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Al Williams

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$7 Development Kit

May 23, 2010

STMicroelectronics has the STM8S Discovery kit for around US$7. For that little bit of money you get an 8 bit CPU with a detachable USB programming/debugging board and 32k of flash, 2k of RAM, and 1K of EEPROM. Downloadable tools include demo C compilers from a variety of third party vendors (limited to 16k, if I'm reading the literature correctly).

Not bad for 7 or 8 dollars. Don't get any entrepreneurial ideas, though. Reading the license agreement, they prohibit the use of the evaluation board in any kind of product. What I thought was really unusual was this statement:

You warrant to ST that the Evaluation Product will be used and managed solely and exclusively in a laboratory by skilled professional employees of Yours with proven expertise in the use and management of such products and that the Evaluation Product shall be used and managed according to the terms and conditions set forth in the related documentation provided with the Evaluation Product.

What do I find odd about that? Well, as I frequently point out, I'm not a lawyer, but it looks to me like this would keep me from using this as part of classroom instruction. That's a shame because there are plenty of schools that might be interested in such an inexpensive evaluation board.

Of course, maybe I don't qualify! I used to have a real lab with an acid hood, microscopes and everything. These days I just have an office.

So for $7 or $8 it looks like a good deal if you want to learn more about the STM8S controller.

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