Which ARM dev board?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Paul57, May 27, 2011.

  1. Paul57

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2011
    15
    0
    I would like to find an ARM-based development board which I can program in assembler. It seems many/most PIC/AVR/ARM development environments are heavily biassed towards the C language which I have never used. I do have a reasonable grasp of ARM assembler (from using Acorn RISC computers in the 1990s) which I would like to use. As a newcomer to micro-controllers, I find the array of development boards available quite bewildering! This is the sort of thing I have been looking at:

    http://www.coolcomponents.co.uk/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=23_29_40&products_id=60

    Is there a suitable low-cost or free ARM assembler development environment (PC-based) available for this type of board?

    Thanks for you help.
     
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    You may want to consider the EasyARM from Mikroelektronica
    http://www.mikroe.com/eng/products/view/632/easyarm-v6-development-system/
    It has a BUNCH of goodies.

    GLCD with touch screen, eeprom an flash, USB, In-circuit-serial-debugging and programming, networking, a LED on EVERY PIN! and a bunch more.

    I own the EasyPIC 6 and it is a goldmine of education.

    It speeds along development and has HUGE library's worth of pre-written code, functions, etc.. This allows for much easer code-reuse and development, as well as learnind ASM, BASIC, C, PASCAL, or whatever language you wish to learn.

    Thats my 9 cents. ;)
     
  3. Paul57

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2011
    15
    0
    Thanks for the suggestion but that board is way over-the-top for my application. I just need a fast ARM-based board that I can program in assembler from a PC. I only need two bits of IO - 1 bit for input and 1 for output. I also need to transfer small amounts of data (around 960 bytes) every 400mS or so to a PC running my own VB.NET program. Ideally this will be via genuine USB rather than via serial or serial-to-USB converter.

    Looking for more suggestions; particular regarding a suitable ARM assembly language development environment.

    Thanks.
     
  4. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
    5,201
    312
    Ahh.. This is the kind of information you should have included in post #1.

    If you only need 2 i/o pins, why go ARM?

    When you say "fast", how fast?

    You can get 6 pin PICs that will go quite fast. 8 Mhz If I recall correctly.
     
  5. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    I don't know how much programming experience you have had with microcontrollers but I am just beginning to dabble into ARM software development and I can tell you without a doubt that programming an ARM is not for the faint of heart.

    If you want to get an idea of what you are biting off, I would suggest you take a look at an ARM processor datasheet. The one for the AT91SAM7X256 which is the one that I am starting to explore requires a 687 page datasheet to detail all of the features. It is quite a read let me tell you.

    hgmjr
     
  6. be80be

    Senior Member

    Jul 5, 2008
    431
    57
    I don't even think i would even want to try assembler. I been using NXP LPC1114

    This is about the easiest way to go and it cheap $22.00 US or 20 EUR

    http://search.digikey.com/scripts/D...ms&WT.content=text&WT.srch=1&WT.source=google

    http://www.embeddedartists.com/products/lpcxpresso/lpc1114_xpr.php
     
  7. Paul57

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2011
    15
    0
    I have zero experience of microcontrollers, unless you count building my own 6502-based board in the 1980s. This had a 6502, 6522 VIA, 16K RAM and 16K EPROM. Ah .... happy days ... ;-)

    As I said in my original post, I did a lot of ARM assembler programming about 15 years ago on Acorn Risc computers. Has the ARM language changed much since then? I am used to instructions like MOV, STR, LDR, STMIA, LDMIA, CMP, TST, BNE, BEQ, BL etc. Is this knowledge still relevant to modern ARM boards?
     
  8. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    Actually, it is not the language that I believe would be a problem. I believe you have a leg up in this department. What would really drive you nuts is initially configuring the device to do what you want to do. There are a number of registers that must be set to their proper state just to get the system clock to operate at the chosen frequency. Then you have a few registers that must be initialiized to get the digital IO into readiness. It is this housekeeping overhead that I believe you would find a challenge.

    All that said, I would not wish to discourage you from exploring ARM based solution to your project. Again I would recommend you take a look at the datasheet to see if you are comfortable with the device.

    You still need to tell us your definition of "fast". There are many very powerful microcontrollers out there that may be a better fit for your project.

    hgmjr
     
  9. Paul57

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 12, 2011
    15
    0
    I am currently playing with a 1995 Acorn A7000, which uses an ARM 7500 CPU clocked at (I think) 32MHz. This runs around 25 MIPS. This is just fast enough for my application, although something nearer 40 MIPS would be a bonus. I also need at least 4KB of RAM. I've looked at PICs and AVRs (Arduino etc) and the variety of boards available is just mind boggling for a newcomer to microcontrollers. I thought that an ARM-based board would give me a headstart as I know the assembler already and could use much of my existing code.

    I do have quite demanding data transfer needs as well. My board will be measuring audio frequencies almost continuously and will need to transfer approximately 1KB of data to a PC every 400mS or so. The PC will be running my own VB.NET program. The board will only have around 3mS of "down time" to initiate this transfer before getting back to it's primary task. Serial will not be fast enough. USB 2.0 should be OK.

    Any further thoughts from anyone would be much appreciated.
     
  10. hgmjr

    Moderator

    Jan 28, 2005
    9,030
    214
    OK. Sounds like you are pretty sure of your abilities so perhaps an ARM processor would serve your particular skill set and your project requirements.

    There are several ARM board choices located at www.sparkfun.com. Go to this link and to find the AT91SAM based boards. You may want to look around the site for other choices among the variety available from sparkfun's product line.

    hgmjr
     
Loading...