So one day I was reading about surfing the net on DIY stuff and I came across the TI LaunchPad. It looks interesting, and its cheap too. Programming wise, its using almost the same IDE as Arduino. So I told myself, why not give it a try?
I originally thought of buying the EXP430G2 board (USD 9.99), but there was a better deal. The EXP430FR5969 Eval board + LCD Boosterpack Bundle boasts more features than the latter. It has a 64kB FRAM, a 0.1F supercapacitor for batteryless applications, includes a Sharp Low-Power 96×96 LCD with 2 capacitive touch sliders on it. The LCD itself costs USD 19.99 but the bundle only costs 29.99. Its definitely a good deal! Also, shipping by Fedex is free!
I also ordered some (3 actually) models of bare MSP430 ICs, 2 each, through TI’s sample program.
The MSP430FR5969 bundle with the LCD comes in a large blue box while the G2 comes with its own smaller box.
Inside the G2’s box we find:
1. MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad
2. MSP430G2553 microcontroller
3. MSP430G2452 microcontroller
4. Mini-USB cable
5. Quick Start Guide
6. 32kHz external crystal
7. 2 TI Launchpad Stickers
8. 2 Female Headers
While the other box contains:
1. MSP-EXP430FR5969LP board
2. Micro-USB cable
3. SHARP96 Booster Pack with LCD and capacitive touch sliders
4.Quick Start Guide
8/6/14 (Edited and added content 15/6/14)
Since the G2 is for my lecturer, I didn’t cut open the anti-static bag so I didn’t get a chance to try its out-of-the-box example
I did however got to try the FR5969 with the LCD boosterpack.
Its preloaded with several demo applications:
2. FRAM speed
3. Battery Free
4. Active Mode
5. SliderBall Game
The first thing I tried was the SliderBall game(Kinda like pong). The capacitive touch sliders are used to control the paddle.The capacitive touch sliders weren’t that senstive, but it worked okay.
I also tried the battery free application. This app will make the FR5969 go into LPM(Low Power Mode) 3.5, which is one of the many low-power modes the microcontroller offers. It literally can last for more than 8 hours with the screen off in this mode. There is also another submenu, where there is an option called transfer data. It allows us to transfer the logged voltage readings of the supercapacitor from the FRAM to a PC via back-channel UART.
The FRAM speed application is to demo how fast writes on the FRAM can be (At around 7564kBps) and the endurance.
The active mode application allows us to measure power consumption of the MCU. The power consumed is dependent on 3 things: the code, data cache hit ratio and clock speed of the CPU. There are various options to allow us to change the operating frequency of the CPU and cache hit ratio.