During latest months in Innovactive we’ve been busy working on a brand new (revolutionary?) board targeted to professional applications, primarily for industrial branch. Here you can take a look to a picture showing both sides of the module: on top side (on the left) you can see main STM32F427 microcontroller, while on the bottom side are placed the co-microcontroller (whose main purpose is that of taking care of real-time features, wide-band analog-to-digital conversions and much, much more), Ethernet PHY chip and an SPI flash memory.
Several original features have been introduced in this ambitious module, but no doubt the most substantial are:
- 2 microcontrollers on same board, with complementary responsibilities:
- STM32F427 with 256Kb RAM and 2Mb Flash memory, powered by “Mountaineer” porting (purposely developed by amazing Oberon staff!), available also in “Prime” flavor
- Cypress PSoC5LP, targeted to low-level operations; thanks to its awesome hybrid nature, enforcing an FPGA/CPLD structure surrounding a Cortex-M3 core, its superior support to analog signals management and quality of development toolchain provided by Cypress (including many ready-to-use components libraries that provide access to PSoC countless built-in peripherals, where, for example, any couple of pins can be used as an UART port), this microcontroller is probably the best “sideshow” processor possible for a .NETMF-based solution
- Intra-board communication bus: the two microcontrollers share roughly ten signal lines, among whom a dedicated 4-wire SPI bus (with master-side on STM32 and slave-side on PSoC) providing high-speed data exchange capabilities
- Modular form-factor, based on Jedec SO-DIMM 200 pins design
- Reference “carrier” board, where SO-DIMM module fits through 200 contacts mating connector, containing two USB device connector (one to STM32 primary USB controller, usually configured in order to work as debugging interface for .NETMF-based firmware, and one connected to PSoC acting as a programmable USB device like CDC, HID or Mass-Storage), Ethernet connector (exposing built-in STM32 network controller) and 160 pins (2x80 on both sides) .2 mm socket expansion connectors, whose purpose is that providing docking for “vertical” sideboards designed for specific purposes (e.g. PLC functions, multi-network gateways, building automation controllers, smart-metering, etc.)
- Availability of JTAG/SWD debugging port of both microcontrollers directly on SO-DIMM board itself. Together with managed (typically USB-based) .NETMF firmware debugging, this will allow 3 (!) simultaneous debugging sessions toward STM32 (both managed and native) and PSoC running code!
Of course, all that has been done thanks to companies that supported us since first envisioning phases, primarily MicroTech (based in Chiusi, Italy), our Swiss friends of Oberon Microsystems and whole Mountaineer Group people: thank you all, guys!
Soon (maybe before the end of this year) we’ll post an hands-on review of NETMF SO-DIMM module, together with its first reference carrier board; so, as they usually say in these cases…stay tuned!