STM32F3 no dice (yet)


The STM32F3 is the latest in the lineup of Discovery boards from STMicroelectronics. There’s a smaller/cheaper board – the STM32F0 and a more expensive board with a higher spec CPU – the STM32F4. The F3 would be pretty boring on its own, so it’s been spiced up with some interesting onboard peripherals:

  • A compass
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • 3 axis gyroscope
  • An 8 LED circle that’s ideal for direction indication

So it’s perfect for applications that you want to shake, twist or turn. It comes with a demo app that flashes the LED ring, indicates board tilt, and points North.

STM32F3 with its little brother the STM32F0

STM32F3 with its little brother the STM32F0

I was going to knock up a quick dice app that would use shake to roll, but the frst challenge was to get a development environment up and running.

IDE agony

The geting started guide has instructions for using four different integrated development environments (IDEs). Unfortunately the world of embedded software still has commercial (closed source) development tools, like enterprise development did a decade ago. I’ve been a little spoiled by TI bundling their own Eclipse based tools for the MSP430 and Stellaris dev boards. STMicro have instructions for four commercial IDEs:

That 32k size limit is probably fine for a dice app, but seems silly given the capabilities of the device. I looked around for open alternatives:

  • Andrei has instructions for STM32F3 Discovery + Eclipse + OpenOCD, but I didn’t want to wade into figuring out how to port stuff from Ubuntu to Windows (perhaps I should just run an Ubuntu desktop VM).
  • I also took a look at Yet Another GNU ARM Toolchain (YAGARTO), but that seems to be targetted to J-Link hardware (rather than ST-Link)
  • There are instructions for using Eclipse with Code Sourcery Lite, but these seem targetted at the STM32F0 board. Maybe some F3 support will come along later.


So instead of getting going with my STM32F3 I spent the afternoon reviewing tools and their various limitations, which is a poor show compared to getting started with Arduino, MSP430 and Stellaris. I’l probably bite the bullet and download one of the size limited IDEs, but the dice will have to wait for another day.

3 Responses to “STM32F3 no dice (yet)”

  1. Hi!

    I have created a post with setup steps for Windows.


    • 2 billwhatever

      Get CooCox. It’s as good as the big guns for basic development and its free and runs on Windoz. Doesn’t get any better than that.

      • 3 jsl123

        @billwhatever: Yes and find out that the STM32F3x family is not supported in CooCox.. :-(

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