To better reach enthusiasts and influencers, ST is now working with Amazon to offer STM32 and STM8 NUCLEO boards, Discovery kits, and other development tools in five of the reseller’s European stores. To celebrate this milestone, we are holding our first Black Friday and Cyber Monday Amazon sales ever on STM32 NUCLEO boards. Many know that ST leads the embedded market with its record-breaking microcontrollers since it sold more than three billion STM8 and two billion STM32 MCUs worldwide. However, driving innovation also means supporting universities and communities, strengthening the dreamers designing in their garage, and the innovators that want to change the world from their bedrooms. Hence, ST is making it easier than ever for them to get a hold of these NUCLEO boards and some of their expansion cards by selling them on Amazon, with all the benefits that it entails, such as free or affordable shipping.
As Amazon introduced its Business Industry and Science initiative in Europe, ST joined in to make some of its solutions available through the popular reseller. We started in January 2017 and carefully increased the number of products available. Today, ST is in five Amazon marketplaces (France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, and Spain), and ships in 28 European countries. We’ve sold thousands of boards, and keep looking into expanding our reach. Indeed, regular readers know it’s in our DNA to go where enthusiasts are, whether it’s GitHub or cities around the world, and its this spirit that drove us to make it easier for builders to find our products. Hence, we’d like to take this opportunity to go over some of the most popular topics on the blog this year to show what anyone can do with some of the boards on sale at Amazon during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
How to Build a LoRa Network?
Sub-Gigahertz networks were prevalent in 2017, in part because using them has become simpler, as we showed in our 6LoWPAN tutorial, but choosing the right protocol remains an essential aspect of every IoT project. Hence, the LoRa Discovery kit B-L072Z-LRWAN1, on sale today, is a beautiful way to start experimenting with this technology, and our video on how to set up a complete LoRa node in 10 minutes will jump start any endeavor. The board itself uses an STM32L0 MCU with 20 KB of SRAM, and 192 KB of Flash, to make it easy to run application code. It also includes a long-range LoRa and FSK/OOK modem from Murata, and its many accessible peripherals, such as its 16-bit timer, LP-UART, I2C, SPI, and USB 2.0 modules, greatly facilitate developments.
On top of that, ST offers the I-CUBE-LRWAN, a free expansion pack that contains the LoRa stack as well libraries, source codes, and application examples, to quickly understand the features available. For instance, it only takes two B-L072Z-LRWAN1 boards, and the files in the I-CUBE-LRWAN pack (/STM32CubeExpansion_LRWAN_V1.1.2/Projects/Multi/Applications/LoRa/PingPong) to set up a ping pong application where the two boards send data back and forth to one another, which will be the first step in creating the LoRa network needed to run an IoT application. Of course, this will require users to have a compatible toolchain. However, ST knows that this can be a hefty investment to newcomers, which is why we also offer the free IDE System Workbench for STM32 (or SW4STM32) on Windows, Linux, and OS X.
How to Build a Motor Control (Hardware)?
Another popular topic continues to be motor control. The recently launched STSPIN32F0(A) shows how smarter drivers can completely change the performance, speed, and features of one’s design. Indeed being able to precisely command a motor opens the door to new possibilities, but it’s hard to know where to begin. Hence, the P-NUCLEO-IHM002 kit, also on sale on Amazon during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, is a fantastic place to start.
The kit includes a feature-rich NUCLEO-F302R8 board, an X-NUCLEO-IHM07M1 expansion board using an L6230 six-step brushless DC motor control, a three-phase motor BR2804–1700KV–1, and even a power supply with a wall adapter to make the entire set up easier to use. Hence, there’s everything one needs to develop an application, and a video on another motor driver can even help beginners take their first steps. The system relies on an STM32F3 MCU that uses a Cortex-M4 architecture with an FPU, and a clock speed of 72 MHz. The motor control is also flexible since it offers a sensorless as well as a sensor mode to remain compatible with the broadest array of motors possible.
How to Build a Motor Control (Software)?
Once enthusiasts get their hands on a P-NUCLEO-IHM002 kit, there are two software packages that they ought to try. The first one is the X-CUBE-SPN7, an expansion pack with all the firmware, drivers, and APIs needed to build applications using the L6230. There’s even a pre-compiled binary in the path “/STM32CubeExpansion_SPN7_V1.1.0/Projects/Multi/Examples/MotorControl/Binary/P-NUCLEO-IHM001”. As a result, users can simply connect their kit to the USB port of a PC, and drag and drop the .bin file found in that folder onto the storage volume in the Operating System that represents the NUCLEO board (the expansion board must be plugged in). This will allow them to start testing the motor control application provided without entering a single line of code or open an IDE.
To top it off, ST also makes its FOC (Field-Oriented Control) available for free in the form of its STSW-STM32100. This method of controlling a motor is particularly tricky as it demands that the movements of the stator adopt a vectorial representation in a two-coordinate system. The benefits are massive when it comes to precision, but developing such a solution from scratch is not for the faint-hearted. However, by only downloading the ST software, even beginners can enjoy the benefits of a FOC algorithm, and a graphical user interface simplifies the process even further.
How to Use a NUCLEO Board as a Classroom?
Finally, since there’s always such a massive interest from our community around the STM32L4 platforms, even more so since the recent launch of the STM32L4+ family of products, we have to talk about the NUCLEO-L496ZG. It’s one of the boards on sale today, and it houses one of the most powerful STM32L4 MCU, which opens new developers to a world of possibilities. Thanks to its FPU (Floating Point Unit), 320 KB of SRAM, and 1 MB of Flash, beginners don’t have to worry too much about optimizing their application. The extra memory and computational throughput will offer a much more forgiving development environment. They also get access to lots of peripherals, and an LCD driver in case they’d like to add a screen.
Once enthusiasts get their board, they can download the STM32CubeL4 to get the necessary drivers, middleware, and libraries that will enable them to run an application on the NUCLEO-L496ZG. However, beginners can go to “/STM32Cube_FW_L4_V1.10.0/Projects/STM32L496ZG-Nucleo/Demonstrations/Adafruit_LCD_1_8_SD_Joystick” and install the pre-compiled application by dragging and dropping it onto the STM32 volume that appears when they connect the board to their PC. The program will look for the Adafruit 1.8″ 18-bit Color TFT Shield with microSD and Joystick, a board that’s also readily available from Amazon. If it finds it, the application will take a picture from the memory card and display it on the screen automatically. Since the source code for this application is open and available in the STM32CubeL4 package, users can learn how it works. Hence, the NUCLEO-L496ZG can become a fantastic pedagogical experience for anyone interested in understanding embedded systems.
What Will Your Black Friday Be Like?
It’s impossible to expand on all the ST products on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday on Amazon, but we hope that the few boards that we talked about, and the steps we offered to start using them, will make you feel that new opportunities are now at your fingertips. Indeed, this blog post offers but a taste of the many offerings that are now within reach of students, enthusiasts, and those with a passion for smart systems.
This initiative opens a new world of possibilities that makes IoT, embedded devices, and low-power systems more affordable, and accessible to more creators, wherever they are. In fact, we’d love to know what products you think of getting and what you plan on doing. We invite you to share your thoughts and experience in the comments section below. We can’t wait to hear from you and see what you’ll do with the new technologies at your disposal.
- Check out all the ST products on Amazon France, Italy, Germany, United Kingdom, and Spain
- Check out all the STM32 Nucleo boards on sale on Amazon during Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- The P-NUCLEO-IHM001 uses precisely the same boards as the P-NUCLEO-IHM002 but doesn’t offer a power supply. Hence, their binaries are interchangeable. ↩