Hacked ARM dev board gives you two for the price of one!

[Matt Evans] took a closer look at the popular (and cheap) STM32F0 Discovery development board and realized he could get a second board out of the deal.

The Discovery board is designed to advertise ST Microntroller’s STM32F0 microchip; which with 8k RAM, 64K Flash, a bunch of peripherals,  48MHz clock, and a low price is a great chip. Though, they needed a way to program the STM32F0. To do this they added a second, more powerful, chip to the board as an interface. The STM32F103, with 20k RAM, 64K flash, and a 72MHz clock speed. [Matt] summoned genius, and simply sawed the board in half using a hacksaw.

Of course the caveat to all this is that you need a working Discovery board, or at least a working ST-LINK programmer, at the end of the day, to get any use out of your creation. Since the boards are so cheap though, it shouldn’t be a problem to buy two.

Comments

  1. crenn says:

    Interesting use of the board, got one of these boards on order myself, just waiting for delivery! Should be noted if you have any of the discovery boards, it comes with the STMF103 as the ST-Link section.

  2. Bob says:

    I thought the ST Discovery boards were way too big. So not only did I design my own, smaller ARM board, but I designed it to be cut even smaller with a hacksaw.

    I call it the Black Knight board, after the guy in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who keeps fighting after having pieces cut off. You can see the details at http://www.galacticstudios.org/blackknight/

  3. RicoElectrico says:

    I think the same could be done to the Launchpad – programmer side features a MSP430F1612 which is actually more powerful than any Value Line part: 55K+256B Flash and 5 KB RAM, HF xtal. There is some software out there from TI that can upgrade programmer’s firmware.

  4. Josh Malone says:

    TI does this, too, on the Launchpad dev board. The “programmer” part of the board is a more powerful SMD MSP420 chip that the device being programmed…. and IIRC the board is even perforated to detach the “programmer” part. Haven’t tried accessing the programmer chip directly though.

  5. ju1ce says:
  6. Ben Nahill says:

    Similarly, if anyone is using the LPCXpresso kits for Cortex-M0/3, there’s a 190MHz ARM9 being used as the debugger that can be repurposed…

  7. darhuuk says:

    NXP does this on purpose as well on their LPCXpresso development boards. You can break off the programmer part of the board, which then functions as a standalone JTAG programmer/debugger.

  8. fonz says:
  9. beta4 says:

    Actually you don’t need an ST-Link, an FT232 USB to serial is more than enough to program the board using stm32flash (https://code.google.com/p/stm32flash/). Now, for in-circuit debugging it’s whole differnt story, ofcourse.

  10. calin says:

    I don’t really see the point of cutting the board just to use it as a JTAG dongle. The board has jumpers on it so you can use it as a dongle .. no need to cut for that.

    Of course if you really want the other half somewhere else then cut away :)

    • Lawrence says:

      Hackaday likes featuring pictures of hacksaws with boards :)

      I agree.. what’s the point. Its so cheap that its barely worth the effort even if you could get two boards out of it.

    • MattE says:

      Hi! :) Really this started because as you say I needed the CM0 part smaller to fit a project case; then I figured if I did the same with the other board I could re-use the top half too (as I don’t need two SWD dongles). The boards are mahoosive otherwise!

  11. Hirudinea says:

    It’s also really nice of the company to print there web link on the board right where you have to cut it too, maybe they really designed the board for dissection.

  12. The Geekiest Guy says:

    Buy two, cut them in half.
    Use one to program the other three, not a bad deal….

  13. Galane says:

    Finally! Some actual hack(saw)ing of electronics on HaD.

  14. Angel G. says:

    The same is the case with stm32F4discovery. If I get Discovery, I pay ~12 EUR wo VAT, Ii I want just a bare chip STM32F407Vxxx, I pay ~10 EUR. With discovery I get extra CPU, MEMS mic, 2x Quartz crystals, I2S DAC, etc. for 2 EUR more.

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