ST introduces ARM Cortex-M3 flash micros

01 August 2007

A family of 32bit flash microcontrollers has been announced by STMicroelectronics (www.st.com), based on ARM’s Cortex-M3 core. The STM32 family of 14 controllers challenge the perception of 32bit development as being dogged by price, complexity and processing power consumption obstacles.

It uses the 72MHz Cortex-M3 CPU, which is designed for embedded applications that require high performance, i.e. 1.25Drystone MIPS/MHz. ST’s UK and Eire area manager, Ollie Althorpe explains that the microcontrollers are designed for use by designers where development is not their primary job function.

Assembler code is not required and interrupt handling is set up on a vector or all in C, to make integration easier. The core uses the Thumb-2 iGA versions, ranging from 32k to 128kByte embedded flash sizes. Power consumption is modest, defying pre- conceptions of 32bit implementation, with 36mA at 72MHz, or 0.5mA/MHz. Peripherals are also plentiful, with the embedded flash memory, up to 20kByte RAM, up to two ADCs (12bit at one microsecond conversion); up to three UARTs, up to two SPIs and up to two I2C, up to three 16bit timers (four input capture and four output compare/ four PWM each) and a dedicated six-PWM timer with embedded dead times for regulation and motor control vector drive applications, USB, CAN and seven DMA channels.

Prices have been set to reduce the cost of developing 32bit. These range from the 32k flash, 48pin LQFP at $1.80 in volume (10,000) to the 128k flash version at $3.60. Samples are available now from ST and Anglia.

Development tools from ST include an evaluation board, USB developer’s kit and free software library. Third party tools include starter kits based on ARM core-based devices from Hitex, IAR, Keil and Raisonance.


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