Here’s what I want to see in a dev board:
- Put the pins closer together (longitudinally, of course) so that the board can be inserted into a standard 40-pin IC socket. Forget castellations.
- Number the pins on the topside of the board. Counting pins is no fun.
- A built-in st-link (or equivalent) like on the Nucleo boards. This is my primary request. Boards feel so much more pleasant to use when you don’t all sorts of hardware hanging off the side.
- A reset button (probably). Who wants to faff around holding down boot button and unplugging the USB cable? A reset button may not be necessary if the link works nicely, though.
- Double male headers (a nice touch). The nice thing about Nucleo boards is that you can access the device from above and below. The boon of this is that you can mount most of your devices onto a permanent board, and incrementally experiment with additional hardware.
- USB-C connector. Gotta love how I can just plug the thing in without fussing about orientation.
My list is all about ergonomics, something that makes a device pleasant to use rather than an exercise in frustration. I’m basically advocating for a copycat approach to the Nucleo-32 boards. My list may not be original, but who cares? My desire is to have a good product. Plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize. Let no-one’s work escape your eyes (Tom Lehrer, slighted modified).
The RP2040 is quite a nice chip, and doesn’t have some of the frustrations that I’ve had with STM32.