Give Some Microcontroller Love

Say “I love you” with an “I Love ST” board

ILoveST Eval Board

Dave Prochnow

Are you looking for a gift for that special someone, that will also have some great practical worth when it's dumped back in your lap on February 15th? The I Love ST microcontroller evaluation board combines touching sentiment with touch capacitance, all wrapped up in a cute little red heart-shaped PCB ringed with red LEDs.

Sharp-eyed microcontroller veterans will notice that the red PCB is the hallmark of Olimex, LTD. Collaborating with Olimex on this venture for STMicroelectronics is Segger (supplying J-Link/J-Trace software) and IAR (providing the IDE for the ARM "workbench"). Armed (sorry) with an STMicroelectronics STR750 32-bit ARM7 microcontroller, the I Love ST is one gift that can actually give more than it receives. Just check these sweet vital stats:

ILoveST STR750

Dave Prochnow

STMicroelectronics I Love ST

  • STR750FV2T6Z ARM7TDMI-S 32-bit microcontroller with 256Kb RAM (Bank 0) in a 100-pin LQFP package featuring 60MHz operation with independent 32.768 kHz clock crystal supplying dedicated clock/calendar function
  • STR711F R2T6 32-bit microcontroller with 64Kb SRAM and USB interface in 64-pin package
  • JTAG (Joint Test Action Group) J-Link-OB for programming ARM cores is onboard with mini-USB connector
  • IAR Embedded Workbench IDE for ARM devices "kick start" version (online product registration is required)
  • 3V lithium battery for stand-alone operation

Also included is a mini-ROM cutoff CD disc featuring information on STMicroelectronics' 8-, 16-, and 32-bit microcontrollers that is perfect for getting stuck inside your optical disk drive or serving as a coaster for a mug of hot chocolate.

ILoveST LED Heart

Dave Prochnow

One application is supplied with I Love ST. PowerPacDemo activates the "heart" silkscreen on the face of the I Love ST PCB as a touch capacitance control for changing the speed of the LED flashing sequence. Similarly, the adjacent ST logo silkscreen serves as a touch capacitance control for varying the intensity of the flashing LEDs. A great little demo for some mutual, interactive finger touching.

Unfortunately, like so many promises that are broken on February 14th, the folks at IAR still haven't managed to launch a dedicated I Love ST Web site. So don't expect any applications for this demo board to be filling this heart-shaped box anytime soon. In the meantime, see what two touch sensors and 16 LEDs can do for you and your loved one.

Here's a simple, low-cost introduction to 32-bit microcontroller programming:

I Love ST - DigiKey #497-5988-ND; $33.25