SAMD51 Thing Plus Hookup Guide

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Introduction

SparkFun is proud to welcome the SAMD51 Thing Plus to our microcontroller lineup! With a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F MCU, it is one of our most powerful microcontroller boards yet.

SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

SparkFun Thing Plus - SAMD51

DEV-14713
$19.95

The ATSAMD51J20 microcontroller boasts a maximum CPU speed of 120MHz, 1MB of flash memory, 256KB of SRAM, up to 6 SERCOM interfaces, amongst other features (see datasheet). The SAMD51 Thing Plus provides a USB interface for programming and power, a Qwiic connector, 600mA 3.3V regulator, and LiPo charger all in a feather pin layout. For a full list of details, check out the Hardware Overview section below. In addition, this board comes flashed with the same convenient, UF2 bootloader as the RedBoard Turbo.

This tutorial aims to familiarize you with the new SAMD51 Thing Plus and help you get started using it. If you are new to the world of Arduino or microcontrollers, please check out our RedBoard Qwiic and RedBoard Qwiic Hookup Guide.

Required Materials

To get started, all you need is a few things:

  • SAMD51 Thing Plus - You'll definitely need this; otherwise, you are probably on the wrong tutorial page (wink).
  • USB micro-B Cable - 6 Foot - The USB interface serves two purposes: it powers the board and allows you to upload programs to it. (You might even have a few of these in you drawer!)
  • Computer with the Arduino IDE installed on it - That is how we will program the board and interface with it.
    Troubleshooting Tip: If you are not a technical or computer savy individual and you have your choice of computers, a Windows 10 computer is highly recommended. You will usually run into the the least issues, if any, with this operating systems.

That is ALL... pretty simple right? Now you won't be able to do much since there are no additional sensors to interact with the physical world. However, you can at least blink an LED and do some math calculations.

Click the buttons above to toggle the additional materials based on the tasks you
wish to perform. Feel free to modify the items in your cart to fit your needs.


Jumper Modification

If you would like to modify the 3.3V/5V I/O jumper or A4/A5 Qwiic connector jumpers, you will need soldering equipment and/or a knife.

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

Solder Lead Free - 100-gram Spool

TOL-09325
$7.95
7
Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

Weller WLC100 Soldering Station

TOL-14228
$44.95
1
Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen  - 10mL

Chip Quik No-Clean Flux Pen - 10mL

TOL-14579
$7.95
2
Hobby Knife

Hobby Knife

TOL-09200
$2.95
2

Qwiic Example

If you would like to follow along with the examples below to interact with the physical world, you will also need the following items:

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

Qwiic Cable - 100mm

PRT-14427
$1.50
SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

SparkFun Qwiic 12 Bit ADC - 4 Channel (ADS1015)

DEV-15334
$9.95
Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

Magnetic Screwdriver Set (20 Piece)

TOL-15003
$6.95
1

Headers & Accessories

If you would like to add headers to your board, check out some of the following items:

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50
20
SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

SparkFun Beginner Tool Kit

TOL-14681
$54.95
Feather Stackable Header Kit

Feather Stackable Header Kit

PRT-15187
$1.50

Below is a sample selection of our other headers and soldering tools in our catalog. For a full selection of our available Headers or Soldering Tools, click on the associated link.

Break Away Headers - Straight

Break Away Headers - Straight

PRT-00116
$1.50
20
Female Headers

Female Headers

PRT-00115
$1.50
7
Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

Arduino Stackable Header Kit - R3

PRT-11417
$1.50
12
Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

Break Away Male Headers - Right Angle

PRT-00553
$1.95
4
Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

Insulated Silicone Soldering Mat

TOL-14672
$9.95
3
Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

Weller WE1010 Soldering Station

TOL-14734
$129.00
1
Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.020") Special Blend

TOL-10242
$29.95
7
Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.032") Special Blend

Solder - 1/4lb Spool (0.032") Special Blend

TOL-10243
$24.95
4

ARM Programmers

If you would like to debug or flash your ARM processor on your own, here are some of our ARM Programmers:

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

J-Link EDU Mini Programmer

PGM-15345
$18.00
J-Link EDU Base Programmer

J-Link EDU Base Programmer

PGM-15346
$60.00
J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

J-Link BASE Compact Programmer

PGM-15347
$378.00
JTAG USB OCD Programmer/Debugger for ARM processors

JTAG USB OCD Programmer/Debugger for ARM processors

PGM-07834
$71.95
1

Suggested Reading

Before continuing on with this tutorial, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of these topics if they’re unfamiliar to you:

Installing an Arduino Library

How do I install a custom Arduino library? It's easy! This tutorial will go over how to install an Arduino library using the Arduino Library Manager. For libraries not linked with the Arduino IDE, we will also go over manually installing an Arduino library.

What is an Arduino?

What is this 'Arduino' thing anyway?

Installing Arduino IDE

A step-by-step guide to installing and testing the Arduino software on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Adding More SERCOM Ports for SAMD Boards

How to setup extra SPI, UART, and I2C serial ports on a SAMD-based boards.

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.

I2C

An introduction to I2C, one of the main embedded communications protocols in use today.
New!

ARM Programming

How to program SAMD21 or SAMD51 boards (or other ARM processors).

Qwiic Connect System

One of the new, advanced features of the board is that it takes advantage of the Qwiic connect system. We recommend familiarizing yourself with the Logic Levels and I2C tutorials (above) before using it, as all Qwiic sensors utilize an I2C communication protocol. Click on the banner above to learn more about Qwiic products.