Design Con 2015

STMicro MEMS sensor kit allows 9 degrees of freedom

October 10, 2012

Bernard Cole-October 10, 2012

A new development platform for the STM32 F3 family of microcontrollers has just been released by STMicroelectronics.

The STM32 F3 Discovery kit  features built in MEMS sensors for the gyroscope and e-compass which incorporate nine degrees of freedom, allowing design of sensor-fusion applications such as altitude heading reference systems.

The kit includes a ready-to-use prototype board containing an STM32F303 MCU and associated chips, as well as indicator LEDs, push-button controls, I/O pin headers, and a USB connection for the host PC. All of the microcontroller pins are brought out to accessible points, which aids testing and debugging.

The MEMS devices on the board are the L3GD20 3-axis digital gyroscope and LSM303DLHC 6-axis geomagnetic module. The kit is compatible with STM32 software-development environments from third-party vendors such as Altium, Atollic, IAR and Keil.

Now available in volume quantities, the STM32 F3 devices include the STM32F30x series as well as the STM32F37x. The STM32F30x MCUs make use of an ARM Cortex-M4 core, which has a digital signal processor and floating-point unit along with peripheral circuits. The ability to perform floating-point matrix operations allows efficient execution of 3-D orientation algorithms.

The peripherals available in STM32F30x devices include four 12-bit 5Msps analog-to-digital converters, seven 50-ns level comparators, four programmable-gain Amplifiers with 1 percent accuracy, two 12-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs), and two timers for use in controlling two motors simultaneously, useful in applications such digital power supplies, data servers, or solar micro-inverters.

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