Debugging My First STM32 Program on the BlackIce-II Board

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Tom VerbeureTom Verbeure 03/24/2018 at 06:280 Comments

My larger goal is to create a new firmware called "icehub" , which will enable a bunch of new development features. Instead of using the standard ST libraries, I want to use libopencm3 instead: it's an open source library that works with most Cortex based SOCs and microcontrollers. 

Today, I wanted to create my first libopencm3 program, a blinking LED obviously, run it on the STM32 of the BlackIce-II board, and step through it with the debugger.

After yesterday's success of getting the Blue Pill to connect to the Blackice, this certainly wasn't going to be overly complicated! Right?!

Step 1: Adding Support for the STM32L433RCT

libopencm3 has support for "stm32l4", but only a few specific types. Our L433 was  of course not part of the list.

Adding support turned out to be pretty easy: you just need to tell how much ROM and RAM it has and add that information to ./ld/

There are a lot of examples as part of the library, and there's even an l4 directory for that, but a shared Makefile is missing. So that had to be fixed as well.

After this, I could compile the "libopencm3-examples/examples/stm32/l4/stm32l476g-disco/basics" example.

 (I need to commit those changes and create a pull request for that.)

Step 2: Creating a blinking LED Program

Since I ultimately want to do a lot of USB-related stuff, I started with a usb_cdcacm example from the F1 examples directory. This forced me to start digging into the whole clock architecture of the STM32, because the F1 is really different there. Not the most efficient way to get to blinking LED.

Anyway, eventually I ended up with something that compiles.

On the BlackIce-II board, the DBG1 LED is the only one that can be controlled directly by the STM32, so that's the one!

Step 3: Running it with the Blue Pill - Black Magic Probe. And failing.

This is where I ran into a crucial limitation of the Black Magic Probe: it doesn't support flash operations!

So I changed the address map to create a binary that is mapped to address 0x2000_0000, the RAM of the STM32. And it gets loaded fine there. However I could not figure out to get GDB to execute from an address in that range.

I needed a different solution: my original STLink v2 dongle!

Step 4: The STLink v2  the BlackIce-II

After yesterday, I'm a wiser man now, so I added an extra GND wire between the STLink and the BlackIce board, I fired up openocd, and *HURRAY!* it connected just fine!

What's more: when you telnet into openocd, you can issue flash read and write operations!

And that's what I did: 

What's more: the LED was blinking correctly right away!


Ultimately, I would love to debug my programs from RAM instead of flash, but for now, I'm moving back to using the STLink instead of the Black Magic Probe.