The Catweazle Mini: A Super Small ARM Based Embedded Platform


There has been a recent trend in miniaturizing embedded platforms. [Jan] wrote in to tell us about his very tiny ARM based embedded platform, the Catweazle Mini. Who knew that an ARM based system could be so simple and so small?!?

With the success of the Trinket and Femtoduino (miniature Arduino compatible boards) and many other KickStarter campaigns, it is only natural for there to be a mini platform based on the ARM architecture. Built around the NXP LPC810 ARM Cortex M0+ MCU at 30MHz (which only costs slightly more than $1, by the way), this small embedded platform packs some pretty impressive processing power. The board contains a simple linear regulator, and can be programmed via UART. [Jan’s] development environment of choice is the mbed compiler, which is free and requires no installation. If you need some help getting started Adafruit has a nice guide for the LPC810.

Do you need some more processing power for your next wearable project? Be sure to use the Catweazle Mini.

25 thoughts on “The Catweazle Mini: A Super Small ARM Based Embedded Platform

      1. DIP8 packages are huge. The SMD Members of the LPC800 family are actually much smaller, despite having more I/O.

        I made this board a while ago, a LPC810 is shown as reference below:

        The chip is a TSSOP LPC812 with 4 time the memory of the LPC810. The entire break out board is probably not much larger than the one in the article above.

  1. I reckon that a 3.3v version could be made even smaller. In fact, ditch the LED and it might even be possible to get it into a breadboard-friendly 0.1″ pitch DIP layout. (BF0PDL®)

    I’m going to do it. I’ll put it on Kickstarter! I shall call it the Catpizzleduino3.3 and sell via my website as the World Record Holding Smallest Arm Development Platform (WRHSADP®). I shall be rich and famous!

      1. nice! dip8 is great for protoboard, then i would replace my attiny85 with something in soic8 or qfn20 package, any qfn32 or more is greater than soic8…. best regards pescadito

    1. I see the subtlety of English humour passed six667 and Kurtz Andrew by. If you ditch the regulator and LED then it *is* a LPC810.

      I was implying that it takes more than attaching a LED to claim you’ve made a embedded platform that you hope to “as prebuilt boards on my website”. If the article had been titled “LPC810 is a small ARM microcontroller that requires no external components to run” it would be a little more realistic. It looks like a nice little chip that could suit many projects.

      Yes – I am old and grumpy.

  2. I’m the one who built this.
    The thing is not to be small. I built the Mini to gain knowledge how to program an embedded ARM MCU.
    Making it Trinket style is just a side effect of the DIP8 package.

    The goal is the LPC812 in an SO20 package and Arduino compatible headers.
    It will also host a 2 or 16Mbyte SPI flash and a RTOS.

    Since the ARM has a Von Neuman architecture it can run code from SRAM which is impossible for an AVR. That makes it possible to load pages from the huge flashmem into SRAM and run it.

    I could have put a 2Mbyte flash on the Catweazle Mini but it kind of defeats the purpose.
    It still has processing power that outruns any 8-bit AVR with almost no external components.

    And the DIP8 package makes it easy for anyone to build an ARM board.
    The TSSOP does not.

    1. >And the DIP8 package makes it easy for anyone to build an ARM board.
      >The TSSOP does not.

      I think the general fear of SMT is completely unfounded and unreasonable. The only argument may be that you need a custom PCB for SMT. But with services like OSH Park you can order a small break out board for $3 incl. shipping. Do you really want to stay with DIP?

  3. Ok, snarky project retort.
    Wouldn’t converting the above to a set of discrete circuits that could be made out of pencil graphite (or doped conductive ink) and silk-screened on a patch of cloth have been more hack-a-day wearable circuitish?

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