The mbed tool has been designed for the best trade-off between versatility and immediate connectivity. The LPC1768, housed in an LQFP package, is mounted on the mbed board, which uses a 40-pin DIP with a 0.1in pitch. The convenient form factor works seamlessly with broad-boards, strip-boards, and PCBs.
There is no software to install – everything, even the compiler, is online. The compiler and libraries are completely modular, so they’re easy to use, yet they’re powerful enough to take on complex, real-world applications.
Getting started is as simple as using a USB Flash drive. The mbed NXP LPC1768 board can easily be connected to a Windows, Mac or Linux computer and it will appear as a USB drive. The link on the board can be used to connect to the mbed website, where individuals can sign up and begin designing. There are no drivers to install or setup programs to run.
The mbed compiler lets a designer write programs in C++ and then compile and download them to run on the mbed NXP LPC1768 Microcontroller. There’s no need to run an install or setup program, since the compiler runs online. Supported browsers include Internet Explorer, Safari, or Chrome running on a Windows, Mac, or Linux PC. Engineers can log in from anywhere and simply pick up where they left off.
The compiler uses the ARM RealView compile engine, so it produces clean, efficient code that can be used free-of-charge, even in production. Existing ARM application code and middleware can be ported to the mbed Microcontroller, and the mbed tools can be used alongside other professional production-level tools.
The mbed library provides an API-driven approach to coding that eliminates much of the low-level work normally associated with MCU code development. One can develop code using meaningful peripheral abstractions and API calls that are intuitive and already tested. That allows designers to experiment without worrying about the implementation of the MCU core or its peripherals. Work can be faster and be more creative.
Rather than simply providing examples, mbed focuses on reusable library functionality, with clear interfaces and solid implementations. The core mbed library supports the main LPC1768 peripherals, and the libraries already contributed by the mbed design community include USB, TCP/IP, and HTTP support. It’s also possible to add third-party and open-source stacks.
The libraries comply with the ARM EABI and are built on the Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS), making it possible to migrate to other tool-chains or implement custom code for peripheral interfaces.
The NXP LPC1768 microcontroller is a cost-effective, low-power Cortex-M3 device that operates at up to 100MHz. It features best-in-class peripheral support, including Ethernet, USB 2.0 host/OTG/device, and CAN 2.0B. There are 512kB of Flash memory and 64kB of SRAM. The architecture uses a multi-layer AHB bus that allows high-bandwidth peripherals such as Ethernet and USB to run simultaneously, without impacting performance. The device is pin-compatible with NXP’s 100-pin LPC236x series of ARM7-based microcontrollers.