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STM Discovery Board for Makers - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Product was easy to use: 8
Support materials were available: 9
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 57 / 60
  • RoadTest: STM Discovery Board for Makers
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Other STM32 Development boards and Discovery kits
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Installing STMCubeMx development environment on Debain 9 laptop.

  • Detailed Review:

    Firstly I would like to thank element14 for the opportunity to participate in this road test, STM32F769I – Discovery kit is great board to expore the feature of STM32F7 Series microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex-M7 core . The board at this point, enables a wide diversity of applications taking benefit from audio, multi- sensor support, graphics, security, video and high-speed connectivity features. In addition the board has Arduino shield at the back which makes your testing option limitless.At this point, I also wanted to mention that most of my review is based on the perspective of an hobbyist, so you may find a some biases in the scoring of the review.

     

    The uboxing experience of the board was nice. The board came in an hard covered plastic case as you see in the picture below, which was put in an bubble wrap envelope , and this came in a box with element14 branding.

     

    The first observation I made after unboxing the package was that the two screws which hold the plastic standoff to the board were loose in the box and I could here them rattling when I first opened the package.This had me concerned, because I dint know if the metallic screws would have damaged the board while it was on its way, but fortuanltly that was not the case.

    The first thing that hits your before you even get the board out of the package is the beautiful screen, which bring back memories  of the first iPhone. The 4-inch 800x472 LCD-TFT with capacitive touch panel is connected to the MIPI DSI interface of the STM32F769NIH6.

    And it is fitting that the screen comes with a screen protector

     

    The quick start guide/product description is a great addition to the kit and describes the feature on the board perfectly, instead to waiting for you computer to boot up going to internet to lookup the high level specification. And this is in same lines with other STM32 product packaging like the STM32 Nucleo

     

     

    On page 4 contains pin outs description for Arduino Shields, which should be a great way of prototyping with board.

    Now on first boot of the board using a micro USB cable connected to ST_Link connector, brings up the demonstration software, preloaded in the STM32F769NIH6 MCU Flash memory.

    As you see in the pictures below the demo software

     

    {gallery} STM32F769I DISCO demo software

    System Information

    Audio Player application

    Video Player

    Home Security system

    Audio Recorder demo

     

    The most impressive demo application VNC server application, which starts a VNC server on the discovery board and get a DHCP address from the router and I was also able to use a VNC client on my laptop to display the page as you see in the second picture below

     

     

    Here are some picture of the TouchGfx demo that comes installed on the discovery board. The TouchGFX framework enables you to create innovative embedded GUIs with high-end graphics and smooth animations on microcontrollers. It includes an easy-to-use GUI builder, TouchGFX Designer. The drag & drop tool flawlessly integrates into your TouchGFX development process. For more info check out the link at - https://github.com/draupnergraphics/touchgfx-open-repository

     

    {gallery} TouchGFX

     

    The Discovery board also comes with Embedded wizard demo, which is another farmework to build to build rich GUI applications. The IDE to develop code is called Embedded Wizard Studio. Embedded Wizard allows you to develop HMIs platform-independently. To port your GUI project to your dedicated environment, the platform-specific code is generated with the help of a so-called Platform Package. All target-specific aspects, such as the CPU architecture, operating system, and color format of the screen, are managed here. The Platform Package also includes the Chora compiler, which generates the code that will be executed on the target platform - in most cases ANSI-C.

     

    {gallery} Embedded Wizard

     

    Here is a quick video demo of the application like the Audio ,Video player and recorder application. The .wav files and video .avi files are copied on a USB and were downloaded from software section of STM32CubeF7 - STM32Cube MCU Package for STM32F7 series (HAL, Low-Layer APIs and CMSIS (CORE, DSP, RTOS), USB, TCP/IP, Fi… . The sound and video are crisp and clear and this board will be an ideal to add to my old speaker to give it an UI to play music.

     

     

     

     

    This is just part one of the Road test, and I have thoroughly enjoyed using this board and just awed by the amount of features this board has. As part of the second part of this road test, I plan to try out STMCubeMx and include ESP01 module to add Wifi. I tried installing STMCubeMx which is used to program STM32F769NIH6 discovery board,but my laptop is running Debian Stretch 32 bit, but after reading the documentation it looks like only 64 bit operating system are supported, which means I am going to have to loan my friends laptop for the month of February or run in on my work Ubuntu 16.04 Intel NUC. In addition, another thing I wanted to try is creating a simple application using the Embedded wizard, but it looks like install is via a .msi files which means I will need Windows to run this. So, stay tuned for more updates ! and my final thoughts on the STM Discovery Board for Makers ..


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