Let's not compare apple and oranges. I.e. Arduino and STM32L. Definitely both are at least targeting different type of people. Arduino is our beloved prototyping platform claiming lots of shield and come with easy to use IDE. While in a glance, this new board in my hand look very intimidating with lots of pins, almost all GPIO. And at the moment the prospect of writing software/firmware for an ARM board make me shudder a bit. Pretty much unknown since it is not being tried yet. Is there even free IDE for it? There is! But we will leave that to a much latter part of these series of article.
But let there be no doubt that it is the wanting of more than Arduino that lead me to this board.
As software developer, the most that I miss in Arduino is facility to set breakpoint on code. A little bit of research lead me to think that setting breakpoint and debugging the code line by line is possible with STM32L-Discovery. Thanks to the included (i.e. embedded there in the board!) ST-LINK/V2 debug tool interface. In fact, it can be used to debug other board that support the same connectivity.
STM32L-Discovery also come included with peripheral like LCD display, touch sensor (function as analog touch slider or 4 touch button!), built-in RTC, can run on a coin cell battery (need some soldering, the pad is there!), can measure its own current/voltage and have a built in temperature sensor. Every each point is definitely have this aura of something more!
What is more?
How about it being 32 bit microcontroller, more memory (128 KB of Flash memory, 16 KB of RAM, 4 KB of data EPROM), 32 MHz maximum frequency (33.3 DMIPS) yet scalable to low power operating mode like sleep ( 9uA at 32kHz), low power sleep (4.4 uA), stop with RTC (1.45 uA), stop (570 nA) and standby (300 nA).
The best place to know more is the board product page. Those who like more challenge can digest the user manual though. It is also worthwhile to point out the following application notes that catch my interest:
The rest of this article will continue with hands on demo on the default firmware of STM32L-Discovery board. Pretty much the same thing discussed in application note number 2 above.