According to the official Arduino website at arduino.cc, the Arduino Due is “currently retired.” This is one of those cases where I can only shake my head in disbelief. The Arduino Due simply represents the best choice for quick and easy ARM Cortex-M3 prototyping in the industry, and all this comes at a very low price tag. In contrast, the alternative, the Arduino Zero, is more expensive while providing less than half of the Due’s memory resources and lower processing speed (48 MHz compared to the Due’s 84 MHz).
Be that as it may, I have chosen to take advantage of the situation. Our business is electronic prototyping, specifically for Controller Area Network and SAE J1939, with focus on the ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller, and the Cortex-M3 comes with direct support of several serial ports (UART) plus two CAN interfaces (Note: The processor also provides an Ethernet port, which is not accessible on the Arduino Due).
For our OEM development activities, we do develop our own hardware using the LPC1754 or LPC1768 processor depending on the requirements. For programming we use the LPCXpresso IDE, a low-cost, yet very powerful way to create high-quality applications.
It is, however, our experience that many of our customers prefer a programming environment with a virtual non-existing learning curve in regards to the programming environment. For instance, the Raspberry Pi is a very popular solution, however, its performance is limited when it comes to boot-up times and real-time requirements. After all, the RPi uses an SD memory card, which not only limits the performance but also raises the question about durability.
In contrast, the Arduino Due boots up in mere milliseconds and it provides more than sufficient SRAM and Flash memory. In addition, the Arduino IDE is a very popular programming environment due to its ease of use.
Coming back on how to use the Arduino Due for ARM Cortex-M3 prototyping: We at Copperhill Technologies are planning on creating a number of “shields” for the Arduino Due (some of them will be compatible with the Arduino Mega 2560, since it has the same form factor as the Arduino Due). These Due-Shields, however, are unique in so far that they fit only into the Due’s extended area (as indicated in the image above) and thus leaving space for standard Arduino shields.
The Due-Shields in preparation are:
- Dual CAN Bus interface (first prototypes are planned for August 2016, official release in September 2016)
- RS232, RS485/422 Ports
- Ethernet Port
- Bluetooth Shield
- WiFi Shield
- GPS Shield
The Dual CAN Bus shield will only be available for the Arduino Due, while all other shields will also work with the Arduino Mega 2560. All shields will be supported by extensive programming samples and well-documented source code.
All shields will come with an extended power range option of 8 VDC to 32 VDC to support automobile and industrial applications.
For more detailed information, please feel free to contact us at any time.