Playing with microcontrollers is one of my hobbies and I’ve recently bought some new 32bit ARM Cortex-M3 devices to play with.

In fact, I’ve already soldered a few NXP LPC1756/LPC1758 on some 0.5mm LQFP Schmartboards.

But it seems that beginning with those devices is quite hard if you’re not a veteran of ARM prototyping and programming…

So I’ll try to share here my experience in trying to define a complete development system.

And while doing so, I will keep in mind my requirements :

1) defining some cheap microcontroller kits/units.
2) using a free & open source toolchain. No size limitation, commercial use must be allowed.
3) keeping a low investment and complexity for the development tools (low cost JTAG programmer, hand soldering compliant solution…)

Now, my next step will be to make the LPC1756 blink some led !


  1. Hi, I’ve arrived to your blog by chance when looking for information about open source environment to use with my new LPC1768 board.
    Maybe you already know, but I’ve found a low cost development board for LPC1768:
    It costs 25€ and some low cost JTAG boards are also available.
    Now I’ll try to follow your instructions to set up the development environmet on Linux & Windows.
    Thanks a lot for your effort with the instructions

  2. J

    @Luis: There’s an even better dev board for the LPC1768: mbed!
    -You program it on the Web using *any* computer with Web-browser and USB -download and copy to the card like a USB-stick. =)

    See http://mbed.org/handbook/mbed-Microcontrollers

    @nio: Personally I find PIC microcontrollers cumbersome (because I had a lot of problems with getting them working, and also they’re 12bit and silly instruction sets)

    I had best success with Atmel’s AVR series. They’re quite cheap to use, and fairly understandable. You don’t have to buy an expensive arduino board, but can go and buy one of the tiny controllers at 1..2 euro, plus a USBASP burner (I have an original Atmel AVRISP mkII myself, but the USBASP is the next best thing; don’t buy the one from ladyada, it sends too high voltage into the chip).

    Anyway, the best experience, I had with the ATmega164 (and larger of the same type), because it’s so clean. All ports are lined up on the same side, pins next to eachother. All ADCs on one line as well.
    This is the chip I recommend. It does not need a clock crystal, unless you want to run at 20MHz (which I do), then usually 2 x 15pF caps are recommended for the crystal.

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