I have recently acquired at Farnell an ARM microcontroller fom Cortex M0 family, manufactured by NXP (former Philips Semiconductor). Despite its low price, it has 8K of flash, 2K of RAM, 28 I/O pins, half a dozen PWM channels and the same amount of capture units, 8 x 10bit ADC, UART, SPI, I2C and has an internal PLL that according to the datasheet can make the core run at 100MHz (is it true)!
But, there is no free lunch! Despite the data sheet mentions a PDIP package, I could only find the LPC1111 in HVQFN 33 package. I think the manufacturer might be cutting costs by saving plastic and metal, given the tiny size of the chip.
I am not sure if I can do at home a circuit board with the resolution and precision needed for such package and even if I could, I don't have the necessary tools and materials to solder it (hot air gun or oven).
So the solution was to glue the chip upside down at a prototyping board then use thin Solderable Enamel Wire (0.19mm diameter) and A LOT of patience!!
Following the tip of a friend, I have acquired a "clone" of a Nokia CA-42 USB data cable wich contains internally a USB to serial converter which operates at TTL LV logic level, plus a 3V3 voltage regulator. That's pretty all I need to build a stand alone demo board!!!
Then I have added two push buttons for "reset" and "bootload" function. To enter the bootloader one can press both buttons then hold the "bootload" for a few seconds after releasing the "reset" button. In order to interface with the real world I have added two terminal bars for the I/O pins. I could have stopped here but there was still some space free, then I have added a DC power plug and a couple of voltage regulators for 3V3 and 5V (LCD displays, accelerometers, sensors, etc operates under 5V).
Well the result is on the pictures.
Arduino, Raspberry PI .. be afraid!!! PI Nokia is here to stay!