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Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 9:07 pm
by madias
this thread belongs to all "beginners" to STM32Duino. I want to try to give a brief overview and guides for the F1 line.

There is a wide range of boards that are supported (some more, some less, some with additional hardware (programmer) some can be used "standalone") and it's not clear for the beginner to choose the "right" one.

Maple mini (clone) (highly recommended)
A "must have".
The best support is currently for the maple mini. You can get those "clones" for under 4 USD from aliexpress and/or Ebay. Better (if you can afford it) to buy two or more of them.
Features: STM32 F103RCBT6, 72 MHz, 120 KB Flash memory, 20 KB of SRAM and 34 GPIO's.
Additional hardware needed: No.
Support level in forum: Very high.

Nucleo-F103RB (my personal choice)
It depends on you country/location if you can get it as a bargain. Here in Europe I can get this "officially STM" board for about 13-14 Euros.
Features: STM32F103RBT6, 72 MHz, 120 KB Flash, 20 KB SRAM, 45 real(!) usable GPIO's.
The real feature of this board is, that you get a standalone ST-Link 2.1 for free that you can use for other STM32-MCU's. Advantage over the 2.0 version: The device is recognized as "storage device" so no drivers for uploading are needed. Just drag and drop the *.bin files. You can use the ST-Link for serial debugging this board.
Additional hardware needed: On board!
Support level in forum: by myself. Everything is currently working (pins, ADC, PWM, SPI, I2C, USART)
downside: To get full functionality you have to solder a little bit. (removing 0-Ohm resistors, some jumper bridges, nothing special)

please add some more boards

Additional hardware
not really needed with this boards above, but great (cheap) helpers:

USB Serial, FTDI USB TTL adapters

There is a wide range on aliexpress for that devices between 1.5 and 4 USD. I prefer the FTDI, but the super cheap USB to Serial Sticks do also their job. Better to have at least one. ("Reanimate" a dead board with uploading a new bootloader via serial)

ST-LInk 2.0
a comfortable STM Uploader for about 4-5 USD with "real" debugging capacity. A "nice to have" (or you grab the nucleo ;) )

Saleae Logic analyzer (clone)
A great little helper for under 10 USD, 8 channels, 24MHZ (maximum). A must have for debugging USART, SPI, I2C

Ok, that's all for now, please feel free to expand this thread with your experiences and suggestions for the beginners!


Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Thu May 07, 2015 11:33 pm
by Luc_Exe
Good work, madias! I was missing a thread like this, could have helped me save time trying to figure out how to use the generic board I bought.

Adding an image of the board may help too.

Let me know if Im ok. There will be 3 categories: recomended boards (like the mapple, just plug and start developing), for the adventurer (generic boards wich need some trick and time to get started, much less info), and non recomended boards (like the one with false/wrong pin labels, bad assembled).

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Fri May 08, 2015 12:34 am
by mrbwa1
I'm supposed to be working on the labeled pin outs, but have been sidetracked by some family stuff. Once I get the basic stuff there, I will share it out so we can do pinouts for more boards.

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 5:03 pm
by robtillaart
Do you have a reseller / distributor list per country? Or do you know where to find a list?

Are there already "beginner kits" available?

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 6:25 pm
by madias
At first there are no "beginner kits" for STM32-Arduino. It's a "little" community project and I would say it's not a good idea to start with that project, if somebody has no experience with (rewriting) libraries, IDE setup or even MCU's. Ok, the "beginner" can buy a mini and only use the contributed libraries.
Most of us buying the boards from aliexpress (the maple minis) and/or ebay. Otherwise the nucleos can be bought at every bigger local electronic store (or national webshop or even directly via STM) So there is (on ali) no restriction to countries or additional shipping costs. You can look into the "aliexpress" thread in this forum, there are some shops posted.

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Mon May 11, 2015 6:56 pm
by bleistiftspitzer
a good beginners board is the OLIMEX OLIMEXINO-STM32 ... INO-STM32/
At first you have all what you need ..
many Distributor have these boards i.e. and many local ...



Posted: Mon May 11, 2015 11:39 pm
by RogerClark

Do you have an Olimex board ?

If so have you tried it with the Arduino_STM32 repo?

Looking at the installation docs, it looks like its the same as a Maple Rev3.

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 7:11 pm
by bleistiftspitzer
Yes I have this OLIMEX board, it is a MAPLE REV3.
I works with the ARDUINO_STM32 but I have problems with my old sketches because I have some one lib modifications.
I work with the original boadloder it works fine white touch the Reset while is linking. I don't check the driver installation.
I use a work around for WIN7-64bitwith the libusb-libs at

The board has nice features:
9V to 30V (used for industrial 24V), ULTRA LOW POWER voltage regulators, Li-Ion rechargeable battery power supply option with a BUILD-IN on board charger,micoSD-card for data logging.
What is bad on this board:
The direct connecting of Vbat(pin1) to Vdd (pin64) -> it is difficult to connect a back up battery for the RTC / RAM
(use a Jumper or resitor for the connection of Vbat and Vdd)
I miss a EEPROM, a Flash EEPROM emulation is not a real good because, to less Write Cycles ~1000 - 10000
The AT24C64 has 1 Million Write Cycles and you find some types from STM with 4 million cycles.
This comment to the board are also good for the "Custom Communitydev board "

Re: Olimex

Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 9:53 pm
by RogerClark
Unfortunately you will need to make some changes to your old sketches

Leaflabs deviated from the Arduino API with things like SerialUSB and having extra functions like toggleLED etc

So it had all been updated to make it more main stream.

As a lot of users are using "generic" boards, the BOARD_LED_PIN define and the one for the button were removed - also the Arduino does not have a define for these, I.e everyone has to put 13 into their UNO code for the led pin (other boards use different led pin, e.g. Pro micro )

The changes were not that extensive, so I don't think it should be too difficult to update your existing code

Re: Guide: "I'm new here - which board should I buy?"

Posted: Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:42 am
by mbruck
Hi !

I just buyed STM32F103C8T6 based board from ebay less than 5$. Can I use it with STM32duino ?
But Madias recomended STM32F103RCBT6 (about 9$). I hope not made mistake.

I have some general question about "my" board:
- Is there bootloader inside or I should write it. I mean can we use boards similar as arduino.
If there is no bootloader, can I use cheap ST-LINK clone you recomended.

Regards !