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STMicroelectronics Discovery Kit for IoT node - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 7
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 5
Demo Software was of good quality: 9
Product was easy to use: 4
Support materials were available: 5
The price to performance ratio was good: 7
TotalScore: 37 / 60
  • RoadTest: STMicroelectronics Discovery Kit for IoT node
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered:
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Documentation for development. Free tools that are good to use.

  • Detailed Review:

    As I should, I would like to thank Element14 and STMicroelectronics for selecting me to review the B-L475E-IOT01A1, which is a STM32L4475 Discovery board. When I signed up, I did a quick search and it looked like there were many tools for working with this board and I was not wrong, there are.  The board also has many sensors built in and I was very excited to use a few of them to monitor my basement and control the lights that are in the basement.

     

    First thing was to try out the STLink to see if I can see the board. 

    Then I plugged in the device

    Then I ran the upgrade

     

    After I had the board found and updated, I ran the demo that comes on the board and these instructions in the  STM32L4 Discovery Kit IoT Node Hands-on Workshop. There are many tutorials on how to run the demo and how to set it up and the biggest challenge I had was getting the AWS certificate in correctly, but if you follow the instructions and use Tera Term, like they say to use and do not try to use puTTY, then it works. I do not think puTTY has the same ability to paste in the same way as Tera Term and is needed, but I tried.

     

    Here are some other links to instructions I found useful.

    https://docs.aws.amazon.com/freertos/latest/userguide/getting_started_st.html

     

    Here is some of my output to the AWS cloud via MQTT.  Very nice feature and the project could have stopped here.

     

    Once I got the demo working, I was seeing data in AWS via MQTT and this worked great.
    
    **************************************************************************
    ***              STM32 IoT Discovery kit for STM32L475 MCU             ***
    ***                  Cloud Connectivity Demonstration                  ***
    **************************************************************************
    
    
    *** Board personalisation ***
    
    
    Press the User button (Blue) within the next 5 seconds if you want to change the configuration
    (Wifi and AWS security credentials)
    
    
    
    
    *** WIFI connection ***
    
    
    Initializing the WiFi module
    Module initialized successfully: Inventek eS-WiFi FW rev: C3.5.2.3.BETA9
    Retrieving the WiFi module MAC address
    MAC address: c4:7f:51:04:36:df
    Connecting to AP: blizzard
      Attempt 1/3
    Connected to AP
    Retrieving the IP address.
    IP address: 192.168.2.176
    Setting the RTC from the network time.
    Configuring the RTC from Date: Sat, 11 Nov 2017 12:30:05 GMT
    
    
    *** AWS connectivity demonstration ***
    
    
    AWS IoT SDK Version 2.1.1-
    MQTT connection in progress...
      Attempt 1/3
    Connected to a3ouep8n3x6hbu.iot.us-east-2.amazonaws.com:8883
    Subscribed to topic $aws/things/SENSORS_1/shadow/update
    Subscribed to topic $aws/things/LED_1/shadow/update/accepted
    Press the User button (Blue) to publish LED desired value on the $aws/things/LED_1/shadow/update topic
    
    
    Published to topic $aws/things/SENSORS_1/shadow/update:
    Temperature:  27.20
    Humidity   :  32.90
    Pressure   :  1001.92
    Proximity  :  8190.00
    ACC-X      :     0      ACC-Y:    34    ACC-Z:  1025
    GYR-X      : -1190      GYR-Y:  1260    GYR-Z:  1120
    MAG-X      :   557      MAG-Y:  -689    MAG-Z:    35
    
    
    
    
    MQTT subscribe callback......
    Temperature:  27.20
    Humidity   :  32.90
    Pressure   :  1001.92
    Proximity  :  8190.00
    ACC-X      :     0      ACC-Y:    34    ACC-Z:  1025
    GYR-X      : -1190      GYR-Y:  1260    GYR-Z:  1120
    MAG-X      :   557      MAG-Y:  -689    MAG-Z:    35
    
    
    
    
    Published to topic $aws/things/SENSORS_1/shadow/update:
    Temperature:  27.20
    Humidity   :  32.90
    Pressure   :  1001.93
    Proximity  :  8190.00
    ACC-X      :     1      ACC-Y:    31    ACC-Z:  1025
    GYR-X      : -1190      GYR-Y:  1120    GYR-Z:  1120
    MAG-X      :   555      MAG-Y:  -700    MAG-Z:    30

     

     

     

    Next I tried the STM32L4 Discovery Kit IoT Node Hands-on Workshop document supplied by ST, that appears to be from a conference.  I found this useful in getting started and learned how to use STM32CubeMX and I adjusted what was in there to use with System Workbench for STM32 for my IDE to write a blink program.  Super simple, but I did have to figure out how to export the code correctly to the System Workbench to get it to work.  The PDF Hand-on Workshop turned out to be a great resource and I think this is where I will find out how to do more, but it did not directly address my need to test in my setup.

     

    The biggest issue I was running into is how to get the network to work.  I tried for days and dug through code and searched for examples and I figured this would be the easy part, but I totally got stuck here.

     

    I have written an Arduino blink program too using the board support from: Arduino for STM32 - Index page. I was able to read the temperature, but still no WiFi support from them yet.

     

    Future plans

    I still plan on using this board and I will press on with learning.  When I started I did not know the learning curve was going to be so steep.  I had to move my basement project forward with other hardware, but there are still holes where I think this development board will work better.


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