The EK TM4C123GXL is a low-cost evaluation board based on the TM4C123GH6PM microcontroller from Texas Instruments (TI). The TM4C123GXL is part of TI’s Tiva C Series line of ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontrollers.
The TM4C123GH6PM microcontroller at the core of the EK TM4C123GXL board features an 80 MHz 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F processor with floating point unit, 256KB of flash memory, 32KB of SRAM, and advanced peripherals including USB, Ethernet, CAN, and hibernation module. The TM4C123GXL evaluation kit provides an easy way to start developing and prototyping applications with the TM4C123GH6PM MCU.
Key Features of EK TM4C123GXL
- TM4C123GH6PM MCU featuring ARM Cortex-M4F core at 80 MHz
- 256KB flash and 32KB SRAM
- On-board debugger/programmer with Virtual COM port and debug interfaces
- Headers for access to MCU signals
- USB, Ethernet, CAN interfaces
- Accelerometer, buttons, LEDs, ADC
- Power supply options: USB or external source
The TM4C123GH6PM is the microcontroller at the heart of the EK TM4C123GXL evaluation kit. Here are some key details about this MCU:
- ARM Cortex-M4F core running at 80 MHz
- 256KB flash and 32KB SRAM
- Nested Vectored Interrupt Controller (NVIC)
- Advanced peripherals: USB, Ethernet, CAN, Hibernation module
- Extensive DMA support
- Operating voltage range of 3.0V to 3.6V
- Industrial temperature range
- 100-pin LQFP package
The TM4C123 MCU provides a powerful and flexible foundation for embedded applications needing USB, Ethernet, digital signal processing, and more.
Debug and Programming
The EK TM4C123GXL includes an on-board ICDI (In-Circuit Debug Interface) for programming and debugging the TM4C123 MCU. The ICDI provides:
- Virtual COM port for log, trace, and command interface
- Debugging/programming using IDEs like IAR, Keil MDK, TI Code Composer Studio
- Debugging capabilities like breakpoints, watchpoints, and program trace
- Programming flash memory and updating firmware
With the on-board ICDI, you don’t need any external tools to program the TM4C123 or debug code running on it. The ICDI provides JTAG interface for debugging as well as SWD (Serial Wire Debug) interface for more efficient programming.
Interfaces and Peripherals
The EK TM4C123GXL provides various interfaces, peripherals, buttons, and LEDs to create full-featured applications:
- USB: Type B USB connector for host/device modes
- Ethernet: RJ45 jack with integrated PHY
- CAN: DB-9 connector for CAN transceiver
- UART: Headers for TTL-level serial
- I2C: I2C interface via header pins
- GPIO: Headers for General Purpose I/O
- Accelerometer: 3-axis accelerometer
- ADC: 12-bit analog-to-digital conversion
- Buttons/Switches: Reset button, user buttons
- LEDs: Power LED, user LEDs
This comprehensive set of features makes the EK TM4C123GXL a full-featured development platform for learning about ARM Cortex-M4 and developing embedded applications leveraging the TM4C123GH6PM MCU.
The EK TM4C123GXL can be powered through the on-board USB or an external power supply. The wide 6V to 15V input voltage range allows flexibility in power source selection.
Key power specifications:
- On-board low-dropout linear regulator
- USB-based power from host PC or external power supply
- External voltage input range: 6V to 15VDC
- Automatic switchover between USB and external power inputs
- Power consumption:
- 164mA at 80MHz clock with 3.3V supply
- 100mA in idle mode
- 1.1mA in standby mode with SRAM retention
The board can be powered solely from the USB port for low power applications. For standalone or power-hungry applications, an external supply can provide more current.
Design and Form Factor
The EK TM4C123GXL has a compact board size of 3.5 x 2.1 inches. All the key components, interfaces, and headers are readily accessible for prototyping.
Some of the design highlights include:
- Two 40-pin expansion headers for access to MCU signals
- BoosterPack-compatible headers for plug-in modules
- Soldering-friendly 0.1″ grid layout
- Laser-etched highlights for interfaces and connectors
- Compact board with edge-mounted connectors
The board’s design makes it easy to access MCU signals, integrate with additional electronics, and create prototypes quickly.
Documentation and Design Materials
Texas Instruments provides comprehensive documentation and design files for the EK TM4C123GXL:
- User’s Guides covering setup, usage, and hardware details
- Application notes with sample code and projects
- CAD models and schematics available for download
- Quick Start Guides for getting up and running fast
The detailed documentation enables both beginning and advanced users to fully leverage the capabilities of the evaluation board.
Use Cases and Applications
The EK TM4C123GXL can be used for learning, evaluation, development, prototyping, and proof-of-concept testing for various embedded applications including:
- USB audio, hubs, and devices
- Embedded Ethernet systems
- CAN-enabled automotive designs
- Low-power sensor networks and IoT
- Battery-backed systems and applications
- General embedded control, monitoring, and automation
The TM4C123 MCU combined with the development-friendly design of the EK TM4C123GXL makes it a flexible and cost-effective solution for many embedded use cases.
In summary, the EK TM4C123GXL evaluation board provides a complete, low-cost development platform enabling fast evaluation, prototyping, and development with the TM4C123GH6PM ARM Cortex-M4-based microcontroller. With its advanced peripherals, comprehensive design, and extensive documentation, the EK TM4C123GXL is ideal for learning ARM Cortex-M4 development and creating full-featured embedded applications.