Wireless projects using the popular nRF24L01 transceivers are popping up everywhere. They are easy to configure, low-power, and reliable over surprisingly long distances. This tiny development board pairs the nRF24L01 with an STM32 microcontroller for a compact and easy to use platform!
This board features the STM32F042G6U6, a low-power ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller from ST with 32kB of flash and 6kB of RAM. It can run at up to 48MHz, which is incredible for its low power consumption. It’s absolutely packed with peripherals, and development toolchains are freely available for all operating systems. The integrated bootloader means it can be programmed directly via the USB port, without the need for an external programmer — however, the SWD pads are also broken out in case you want to connect your existing debugger, or program your own bootloader. The high-speed SPI paired with DMA means you can easily keep up a high-speed data link.
An excellent addition to the board is the footprint for the RFM69, a different wireless transceiver that uses either the 868 or 915MHz bands, depending on your location. While this board currently is only available with the nRF24L01, having more development options is always nice.
This board can be used as a stand-alone project development platform, or used as a wireless base station to communicate with other devices in the field. It is useable with small single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black, opening up a huge range of possible applications. The included clear Gainta enclosure is a nice touch — development boards with enclosures always seem to last longer (especially in my lab!).
If you’ve been wanting to play with the nRF24L01, this is the perfect board to get you started. Check out the System Workbench for STM32, a free IDE from ST that works on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s a great way to get started. The source code and design files for this board are also freely available. Happy hacking!