmore
7 months ago

Yes, Jerry is the resident troll. Upvotes any Rpi stuff and downvotes anything else.

stinkydiver73
stinkydiver73
7 months ago

Bluepill is died because of the incompatible fake chips. Now we have some time until it will be ruined too.

gungsukma
gungsukma
7 months ago

What fake chip? Are you buying bluepill but got CKS CS32F103C8T6?

stinkydiver73
stinkydiver73
7 months ago

yes, CKS, but printed ST on it, so its a fake. Maybe you can use it as an arduino, but it just not working with the stlink V2. You can connect to it if you mess with the incorrect ID, but its just unreliable. I have no GD32, that could be better. I would pay more for a real ST bluepill.

Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
7 months ago

Nope, they are mostly original. Some reused chips though. And also: You can get the STM32F1 for ~1.2 USD at digikey etc. They are cheaper in Asia as well. There are some STM32F1 compatible chips. But you can’t save that much. Just a few cents.

stinkydiver73
stinkydiver73
7 months ago

Just send me a link to buy a bluepill with real stm32…

halherta
halherta
7 months ago

have a look at the ST-Nucleo boards. They come in different sizes. The Nucleo-32 sized nucleo boards are a tad bit smaller than the bluepill (the exact size of an arduino nano), comes with a built-in debugger/mass storage programmer and USB serial debug port and cost around $10.

The board is cheap, is produced by ST and you are guaranteed to get an official part.

Andrea
Andrea
7 months ago

I would like to know if there is something similar but with STM32F405 so that it will be possible to build Ardupilot on it.

Thanks
Andrea

John
John
6 months ago

Is there an Arduino bootloader for this board, or will I have to use my ST-Link to program it every time?

Vince Patron
5 months ago

One nice thing,too, with the F4x1 is that the DFU USB bootloader is in ROM, unlike the F103, so you don’t need a special programmer. I’ve chosen the F411 to build a bunch of test controllers at work because I can use it with both Arduino and MicroPython. This Black Pill is a great replacement for the popular F103!

I’m mating these with the ESP-01 + some Python to make an STM32 that does wifi. (Yes, I know MicroPython runs on ESP32 but STM32 + ESP-01 is more powerful and still very cheap).

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