Pushing prototyping with STM32F4Discovery to new level

STM32F4Discovery board is already quite powerful and stacked with many handy features. On a single board you can find 3 axis accelerometer, MEMS microphone, DAC with D class amplifier that can output sound through built in audio jack. Also there are couple LEDs and button for fast access. And of course, the core of this board is STM32F407VGT6 ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller that packs series of great features including DSP instructions and 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 own extension boards that include additional features, but why bother, since there already are several extension boards available for it. Lets go through them and see the features you could get without heating soldering iron.

STM32F4Discovery Base board

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

stm32f4_baseboard

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

3”5 LCD board

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

stm32f4_LCD

This is pretty standard 262K color 320×240 LCD with SSD2119 driver chip. It is also has 4-wire resistive touch screen. LCD can be connected to Base board using 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

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

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

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