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Small ARM boards + alternatives

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Mark  S
(16 posts)

Posted: 16 Oct 2012, 15:10

Hi, I am interested in small ARM development boards, here's what I found recently:

Galago is ARM development board with an LPC13xx. I can't figure out which one exactly, the photos say LPC1313F. The price will be apparently higher than the LPCXpresso board with an LPC1347. See http://outbreak.co/galago

Teensy 3.0 uses a Freescale MK20DX128VLH5 (ARM Cortex M4). Arduino compatible somehow and price about the same as an LPCXpresso board. See http://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy3.html

MC HCK is a board with Freescale MK20DX32VLF5 (ARM Cortex M4), very small but I don't think it's available yet. See https://github.com/corecode/mchck/wiki

Are there any other you can recommend?

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Mark  S
(16 posts)

Posted: 17 Oct 2012, 04:10

NOT interesting for me is the following: 

Electric Imp comes with a Cortex M3 and WiFi. Unfortunately it's a completely closed system, the firmware can't be changed, JTAG interface and chip specifications are not available. Nevertheless I would like to mention it because hardware, price and form factor are attractive. See https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11395

Wixel offers a Texas Instruments CC2511F32 with 2.4 Ghz transceiver on a small board. Unfortunately I am not familiar with the microcontroller, but otherwise quite attractive since it has 32 KB flash, 4 KB RAM, low power consumption and low price. See http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1337

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Alex  Mastro
(30 posts)

Posted: 17 Oct 2012, 09:10

Stellaris Launchpad, LM4F120H5QR looks cool.  It has a boatload of peripherals.

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Mark  S
(16 posts)

Posted: 18 Oct 2012, 08:10

Thanks Alex!

Here are two non-ARM alternatives with Linux, could be interesting for someone:

Carambola is a small board with Wifi and Ethernet support. It has a RT3050 SoC, 8 MB flash, 32 MB RAM, 40 GPIO pins, comes with pre-installed OpenWrt (Linux) and lots of documentation. Price is about 20 EUR, with peripherals 40 EUR. See http://www.8devices.com/product/3/carambola/specs

TL-WR703N is a tiny router. You can see it as a small board with Wifi, Ethernet, nice case and power supply. It has an Atheros AR7240 CPU, 4 MB flash, 32 MB RAM, few GPIO pins and fully supported by OpenWRT (Linux). Price is less than 20 EUR. The biggest problem is to get one Europe, however the next bigger device TL-MR3020 is easy available. See http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/tp-link/tl-wr703n

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microBuilder 
Administrator
(135 posts)

Posted: 20 Oct 2012, 03:10

It's really hard to make specific suggestions unless you're a bit more specific about what problem you want to solve or what you're priorities are.  Do you want the lowest possible power and low cost, or do you care more about performance.  There are probably hundreds of boards out there spanning the (massive) spectrum of ARM chips.

Do you need an LCD and a proper LCD controller, for example?  That at least narrows things down.  Do you care about Ethernet or USB?  Also, how much experience do you have with ARM and embedded SW development since some boards are definitely easier than others.

The NGX LPC4330-Xplorer is a really good value in my opinion, but it's also a fairly complex chip to use (even ignoring the dual-core): http://shop.ngxtechnologies.com/product_info.php?cPath=21_37&products_id=104

I tend to stick to NXP chips simply because it's what I know best and have always used, so it's very easy for me to get up to speed on the newest chips because I already know where to look in the documentation, etc., and the core peripherals change very little.  I can't really comment much on Freescale, ST or TI boards because of that ... simply because I haven't had the time to really dig into the details.

Let me know a bit more about what you're looking for (type of connectivity, how comfortable you are with low level HW details, etc.), and maybe I can suggest something more precise?

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Mark  S
(16 posts)

Posted: 21 Oct 2012, 08:10

Hi there, Microbuilder! I am looking for a buyer's guide for already available development boards. Something along the line of:

- CPU with Flash, RAM and GPIO pins (ideally PWM, I2C, SPI)
- serial interface for programming (ideally USB and UART)
- small in physical size (ideally powered via USB or battery)
- GCC toolchain (ideally open source framework)

Notes: Something above the capabilities of an Arduino or 8-bit AVR microcontroller. It would be good to know which extras are included (e.g. protocols, peripherals) and what the price is (without extension, shields). I am mostly interested in an overview of available hardware, in the middle of 2012 this ment a price of 10-30 EUR (low-end). Apparently you can get everything in this price segment from an ARM board with just a few KB of Flash, up to a board with SoC, wireless communication and embedded Linux. With an off-the-shelf router you even get case, power supply, Ethernet and Wifi-certified communication. I don't have a specific product/project in mind and I'm familiar with low-level embedded development. 

Let me know if you have experience with a  specific development board or hardware with OpenWRT, thanks!

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bobthebuilder 
(1 posts)

Posted: 24 Oct 2012, 11:10

mark said:

Hi, I am interested in small ARM development boards, here's what I found recently:

Galago is ARM development board with an LPC13xx. I can't figure out which one exactly, the photos say LPC1313F. The price will be apparently higher than the LPCXpresso board with an LPC1347. See http://outbreak.co/galago

Teensy 3.0 uses a Freescale MK20DX128VLH5 (ARM Cortex M4). Arduino compatible somehow and price about the same as an LPCXpresso board. See http://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy3.html

MC HCK is a board with Freescale MK20DX32VLF5 (ARM Cortex M4), very small but I don't think it's available yet. See https://github.com/corecode/mchck/wiki

Are there any other you can recommend?
BoardX by Upgrade Industries is a modular motherboard (lets you use any/multiple processors) that's currently got an Arduino compatible AVR add-on, but is releasing their Cortex-M3 LPC1343 add-on in a few days for preorder according to their Facebook.
http://www.upgradeindustries.com & http://www.facebook.com/upgradeindustries

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