FreeRTOS on STM32

A high-density line of STM32 microcontrollers has quite a bunch of features that can be used in user programs. The more features you add to source the more complicated program becomes and this way it starts to be difficult to keep up with all things. Using an only main loop and interrupts becomes a time-consuming task to manage. If you don’t want to struggle in tuning things up manually, you can use one of much real-time operating systems (RTOS). They are great when you need lots of separate functions to run in parallel so no task would be missed. RTOS scheduler takes care of giving each task a decent time to perform. There are lots of great RTOS systems around. Many of them are free and opensource. It happens so that I love using FreeRTOS which has a quite long history and is flexible enough to fit multiple types of…

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Driving Graphical LCD with STM32F103ZET6

STM32F103ZET6 board comes with 3.2 inches graphical LCD which features an ILI9320 controller. Equipped LCD is capable of displaying 252144 colors when driven in 18-bit mode. We are going to run it in 16-bit mode, so we are limiting it to 65K colors. LCD driver is based on existing code found on the internet which was originally developed for STM3210E board. Only minor modifications were needed like assigning right control pins.

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Connecting STM32 USART to standard I/O streams in GCC

In many situations when working with STM32 microcontrollers, you will want to output text strings. There is no need to write specialized functions that output specially formatted strings as it is hard to keep up with various cases. It is convenient to use standard I/O streams and its library functions that allows sending formatted data streams. Arm GCC toolchain comes with newlib C library from Redhat, and so it isn’t specially designed for embedded toolchain. To use stdio functions we have to take care of several syscals so-called “stub functions.” These functions usually are provided by operating systems like you would write C programs in Windows or Linux. In our case, we aren’t using any OS, os to avoid error messages while compiling we have to provide these function declarations where most of them are dummy implementations. It’s not something new pick one that you find on the internet. I…

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Interrupt based button read on STM32F103ZET6 board

In the previous example, we implemented a simple demo program that reads buttons by continually checking their status in the main program loop. This isn’t an efficient and convenient way to do that. Imagine your application has to do lots of tasks, and in between, you also need to check button status – mission becomes impossible unless you use interrupts. In this part, we briefly introduce to STM32F10x interrupt system and write example code where LEDs and buttons are serviced within interrupts. ARM Cortex-M3 microcontrollers have advanced interrupt system that is pretty easily manageable. All interrupts are controlled inside Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC) which is close to the Cortex core to ensure low latency and robust performance. Main features of NVIC include:

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Implementing buttons on STM32F103ZET6

Last time we have made a good starting point with setting up a project template for STM32F103ZET6 development board using GNU tools. Using the same project template, we can move forward and start programming other elements. This time a quick note about adding button library. This is a modest implementation which initializes port pins and then reads their status. Development board is equipped with four user programmable buttons named WAKEUP, TAMPER, USER1, and USER2. We are not going to care about the meaning of names use them as general purpose buttons for now.

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Driving LEDs with LPC2148 microcontroller

Couple years ago I have purchased LPC2148 development board called BlueBoard form ngxtexhnologes. It is quite powerful board with ATM7TDMI series microcontroller which is considered an old guy comparing to Cortex ones. But still these are widely used and are powerful. Development board has some handy features installed. 12MHz crustal allowing to run processor at full 60Mhz speed. Couple RS232 ports, VGA connector, PS/2 connector for keyboard or mouse, 20-pin JTAG, SD/MMC slot, USB B-type, 8 LEDs driven with serial-in parallel-out shift register, 2×16 LCD, buzzer, audio jack with amplifier, two programmable buttons and 256Kb of I2C interfaced EEPROM. Microcontroller itself has 512KB of internal flash and 32+8KB of RAM. All ports are accessible and any external hardware can be disconnected with jumpers. This is great board for prototyping and end application.

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LED blinky demo on STM32F103ZET6 development board

I found some time to play with the STM32F103ZET6 development board and decided to set up a simple project for it. Probably the trickiest part of this is to set up a project environment that would serve as a template for following developments. Many ARM developers chose CodeSourcery Lite edition toolchain. It has full command line functionality – this is what we usually need. If you want some alternative – you can select gnu yagarto ARM toolchain which is also great and free. No matter which tool you select code will work on both. Let’s stick to CodeSourcery. Just download it and install to your PC. As we said Lite version supports only command line tools – we need an interface for it. Eclipse IDE is one of the favorite choices so that we will grab this one too. Yagarto website has an excellent tutorial on how to set up…

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