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Author Topic: TI MSP430 LaunchPad experiences  (Read 4764 times)
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Grand Blanc, MI, USA
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I'm late to this party (not sure how much of a party it was), just starting to look the thing over. I might pick up a couple, doesn't look like a super impressive MCU, but for the price I figure I can't go too far wrong.

Anyway, I read through a lot of old posts about it, mostly 2Q and 3Q2010, and mostly debating its merits, prospects, and the difficulty of actually obtaining one during the initial crunch.  So now I'm just wondering if folks are still playing with it, what they've used them for, etc., now that the initial hype has calmed down.
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There are a number of useful forums and mailing lists, and there are a fair number of projects. (try http://www.43oh.com/ for a good starting place.)
The 430 is a reasonable line of microcontrollers, and it's hard to beat the price.  What you get is a "real" microcontroller development experience; it's nowhere close to Arduino in terms of "ease of use", and it's a pain to use on non-Windows systems.  OTOH, I don't think it's any worse than developing for AVR using AVR-Studio (really similar, probably.  For one reason or another, a lot of those vendor-provided IDEs look very similar.)

A couple of people are poking around at making it more Arduino-like (including me!), but actual progress in that direction is ... not so much.  It's pretty easy to get digtialWrite() and such working, but as you get to the more complex functions there are fundamental differences (and worries about fitting in 2k of program memory) that make progress increasingly difficult...
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Romania
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i had a bad experience with ti msp430 - wrote some buggy code that made the msp430 reset over and over tried a few things suggested on TI forum but none worked and as westfw said its a pain to get working on linux (actually i didn't got it working) so i was using a windows xp in a virtualbox)
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Grand Blanc, MI, USA
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I haven't tried AVR Studio, but have used WinAVR a bit with some degree of success. I did find 43oh.com but haven't spent much time there yet.

I splurged to the tune of $12.90 and ordered the maximum allowed (three) LaunchPad kits (I'm a sucker for free shipping), and it looks like they will ship soon. Being a relative microcontroller noob, I only know AVRs, and while they seem to be just super devices, part of me feels compelled to explore others. Not sure what I'll do with these, or even when, but I'll have them just in case I get bored or something.

If I were to choose one aspect of Arduino that makes it so easy to use, it would be the inclusion and availability of more-or-less "standard" libraries for common functionality, e.g. SPI, Wire (I2C), Serial and its software cousins, etc. Do these exist for "real" microcontroller development? I poked around AVR Freaks and such a bit, perhaps not enough, but didn't find much along those lines. It sure seems like there could be a lot of wheels reinvented. Maybe standard libraries exist within the bounds of various MCU development organizations, and that works well enough.
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Grand Blanc, MI, USA
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Ordered these late on Thursday, they arrived today.

Glad I'm not in Japan, I might be building a screen room!


* Launch Pad Notice.jpg (104.26 KB, 742x553 - viewed 80 times.)
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You know, I was just looking at the LaunchPad page again, and things have changed a bit.
While the initial interest was largely due to the low cost, the CURRENTLY shipping LaunchPad is a much more credible competitor to Arduino.  The chips included are 20pin versions with 8 and 16k of flash, more than one PWM output, and a hardware UART...  and msp430-gcc development has been very active recently as well.  It might be worth getting back to those attempts to get the MSP430s supported by the IDE...
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You might want to check out Energia (Arduino IDE) for msp430

http://www.43oh.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1722#p18891

-rick
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I ordered some new launchpads form a distributor, expecting to get the new version with 20pin 8kbyte chips.
But I got the old version instead :-(
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Texas Instruments estore.ti.com is the only way to go when it comes to a Launchpad.  It only costs $4.30 and has free shipping.

-rick
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I ordered a LaunchPad directly from ti.com a few weeks ago too. The website says additional units are available every 2 weeks, and my order confirmation said 1.5 months of wait time, but I got it in 3 days. Fedex directly to my door in the other side of the world from ti.com, and it was the new version.
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hm yeah I stuffed a launchpad in my last mouser order and got the old 2k flash version.  Stuffed some 16k flash chips in the latest order I should be getting early this week.  Guess I should go direct thru TI for that stuff...
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I got mine over a year ago.  I eagerly opened it up and realized the compiler environment was Windows only.  It went back in the box and has been sitting on my self ever since.
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There is a gcc compiler environment for MSP430, and you can run it on linux and Macs.  There is a somewhat active community (not as big as you'd expect based on the number of launchpads "sold", but pretty significant.)   The msp430 gcc compiler is under active development (active enough to be "exciting", in both good and bad ways.  One of the relatively recent developments (since launchpad was first released) was an arrangement with TI whereby the gcc environment can (and does) use TI-provided include files for the chip-specific peripheral definitions.  This isn't as good as if TI supported the gcc environment themselves, but it's a lot better than having the gcc community have to maintain all those files themselves!  (a lot of the other recent development has to do with supporting the "extended address" (>64kB) MSP430s...)
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There is a gcc compiler environment for MSP430, and you can run it on linux and Macs.  There is a somewhat active community (not as big as you'd expect based on the number of launchpads "sold", but pretty significant.)   The msp430 gcc compiler is under active development (active enough to be "exciting", in both good and bad ways.  One of the relatively recent developments (since launchpad was first released) was an arrangement with TI whereby the gcc environment can (and does) use TI-provided include files for the chip-specific peripheral definitions.  This isn't as good as if TI supported the gcc environment themselves, but it's a lot better than having the gcc community have to maintain all those files themselves!  (a lot of the other recent development has to do with supporting the "extended address" (>64kB) MSP430s...)


Have you had much luck getting the serial port drivers to work on a Mac for the LaunchPad?  I ended up d/l'ing something off TI's website that talked about modifying USB vendor IDs 'n stuff, but when I tossed the driver on mine (Snow Leopard) it just reported some unknown error.  I guess I'll post in the 43oh.com forum and ask but was looking for clues..
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No.  I got the HID interface working so that the MSP430s could be programmed, but never had the serial interface working at the same time.  There were rumors that there were incompatibilities between the way the Mac and the TI board implemented "compound devices."  (However, I think that was two MacOS releases and at least one firmware release in the past...)
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