What is a Development Board?

IoT boards, also known as development boards or prototyping boards, are hardware platforms used to generate prototypes of manufacturers’ ideas. Microcontroller-based boards, single-board computers (SBC), and even cellular-enabled IoT boards are among the possibilities available. This blog discusses what a development board is and its types.

What is a Development Board?

The development board is a printed circuit board that contains a number of hardware components such as a central processor unit, memory, input device, output device, data path/bus, and external resource interface for embedded system development.

Embedded system developers usually customise development boards to meet their specific demands. Developers can also conduct their own study and design of a development board. Beginners can use the development board to learn about the system’s hardware and software. Some development boards have a basic integrated development environment, as well as software source code and hardware schematics. 51, ARM, FPGA, and DSP development boards are all common development boards.

Development boards are made for learning purposes mostly and can also be used in industrial applications as well. In this vast community of electronics there are many custom development boards also available. They are also used for prototyping before releasing the main product. They have been also used for testing and debugging purposes.

Types of Development Boards

Nowadays there is hype of development board such as the Raspberry Pi, Arduino, STM 32, Teensy, NodeMCU , PIC, etc… are discussed below


1) 51 series microcontroller

51 microcontrollers come in a variety of models. Intel’s first offerings were the 8031/8051/8751. ATMEL’s AT89C51 and AT89S52 are more practical options. AT89C2051, AT89C1051, and additional variants are available in ATMEL’s 51 series. These chips are a stripped-down version of the AT89C51, with several functionalities removed. ATMEL’s 51 and 52 chips, HYUNDAI’s GMS97 series, WINBOND’s 78e52, 78e58, 77e58, and others are among the more common chips on the market.

2) PIC series microcontroller

PIC microcontrollers are utilised in a wide range of applications around the world, including computer peripherals, home appliance control, telecommunications and communications, smart instruments, automotive electronics, and financial electronics. Basic series microcontrollers, such as the PIC16C5X, are suited for a variety of household appliances with severe cost constraints; intermediate series, such as the PIC12C6XX, have great performance. Devices from the PIC intermediate series can be utilised to make a wide range of high-, medium-, and low-cost electronic items. PIC17CXX and other advanced series have a lot of I/O control functions and can be expanded with EPROM and RAM. They can be used in both high-end and mid-range electronic gadgets.

3) AVR series microcontroller

The ATMEL AVR microcontroller is a high-speed 8-bit RISC (Reduced Instruction Set CPU) microcontroller with an upgraded built-in Flash created by ATMEL in 1997. AVR’s microcontroller can be found in a wide range of applications, including computer peripherals, industrial real-time control, instrumentation, communication equipment, and domestic appliances.

4) ARM development board

The ARM development board is an embedded development version of the ARM core chip, with cores from the ARM7, ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-M, Cortex-A, and Cortex-R families. Its main feature is its quickness. In addition, library documents are consolidated, making development easier. Chips based on the ARM core have been released by ATMEL, NXP, ST, Freescale, and others, as well as developer boards.


The CPLD (Complex Programmable Logic Device) is a device that was created by combining PAL and GAL devices. It is a large-scale integrated circuit with a complex structure that falls under the large-scale integrated circuits category. It’s a digital integrated circuit that lets users build logic functions based on their own specifications. To realise the designed digital system, the basic design method is to generate the corresponding target file using the integrated development software platform, schematic diagrams, hardware description language, and other methods, and then transfer the code to the target chip via the download cable (“in-system” programming).

  • DSP

DSP (digital signal processor) is a unique microprocessor, a device that processes a large amount of information with digital signals. Its primary function is to convert an analogue signal to a digital signal of 0 or 1, then modify, delete, and strengthen the digital signal before translating the digital data into analogue data or the actual environment format in other system chips. Not only is it programmable, but it can perform tens of millions of complicated instruction programmes per second in real time, considerably outpacing general-purpose microprocessors. It is becoming increasingly important as a computer chip in the digital electronic era. The two key features are its great data processing capabilities and quick operating speed.

  • ARM

ARM is the abbreviation of Advanced RISCMachines, a general term for a class of microprocessors. ARM is a well-known microprocessor firm that designs a wide range of high-performance, low-cost, low-energy RISC CPUs, as well as related technologies and software. The technology has high performance, low cost, and low energy consumption. It can be used in a wide range of applications, including embedded control, consumer/educational multimedia, DSP, and mobile applications..

  • MIPS

MIPS is a well-known RISC processor around the world. “Microprocessor without interlocked piping stages” is what MIPS stands for. Its mechanism is to employ software as much as feasible in the pipeline to eliminate data-related issues.

  • PPC

PPC PowerPC is a reduced instruction set (RISC) architecture central processing unit (CPU). Its PowerPC architecture is known for its scalability, ease of use, and versatility.

PowerPC processors are used in a wide range of applications, from high-end server CPUs like the Power4 to embedded CPUs (Nintendo Gamecube uses PowerPC). Because of its outstanding performance, low energy consumption, and low heat dissipation, the PowerPC processor has a very good embedded performance. This embedded processor differs from a “desktop” CPU in that it has integrated I/O-like serial and Ethernet controllers. The 4xx series of PowerPC processors, for example, lack floating-point arithmetic and, instead of inverted page tables, employ a software-controlled TLB for memory management.

There are also some other boards such as

  • Particle Photon
  • Tessel
  • Adafruit Flora
  • LightBlue Bean
  • Udoo Neo
  • Intel Edison

Advantages of Development Board

  • You won’t have to sit around looking for loose connections.
  • Before proceeding with the PCB creation process, you do not need to connect the breadboard and test it.
  • You don’t have to spend time designing PCBs in software, etching them, and then fabricating them on copper strips, which takes time (speaking with experience).
  • You can spend some time reading through the code you wrote and making changes to improve the project.
  • You won’t need to buy any more hardware because everything you need is already on the development board.
  • Development Boards are a one-time investment that can be reused once they’ve been utilised on one project.
  • Development boards include their own microcontrollers, saving you the time and effort of purchasing a separate microprocessor.
  • Nowadays, development boards come with well-documented development kits, making coding on the onboard microcontroller simple.

Hope this blog helps you to understand about the basics of  Development Boards used in Electronics projects.We ,MATHA ELECTRONICS  will come back with more informative blogs.

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