I’s been my experience that when setting out to design a custom PCB on a new chip it pays to have some known board to debug off of. This can be useful even if there’s no relevant peripherals on there. Either add them, or simulate them, or maybe even double check that that pin actually is tristated when it’s supposed to!
As you can see from my chronicles of forcing through the MCU Jungle I landed on an STM32F103Z. After a bit of searching I stumbled upon this product by WaveShare; the Open103z! It came up in a search I did, but I recognized that name. I’ve been wanting to get some FPGA boards from them before and have read their wiki. They seem to have their stuff sorted so I took the plunge!
While we’re designing the custom PCB for the liveARMADA we will develop the firmware for it using this kit. In addition to the main board we’ll get some peripherals that we’re going to use similar parts for. A quick list modules would go something like:
- A 3.2″ LCD
- Some hardware switch matrix input (we’ll probably use a membrane, they are usually done as a matrix)
- A DAC with I²S and a jack (for actually testing the audio stream)
- An SD card reader module (just a breakout)
- An RS232 output module so we can monitor and simulate MIDI messages
This comprises most of what we need to test our specification. The parts are ordered and I’m eagerly waiting! (I got one of the Altera FPGA boards to, you never know right? 😉