Test Your ‘Blue Pill’ Board For A Genuine STM32F103C8 MCU

Test Your ‘Blue Pill’ Board For A Genuine STM32F103C8 MCU
Test Your ‘Blue Pill’ Board For A Genuine STM32F103C8 MCU

With the market for STM32F103C8-based ‘Blue Pill’ boards slowly being overrun with boards that contain either a cloned, fake or outright broken chip, [Terry Porter] really wanted to have an easy, automated way to quickly detect whether a new board contains genuine STM32 silicon, or some fake that tries to look the part. After more than a year of work, the Blue Pill Diagnostics project is now ready for prime time.

We have covered those clone MCUs previously. It’s clear that some of those ‘Blue Pill’ boards obviously do not have a genuine STM32 MCU on them, as they do not have the STM32 markings on them, while others fake those markings on the package and identifying can be hard to impossible. Often only testing the MCU’s actual functionality can give clarity on whether it’s a real STM32 MCU.

These diagnostics allow one to test not only the 64 kB of Flash, but also the 64 kB of ‘hidden’ Flash that’s often found on these MCUs (rebadged 128 kB STM32F103 cores). It further checks the manufacturer JDEC code and uses a silicon bug in genuine STM32F1xx MCUs where the BGMCU_IDCODE cannot be read without either SWD or JTAG connected.

Another interesting feature of Blue Pill Diagnostics is using Mecrisp-Stellaris Forth as its foundation, which allows for easy access to a Forth shell via this firmware as well, not unlike MicroPython and Lua, only in a fraction of the Flash required by those. We have previously written about using Mecrisp-Stellaris in your projects.