final embedded system in production

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by letItGo, May 23, 2016.

  1. letItGo

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 20, 2016

    I put a lot of effort to find out what I am going to ask but had not success. Besides this forum I searched through and too but nothing.
    What I try to find out?
    I make my whole system with microcontroller works. Diods lighting, communication with outside world also works, motor spinning... But what I do not know is how to make 10 or 20 finished products from that one on my desk. Specific questions are these:

    1. How to program mC which is not on development board? For example I used development board STM32F3DISCOVERY and now I want to make few tens of products with mC which is on that board.
    2. Case making? How can I be sure that temperature, moisture or physical impact do not disturb my system? Please consider that I have not 3D printer.
    3. Power choosing and realization? Battery or public power system? Where to put on board? Why?

    One more time I am sorry if I ask something which already exists here or ask something very stupid but I really did not succeed to find place where are described steps from system on desk to final product for production. Off course, I would like to do all of this on my own (if it is possible) without sending my schematic to some big company.
    P.S. I put these questions on some other forums so if I get answer I will put it here also.
    Thank you,
    Best Regards
  2. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    1 I can't help with that processor. A PIC processor would have an in-circuit programming mode, where you'd need to connect to 5 pins of the chip (2 of them are power and ground) and most development boards would have a matching connector to drive those pins. You do need to make sure that your design isn't using those programming pins for incompatible purposes, but there's usually a way to do this. This can lead you into a situation where the circuit board includes a connector which is used only once, but it may be the easiest way to deal with the requirement.

    2 and 3 Depends on what you need. Is this product going to crawl across the ocean bed, or will it live indoors, safely placed on a shelf?

    I have to say, your first message here has joined an AllAboutCircuits tradition where someone will come in and ask questions while guarding any information about the project as if it were a most precious secret.

    I put a lot of effort to find out what I am going to ask but had not success.
    Yes, I can see how that might happen.
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  3. letItGo

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 20, 2016
    First, thank you for fast response.

    1.) I find some schmetics for making PIC programming tool. So, programming PIC is not a problem. Sorry I did not mention that. But programming ARM mC out of developing board is still the problem.
    2.) 3.) It is not any secret about my project.I just supposed that someone would put here some general link about these issues. I try to make some wireless sensor network. Some mC will be put around with ZigBee modules watching some industrial processes and one mC will be something like server for all these modules. On tht one (server) I will put Linux with TCP/IP stack. That central mC is some kind of gateway to the Internet. So... All these mC should be properly secured from dust and physical impact. Wireless nodes should be battery driven but central is on public power network.

    I am sorry if this description is enough. Should I give some more details? I will be complitely satisfied if you share with me some your experiance, how you make some final product. Based on that experience I can search deeper.
    Thank you.
  4. jpanhalt


    Jan 18, 2008
  5. John P

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 14, 2008
    I work with little microcontrollers, not ARM-based stuff running Linux. Could a Raspberry Pi handle this interface?

    You haven't been totally clear about the battery-powered sensor units. "All these mC should be properly secured from dust and physical impact" is the right thing to say, but does that mean you know how to do it, or you don't? It's not difficult to look up "sealed enclosure", anyway. But there are questions related to battery power. You need to consider:

    Lifetime--must this be sealed up and run for years without service? If not, what's an acceptable service interval?
    Access--if it's got to be serviced, how difficult is it to get to the unit, and what can/must be done with it? Can it be taken away, or is it permanently installed?
    Battery type--single use or rechargeable? Recharge via external connector, or must case be opened (environmental versus convenience issues)?

    I think it would be good if the sensor units could monitor their own battery level, if they could transmit this data to the master unit. That might save on maintenance cost.

    Once again, I think if you're asking for help, you should be providing this information at the start.
  6. dannyf

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2015
    Use a programmer that will cost you from as little as a few dollars to ass mug as several thousand dollars
  7. DNA Robotics


    Jun 13, 2014
    You can rig an IC test clip to your programmer and program them in circuit or loose chips on the bench. IC test clip.jpg
  8. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    Read the STM32F4DISCOVERY User Manual UM1472.

    It explains what you need to do in order to program an embedded target MCU.

    Specifically, it clearly tells you to remove two jumpers at CN3 in order to switch from programming the onboard MCU to one connected to CN2 - SWD connector.
    ErnieM likes this.