mikroElektronika ARM development tools
Recently mikroElektronika has been so kind to send us a couple of samples of their latest ARM development tool series.
mikroElektronika is known for their broad range of development boards especially in the PIC series where the most common board is their EasyPIC board. Now they have done it again and come up with a new product line – the ARM series.
The great thing of their development boards are the high quality boards with a lot of peripherals, connectors and on-board features together with good and thorough documentation. mikroElektronika has also made their own compiler series for both Basic, C and the Pascal language. Therefor all of their boards of course also comes with a great number of example project for use with their compiler, which can be downloaded for free in a code size limited demo version.
I have been using their old EasyPIC5 board a lot in the past and I’ve actually gained a lot of my initial microprocessor knowledge thru that board.
If you are new to microprocessors I recommend you to get a board with different on-board features and a good number of connection options. In this case the mikroElektronika boards are great because all of the microprocessor I/Os are brought out to you on some connectors, where you can select which one to use, which one to pull-up or down etc. All of the I/Os is also connected to buttons and LEDs for simple, easy and fast debugging and prototyping.
Their new ARM series
When I bought my EasyPIC5 years ago mikroElektronika hadn’t decided to go into the ARM industry yet. Though recently they decided to do and there started designing development boards with ARM devices.
This ended up in a complete new ARM Solution series where the new development boards contained the Stellaris Cortex-M3 ARM processor running at 80MHz. As for today they have two different ARM development boards in two different price ranges. And as they’ve always did they also decided to make their own compiler for this selected ARM microprocessor series (Stellaris ARM). This ended up in of course both a Basic, C and Pascal version.
The largest one of their new ARM development boards, the EasyMx PROâ„¢ v7 for StellarisÂ® ARMÂ®, is similar in size and on-board functionalities as the EasyPIC.
This board contains everything from touch screen display, USB, Ethernet, Audio codec chip, CAN and a lot more, all with easy access and good silkscreen. In the heart of the board there is the Stellaris ARM interchangeable microprocessor board, which as standard comes fitted with the LM3S9B95 device.
The board does also contain an on-board programmer and debugger, so there is no need to invest in this for the prototyping. And of course the programmer/debugger integrates nicely with their IDE.
If this board is too big for your development/prototyping needs or budget there is also a cheaper and smaller alternative. The Mikromedia for StellarisÂ® M3 is a small touch screen enabled device with Audio codec, USB, microSD and Flash.
Even though the board doesn’t contain as many different on-board features like the EasyMX it is possible to expand the features a lot by using all of the broad out I/Os on the side of the board.
To make it a bit up of the missing features mikroElektronika has also made some shields for the board which can be plugged into the connector headers if soldered.
One of the shields is the Gaming shield which gives the use the opportunity to make his own gaming device by designing and programming his own games.
Speaking of designing mikroElektronika didn’t stop the software invention with their compiler series only.
They decided to make a simple designing software for touch screen based applications for use with all of their compilers.
With a simple drag-and-drop based interface, just like Visual Studio, you are able to design your own applications with text, buttons, images and other interactive systems by simply dragging the required things to the screen.
By a click on the Generation button the required code for your desired language (Basic, C or Pascal) is easily generated. Afterwards the code can be opened with the selected compiler/IDE where you can then add your own custom action code, compile it and upload it to your device.
Review of the different tools – unboxing
As mentioned mikroElektronika were so kind to send us a couple of samples of this new ARM series. They decided to send us the following tools:
- EasyMx PROâ„¢ v7 for StellarisÂ® ARMÂ®
- Mikromedia for StellarisÂ® M3
- mikromedia GAMING Shield
- mikroC PRO for ARM
- RS485 click 3.3V
You can visit the links for more information about each tool.
As you can see the list contains many different products so to give you an overview and a short introduction of each tool, I decided to make an unboxing video of the samples where I show the content of each product box and explain my first impressions.
In the video above the tools and the box content is simply shown to you guys.
In the following month I will be uploading some ongoing but separate videos about the review of each of the tools.
To make everything even better I will also be doing a couple of projects with the board where the code will be uploaded to our blog and their online code distribution community, LibStock
I hope you will enjoy this video unboxing and the upcoming reviews.
A big thanks go to mikroElektronika for their kind donation of these development tools.