STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Limited support for STM32F3 based boards, e.f STM Discovery and Nucleo line
MGeo
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STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby MGeo » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:02 am

I have a project where I have converted the low cost STM32F103C8 based mini development board to an STM32F303CC board. The extra performance of the F3 and its FPU were needed here for real time PID control purposes. The conversion was straight forward chip swap although I found it pushed my soldering skills some. The cost impact to the BOM is about $0.50 extra in quantity for the F3. In exchange you get an FPU and way more flash.

Project link here:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2583330
See post #2 for details on the chip swap.

I'm hoping for broader support of the F3 as a target in Arduino. It is pin compatible with F1, so it would be a straight forward change for the China board suppliers to swap chips on the mini dev board. It would open up high performance real time closed loop applications to low cost Arduino STM32 applications.

Thanks,
George

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mrburnette
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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby mrburnette » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:27 pm

@MGeo:

The official M3 support policy is: http://www.stm32duino.com/viewtopic.php?t=41

But after watching your video, I'm in the "wow mode" at your successful attempt at F3 transplant. I've done some work with my hot-air device and I'm a competent soldering person having my first soldering iron at age 11 to assemble a Knight Kit super-regenerative receiver. But I do not think I would tackle what you did. Congrats.

Maybe your callout for F3 Arduino support will inspire some of our members; who knows?


Ray
Last edited by mrburnette on Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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mrmonteith
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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby mrmonteith » Wed Feb 03, 2016 1:34 pm

George,
Great work. I didn't know about the Chip Quick stuff. That was interesting in itself.

One thing you get that I noticed is a DAC on the 303, which the 103 didn't have. I'm sure there are other differences. It would be great to see these come out using the same board.

Michael

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby racemaniac » Wed Feb 03, 2016 7:26 pm

mrmonteith wrote:George,
Great work. I didn't know about the Chip Quick stuff. That was interesting in itself.

One thing you get that I noticed is a DAC on the 303, which the 103 didn't have. I'm sure there are other differences. It would be great to see these come out using the same board.

Michael

Also nice is that the 303 has i2s capabilities on its spi ports, which the 103 only has on models with a higher pincount :).
I was thinking about doing some experiments with i2s, so i think i'm also going to hack together a bluepill with a 303 on it :). Awesome that the pinouts are indeed identical XD.

MGeo wrote:The cost impact to the BOM is about $0.50 extra in quantity for the F3. In exchange you get an FPU and way more flash.

How did you come to that? I looked um the F303CC on aliexpress, and just the chip itself is > 4€ per piece even in larger quantities, while a f103c8 board just costs 2.5€.

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby MGeo » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:51 am

Thanks everyone for the nice comments.

mrburnette wrote:@MGeo:
Maybe your callout for F3 Arduino support will inspire some of our members; who knows?
Ray


That is my hope. I think if more people compared the two chips side by side they would realize how much more powerful the F3 is vs F1, for very little incremental cost.

I have average to above-average soldering skills, and the swap ended up being tedious. So not really practical for most hackers. I think this Arduino STM32 project is the only hope for mass availability. Kind of chicken or the egg thing. I love my F103 mini dev boards, the cheap and readily available swiss army knife. I was introduced to them by the group here. I am following the Black Magic Probe on F103 here and think the idea of cheap debug probe debugging an equally cheap dev boards is awesome. Single stepping through code in Eclipse is a few light years ahead of Serial.print().

My project above highlighted how much more powerful the F3 chips are. The high performance racing drone flight controller boards are all moving over from F103 to F303 chips because of the increased performance and features.

I think the only way cheap readily available F303CC versions of the mini-dev board will happen would be for this project to embrace it. It would present a ready made market for the more powerful and inexpensive mini-dev board. The pin compatible F3 (http://www.st.com/web/en/resource/techn ... 073522.pdf) is a simple BOM change for the ShenZhen board manufactures in China that command the low cost board market. I have a dream...

On the cost difference, I got my data from Mouser and DigiKey. My 50 cent guess was just a little optimistic by 43 cents. Close enough, still a small number given the increased power and features (256K of flash, DFU, hardware serial port inversion are really nice). The cost difference may get closer at higher quantities.

From Mouser.com
STM32F103C8: 2,500: $2.94
STM32F303CC: 2,500: $3.87

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby racemaniac » Thu Feb 04, 2016 12:56 pm

MGeo wrote:From Mouser.com
STM32F103C8: 2,500: $2.94
STM32F303CC: 2,500: $3.87

Strange, then i wonder where the chinese webshops are getting theirs from 0_o
Even in small quantities you get the 103 for little over a dollar, and the entire bluepill board for little over 2$
when searching for the 303cc they cost about 7$ in small quantities (and dropped to 4.5$ in large quantities)
So in the end i ordered a 303cb for my modification, i'll have a bit less memory, but i don't mind, and i could buy those for 3.5$ a piece in small quantities :).
If the cheap chinese manufactres would replace the 103 by a 303, i would expect the costs of those cheap boards to triple (and with hardly anyone knowing about those little things... they'd hardly sell....)

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mrmonteith
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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby mrmonteith » Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:55 pm

The 103 boards are costing me about $3.53 with free shipping. I doubt that it will cost them triple. If they can use the same boards they might go for it. It's a matter of them getting the message.

I've been looking at the STM32F4 Stamp that one guy came up with. He's not making any more but the information is out there to make new boards. I'm sure it will cost me a lot more to make it but looks intriguing still. It's based on the STM32F405. A big jump in power too.

I guess it comes down to if you need that kind of processing power is it worth the cost difference? For me anything under $20 is reasonable enough not to worry. But I've got enough keeping me busy right now. Not enough time to play with all my toys. :lol:

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby racemaniac » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:11 pm

mrmonteith wrote: I guess it comes down to if you need that kind of processing power is it worth the cost difference? For me anything under $20 is reasonable enough not to worry. But I've got enough keeping me busy right now. Not enough time to play with all my toys. :lol:

I think having enough time is practically impossible XD. It's a very recognizable sentiment :). And i agree, anything under 20$ is reasonable (but if i can get it cheaper, why not ^^. I'll basically have very small f303 boards for 6$ and some difficult soldering XD. that's going to be awesome XD.
I was actually looking if i could find any boards with such specs, now i have :).

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby mrburnette » Thu Feb 04, 2016 2:19 pm

mrmonteith wrote:<...>
I've been looking at the STM32F4 Stamp that one guy came up with. He's not making any more but the information is out there to make new boards. I'm sure it will cost me a lot more to make it but looks intriguing still. It's based on the STM32F405. A big jump in power too.


From what I gather from reading over the past year, the F3 probably could be working with the Leaflabs core files used as a template... but, still lots of work.
The F4, however, does not seem to lend itself to the monolithic approach used on the F1. Sheepdoll or someone who is really knowledgeable in this area needs to correct me as I have neither uC here so no practical experience.

Ray

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Re: STM32F303CC on Cheap Mini Dev Board: Support for SMT32F3

Postby RogerClark » Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:59 pm

I cant see a lot of demand for a $20 board, when there is now the RPiZero and the CHIP , and many other similar boards in the sub $20 category, which have much more computing power, as well as more ram etc.

The price point on the ESP32 will also be interesting, as currently the price / performance on the ESP8266 is quite compelling, to the point where its worth using purely as a MCU even if you don't want WIFi.

Also, Nordic Semi have announced an updated Bluetooth Low Energy SoC to supersede the nRF51 series, called, not surprisingly the nRF52, which is cortex M3.
Im not sure on pricing, but I was buying nRF51 modules, for around $5, which have 256k flash and 16k ram, but the nRF51 only runs at 16MHz
So anyone wanting an MCU and BLE ....


Too many choices;-)


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