Most of us who work with electronics know the name of Texas Instruments (TI) as a manufacturer of several important digital and analogue ICs as well as fancy sophisticated scientific calculators. However many people don’t know that TI is also a manufacturer of some of industry’s best microcontrollers. TI’s portfolio of micros is pretty large. ARM micros are getting popular day-by-day and on that family of micros TI has some of the best devices one can imagine. One such family from TI is the Tiva C series. Enter the TM4C123x Tiva C micros – one of the best possible combination of high-end hardware ever integrated with an ARM Cortex M4.
The Tiva C series MCUs are high performance ARM Cortex M4F micros. Now what does that mean? Generally speaking the ARM Cortex M series is meant to be used in place of (or simply replace) regular microcontrollers like PICs and AVRs while the A series and R series are designed for application-specific and real-time purposes respectively. The “4” in the “M4F” means it has all of the features of ARM Cortex-M3 along with additional features like Digital Signal Processing (DSP) extensions. Likewise the “F” indicates the presence of a Floating Point Unit (FPU). Thus Tiva C micros are high-end ARM microcontrollers with DSP and FPU support.
As with many other ARM family MCUs, there are no good books on Tiva C series. Thus the very first things that will be need are the reference manuals and datasheets. TI’s website is somewhat more sophisticated than that of other manufacturers like Microchip, STMicroelectronics, etc. You need to have a TI account and agree with their export policies to download stuffs. Huh! Okay here you can find the required docs: http://www.ti.com/product/TM4C123GH6PM/technicaldocuments.
First of all I would like to discuss about the hardware we can lay our hands on. To facilitate learning TM4C12x Tiva C MCUs easily, TI has released Tiva C Launchpads. These boards like many others are as easy to use as common Arduino boards. However unlike other development platforms that follow Arduino pin layout, TI’s MCU boards are not Arduino pin compatible. Well that doesn’t matter much.
At present three different Tiva C series Launchpad boards are offered by TI and these are:
- TM4C123GXL Tiva C Launchpad
- TM4C1294XL Connected Launchpad
- TM4C129EXL Crypto Connected Launchpad
The latter two boards looks similar and have almost all the features common. The former one is the one we will be using as it is the flagship board of the Tiva C series Launchpads. This board features a TM4C123GH6PMI ARM Cortex M4F MCU. Some of the features of this micro are as follows:
Read more: EmbeddedLab introduces us TI’s Tiva C MCUs