Some buying advice

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by sujitn, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. sujitn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
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    Hi guys, i'm new to this forum and am wanting to persue my interest in development boards and MCU's. I've done a fair bit of stuff with an arduino and am now wanting to advance a little.
    Something like this:
    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/MCU-BOAR...084?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3efdd6a974
    sparked my eye and am i wanting to know more about:
    1. How to program devleopment boards as above
    2. Do all boards need a debugger?
    3. Do you think this is a good purchase?

    Thank you :)
     
  2. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    First off, I am not an NXP guy so I don't know any details of that chip. From the description it seems you can program the device thru RS-232, and they give you a device to use for that. In circuit debugging is also possible thru the "20 Pin Header JTAG" but it is unclear if they actually provide the hardware to use that connector on the platform.

    I've used ET Team (they make the platform) for some unpopulated header boards that were of good quality. I banged around their website and generally liked what I saw.

    You may want to ask them if you need another header to do debugging and if yes do they sell one. You can do that right thru EBay.
     
  3. sujitn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
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    I believe it is basically in system programming. I'm just a little confused if i need a debugger or not and what programs i need on my PC. For example would AVR studio work with this type of board.
     
  4. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
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    Speaking from experience with programming ARM micrcontrollers, one thing you should bear in mind is that moving from an Arduino to an ARM represents a significant leap in programming challenges. The Arduino was designed to make programming accessible to a wider unsophisticated audience. As such it has succeeded in hiding a lot the messy stuff that is a basic part of programming a microcontroller from the programmer. Programming an ARM requires you to face the many complex aspects of programming to a degree that can be very intimidating.

    If you have not already taken a moment to do so, I suggest you go the the NXP website www.nxp.com and pull up the datasheet for the ARM you have chosen and read through it. It explains the details of the various registers used to configure the various functions supported by the ARM. If upon reviewng the text you still feel like you want to tackle the ARM as this time then I say go for it.

    hgmjr
     
  5. sujitn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
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    Thanks for your advice. I'm actually a 3rd year Electrical Engineering student. I've had relative programming experiance in C, C#, Matlab, VHDL etc. I'm also familar with signal processing and some control theory. Basically I'm a tad confused in regards to ISP vs JTAG? Will i require a JTAG debugger? Or can i just store my program on the boards flash memory?
     
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    You should have enough background to get started working with these things. Typically you can write your code in C and off you go.

    Keep in mind I am not an NXP guy, but another 2 cents worth follows:

    ISP (In System Programming) is done over an RS232 interface. The EBay page says they provide the hardware to load programs this way.

    That board call out a JTAG for debugging. As JTAG is a different communications standard then RS232 I cannot say if you can do in circuit debugging with the hardware as they supply. You make need another adapter.

    In circuit debugging is so helpful I would call it essential for debugging any complex work. It can be used to step thru your code as it runs inside your hardware and see what is happening from your PC.

    However, yes, it is possible to debug without it. Just not something you want to do.
     
  7. p.luc

    New Member

    Feb 11, 2012
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    When it comes to ARM microcontrollers really want to use a JTAG for debugging. Programming using a serial port or USB is there mostly for production.

    The best part (if you are not familiar with JTAGs) is that being a standard you may use the same JTAG on different MCU from different constructors (ST, NXP, Freescale, etc.).

    You still need to find an IDE that is compatible with your ARM and your JTAG.
     
  8. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I'm not sure its the best purchase, for a few dollars more you can get this;

    [​IMG]

    http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/792/easymx-pro-v7-for-stellaris-arm/

    Which has built in programmer/debugger, lots more onboard peripherals, better pin support for your development and lots of cheap plug-in peripheral devices you can add to it. And a newer ARM Stellaris microcontroller, with plug in board to use other micros etc.
     
  9. sujitn

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 5, 2012
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    Many thanks to all who have made my understand of Embedded systems much better.
     
  10. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,446
    3,362
    For $22 get the STM32F4DISCOVERY.
     
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