- Custom Development
Two types of microcontrollers are used for the FlexSEA circuits.
PSoC: Programmable System on Chip (PSoC) combine a microtrontroller (ARM Cortex-M0 or M3 depending on the version) and programmable analog and digital components. We use them for applications that combine a lot of digital and analog interfaces to maximize system integration (ex.: Execute) or when we need something easy to use (Battery board, many test boards). The IDE is PSoC Creator (Free, Windows only) and the programmer/debugger is the MiniProg3 ($92 on Digikey).
STM32: STM32 are a very popular family of ARM microcontrollers produced by STMicroelectronics. We use the F4 (Cortex-M4) and F7 (Cortex-M7) series on Manage and on FlexSEA-Rigid. They are more powerful than the PSoC,but their development toolchain is not as easy to use for simple projects. As an IDE we use Eclipse (open, cross-platform) and the programmer/debugger is the ST-Link/v2 ($23 on Digikey).
The picture below shows the 4 most commonly used Prog Adapt circuits, as well as the two types of FFC (showing both top and bottom faces):
Status: obsolete, use B instead
Details: Functional, but the FFC connector is weak and hard to use.
Details: same as A, but with a better FFC connector.
Details: only used for FlexSEA-Manage. Weak FFC connector, but functional.
Microcontroller: STM32 & PSoC
Programmer: ST-Link & MiniProg3
Details: Can be used to program Mn, Re and Ex on FlexSEA-Rigid 0.1, and Mn on newer FlexSEA-Rigid versions. Some batches do not have the MiniProg connector soldered and are exclusively used for Mn. Only connect one programmer at the time.
Please note that the PCB color you get might be different depending on the production batch.
With the exception of the very first prototypes (PwrStg and MiddleMan) all FlexSEA circuits require programming adapters. The connectors used by the MiniProg and ST-Link programmer/debuggers are simply too big for the level of integration we have. We experimented with modifying the cables, but it put too much work on our clients. The Prog Adapt boards are easier to use and they require no assembly.