TI is competing with the MCP430 LaunchPad

Looks like TI's finally gotten in on the game. They've just released their new MSP430 Launchpad.

They're releasing it for $4.30 with free shipping! Obvioiusly this won't utilize the Arduino IDE or anything (hence it's posted in Bar Sport), but for those more familiar with C programming, it's a sure deal!

I'm trying to buy 2, but their servers are really crippled from all the traffic at the moment.

Hackaday did a good little writeup here.

Tell me what you guys think!

I can't see the $4.30 price lasting for long. Clearly they're selling these at a loss to try to build mindshare.

I am trying to get one (their site is hammered) but lets be fair, they dont have a community, they dont have open or free compilers (these chips just happen to hold less than the cutoff point of the demo's of the commercial packages) and they are VERY tiny in storage and memory, almost to the point where your going to end up spending a lot of time banging asm just to get simple stuff to fit

Agreed, but for the price, it's worth a shot :).

I couldn't get through on the website, and ended up calling them. You can find their number here:

The person on the phone said he didn't have an estimated shipping date, and there was some BS about an initial $25 shipping charge that will be refunded later. Still, I think this is a good opportunity to get my feet wet in C.

that is another thing, TI takes MONTHS to ship anything unless your ordering it by the reel, you can see their real target in some of the product description

"use this chip and its less than 0.25$ each (in quantities of 100k or greater)"

Yeah :(.

I hope they may be a bit faster with this in an attempt to get better attention, but I'm doubtful.

TI just updated the wiki page to change the ship date to July 5th. That's not nearly as bad as I had expected :). Hopefully mine will ship then because I ordered it early. :slight_smile:

good, I was hoping to hear a shipping date quote from somewhere

as soon as i get a chance to hammer their site some more I am going to try and order it, I dont really like the idea of charging my card 25$ for whatever with a refund whenever :wink:

Agreed. If I had patience, I would have waited, but, lacking patience, I gave them a call :).

Can anyone explain how to use MSP430 pins as GI/O?

I've been googling up a storm here, but all I can find is things that just make no sense due to not thoroughly explaining.

I can't figure out how you command an individual bit in a port to Input/Output and how to write/read them....

Any help?

TI has been doing pretty interesting development boards of the MSP430s for a while now (since the EZ430-F2013 in 2006, really) and "somewhat paying attention" to the lower-volume markets (the xx2013 being available in DIP packages, for instance.) But this is going even further, which has to be good.

The MSP430 is a nice series of processors, BTW. There's a "report" here: http://web.me.com/westfw/Old/trip-report-msp430.txt MSP430 IS supported by gcc, BTW. Though not so well as AVR.

heh TchnclFl, it took me a bit of digging to figure how to do it with avr chips (not using the arduino commands)

its probably similar, ports are constants bytes / words (as in the case of the pic32) where you can twiddle the bits by using "simple" bit operators

I mean, it's not nearly as simple as one would expect.

I can see where you refer to the port ("PxDIR" where x is the port), but there are complex operations like |=, &=~, etc that I just don't understand, followed by what seems to be an arbitrary Hex value.

For instance, apparently to set Port 1.4 HIGH, you do this:

P1OUT |= 0x10

and to set it low, you do this:

P1OUT &= ~0x10

.... :stuck_out_tongue:

Does anyone have a link on how to do Arduino direct port manipulation?

well setting a pin on an avr without the arduino goes

PORTB |= (1 << PB4) port b pin 4 high
PORTB &= ~(1 << PB4) same but low

direction is

DDRB &= B10000000, which could be written 0x80 just as well, the hex numbers are representing the same value as the binary number, heck you could put 128 in there and have the same result and is which pin you want

so yea its pretty much the same instead of port A B C you have port 1 2 3

Has potential..
Now if I didn't get some new parts for my arduino, I might've braved their site to order one.
Still, 2k of flash, 1 timer, 16bit.... not big specs, but this is supposed to be an energy efficient microcontroller?
Could become arduinos little sister? I dunno, it still sounds interesting..

They'll sell a lot of these at their gimmick price, to end up in random parts bins.

I just don't like crippled-unless-you-pay development software. It's another thing that Atmel got right.

Ignore Arduino for the moment. You still have AVR Studio, a pretty decent and full featured IDE. Works with a wide range of programming hardware, works with their full range of microcontrollers. Debugger and simulation included. You can write assembly or have it automatically pick up your WinAVR installation and use AVR-GCC with debugging and stepthrough. Free.

If I want a 2K microcontroller...I use an ATTiny24 and AVR Studio. If I want a 256K microcontroller, I use an ATmega2560 and AVR Studio. A lot of the code will run on both devices.

For those who use their own editor and makefiles and GCC, probably because they are on Mac or Linux, the argument begins to fall away. Assuming GCC for MSP430 is good enough and supports new devices quickly, it's almost a wash.

However, TI is late to the party. I'll continue to use AVR and PIC because I'm already familiar with both architectures and TI doesn't have a compelling reason to learn a third.

adding ontop of that, once you invest the time and effort learning "their" system there is not much above this series

yes they offer plenty of choice but that is a whole new (100$+) dev board and then your hitting the wall against their compile tools

5 bucks and to learn something new, and maybe do something useful with it, sure why not, competition to arduino, eh maybe just a tiny fraction due to the shock cost and the hype right now, long term solution no, its hard to get the parts, its a closed system, and just to equal the specs's of arduino its going to run you 100$ on a totally different chip / dev board (oh and that ~500$ ide, or do it all yourself with a maybe not fully working gcc)

Well after a sour experience with the STM discover, I'm rather cautious. It took me around 3hrs to figure out tools required and the installation process with repeated errors and conflicts. I gave up on it even before i started and have packed it up for the time being. I still remember how i plugged in the arduino... and bang i got the led blinking in no time... pic with ccs and mplab was ok as well...lets see...

Nice price, however the very small program and ram size of the included processors (max of 2k flash and 128 bytes of ram) make it not of much interest to me. I certainly can see it's use in high volume production because of the extremly low cost devices ( 52 cents for the largest!), however for most hobbyist use I think the AVR devices supported by the Arduino platform are much more useful. I'll pass, more the cost of time for the learning curve then anything else.


once you invest the time and effort learning "their" system there is not much above this series

I wouldn't say that. There are quite a few MSP430-based development boards out there (from TI and from third parties), and the CPU line goes up through 16k RAM and 256K of flash. Also, if you happen to LIKE the TI development environment, its full-feature price tag includes support for ARM and DSP-style chips as well...