Dev Kit Weekly: Maxim Integrated MAX32630 Feather Application Platform

July 2, 2020 Perry Cohen

This week Perry takes a look at the MAX32630 Feather Application Platform from Maxim Integrated.

The MAX 32630 FTHR application platform is designed around a small and super-power-efficient board that can be powered by a battery. But what makes this kit special is super-accelerated development time, courtesy of Arm mbed support.

At the heart of the Feather board is the MAX32630 ultra-low-power microcontroller based on an Arm Cortex-M4F core with a clock speed of just 96 MHz, but has enough oomph to drive wearables, portable medical devices, and sensor hubs thanks to the M4F floating-point unit. These applications are supported by 2048 kilobytes of flash memory and 512 kilobytes of SRAM, as well as an additional 8 kilobytes of instruction cache on-chip.

When actively executing from flash, the MAX32630 MCU consumes just 106 µA/MHz. The device also supports a real-time clock-enabled low-power mode with draws of just 600 nanoAmps and an ultra-low-power data retention mode that consumes just 3.5 µW, which can snap back to that 96 MHz operating frequency in just 5 µS thanks to fast wakeup functionality.

An on-board MAX14690 wearable PMIC further enables the ultra-low power portable applications in question, integrating dual micro IQ buck regulators, three micro IQ linear regulators, a power cycling sequencing controller, and a voltage monitor multiplexer. The wearable PMIC also includes a battery charger with a smart selector that leverages the most optimum power input available.

Around the board users will find a DAPLink connector used to connect to programming boards (like the MAX32625PICO circuit board, which is also included), a battery terminal, a 3-axis gyro and 3-axis accelerometer from Bosch, this microSD card, a location for additional execute-in-place flash, some LEDs and pushbuttons, and a personal-area network power amplifier, which comes in handy for communicating wirelessly using this Panasonic dual-mode Bluetooth module.

Serial interfaces are of course also present. Maxim engineers have developed a pretty cool tutorial entitled “How to Sense Motion From 100 meters with the DS28E17 and MAX32630FTHR.” It explains how to, well, sense motion from up to 100 meters away using the MAX32630FTHR’s built-in one-wire master and mbed OneWire firmware, with the help of the DS28E17 1-wire-to-I2C master bridge; this is sold separately.

For expansion, you can take advantage of these breadboard-compatible headers down the sides.

As mentioned, the MAX32630FTHR is a compatible with the mbed ecosystem. When you navigate to developer.mbed.org and sign up you’ll get access to a professional-grade editor, compiler, drivers, and libraries. And, because you perform development in this online portal, you can even collaborate on designs and share your projects freely.

To get the complete mbed OS and all the drivers you need, then import, compile, download, and execute a program on the Featherboard takes less than five minutes. If you want to put that time to the test, check out the video on Maxim’s website entitled “Get Started with the MAX32630FTHR Board.”

All you need to get started is a Mac or Windows-based development PC, the PICO DAPLink programming board that was mentioned earlier, programming cables, and the Featherboard, all of which are included in this kit.

Not too shabby, especially if you want to fast track the development of a mobile consumer or healthcare device. All of this hardware, the firmware, and mbed access will only set you back $28.15 if you go through a distributor like Digi-Key. But, thanks to our sponsor Digi-Key, Or, thanks to this week’s sponsor, you can potentially win one for free by entering this week’s raffle. To do so, just fill out this form: https://opensysmedia.formstack.com/forms/dev_kit_weekly_kit_raffle

We’ll even pay the shipping.

Good luck in this week’s raffle, and I’ll see you next week on Dev Kit Weekly.

* Due to COVID-19, please note our shipments of the dev kits will be delayed. If you are a winner, you will be notified via email, along with when you can expect to receive your kit. Thank you for your patience.

About the Author

Perry Cohen

Perry Cohen, associate editor for Embedded Computing Design, is responsible for web content editing and creation in addition to podcast production. He also assists with the publication’s social media efforts which include strategic posting, follower engagement, and social media analysis. Before joining the ECD editorial team, Perry has been published on both local and national news platforms including KTAR.com (Phoenix), ArizonaSports.com (Phoenix), AZFamily.com, Cronkite News, and MLB/MiLB among others. Perry received a BA in Journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State university. He can be reached by email at perry.cohen@opensysmedia.com Follow Perry’s work and ECD content on his twitter account @pcohen21

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