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Pushing prototyping with STM32F4Discovery to new level

STM32F4Discovery board is already quite powerful and stacked with many handy features. You can find a three-axis accelerometer, MEMS microphone, DAC with D class amplifier that can output sound through the built-in audio jack on a single board. Also, there are a couple of LEDs and a button for fast access. Of course, this board’s core is the STM32F407VGT6 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller that packs a series of great features, including DSP instructions and a floating-point unit.

stm32f4discovery

But eventually, with such power, you will miss several other handy features that could be used in your project. Think of LCD, Ethernet, RS232 interface, and even camera. You could start making your extension boards that include additional features, but why bother since several extension boards are available for it. Let us go through them and see the features you could get without a heating soldering iron.

STM32F4Discovery Baseboard

The list starts with STM32F4Discovery Baseboard. This board should come first if you are going to add any further extensions. It has a socket where the Discovery board fits nicely on top.

stm32f4_baseboard

Baseboard expands STM32F4Discovery with several handy interfaces, including 10/100 Ethernet interface with RJ45 connector, RS232 interface with a connector, micro SD card slot, a connector for graphical LCD board, camera interface, and other function pins that are not directly used.

3”5 LCD board

When you have a baseboard, you can attach another part – a graphical LCD board with the touch interface. LCD kit comes with a flat-flex connector cable and standoff screws for more convenient use.

stm32f4_LCD

This is a pretty standard 262K color 320×240 LCD with an SSD2119 driver chip. It also has a 4-wire resistive touch screen. LCD can be connected to Baseboard using a 16-bit parallel interface.

Camera board

If you want to do some fancy stuff with imaging, there is also a camera expansion board available.

stm32f4dis_extensions

The camera module is based on a 1.3megapixel CMOS sensor with a resolution of up to 1280×1024 pixels. Using the LCD and memory card, you could make a simple point shoot camera to take still photos or make videos (15fps SXGA or 30fps VGA). Using a MEMS microphone on the discovery board, you could also add sound to the video. I think it would be more fun to experiment with image processing using floating-point and DSP functionality of Cortex -M4F. The camera board connects to the Baseboard connector using a flex cable.

This is not a completed list of available modules and features. Check out the Newark website to find more boards and modules. The next available is a Wi-Fi expansion board, and who knows, maybe there will be more.

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