Whenever a new microcontroller generation comes out, developers and engineers look out for evaluation boards. In order to be able to test the microcontroller, it needs to be mounted on a PCB that has the required glue logic, power circuitry and connectors. For generations, these test boards were mostly “bare-naked” – without housing and only featuring components needed to test the microcontroller in certain types of applications. Over the last years more “attractive” variations of such boards have come to market, for example some looking like a custom USB stick.
Last year, Raisonance released products following a slightly different concept they named Primers, and the Primer2 won an EETimes product of the year 2009 award. These boards feature a complete housing, making them more attractive for various prototype developments. Through staging several design contests, many applications have been implemented and are now shared on the product’s web page. Applications include an alcohol meter, a CAN monitor, a GPS displaying OpenStreetMap data, various games and many more.
At this years Embedded World, Raisonance introduced the next generation, the Open4 Primer. The most obvious changes are that the new housing is a bit bigger and gives a much sturdier impression. It offers more room for custom extensions as the space for daughter boards is bigger as well. The color display with touchscreen is about twice the size of the previous version, providing more screen space for visualizations. All primers use microcontrollers from ST, the latest Open4 has an STM32E which is a Cortex-M3 derivative.
There is hardly a more fun platform to evaluate a Cortex-M3 microcontroller.