Thursday, July 8, 2010

About Me and my Projects

Hey everyone, allow me to introduce myself. I am an Electrical Engineering student who has been working on a small product for the last year or so. Recently I have had some blown chips and problems with programmers leading me to search for new hardware. Despite how the hobbyist community feels about the MSP430, I very much love the chip. I started as a hobbyist and have worked with PICs, AVRs and some other microcomputers over the last few years and have decided to use the MSP430 for my current projects. In my experience TI always shipped samples quickly and had datasheets that were more comprehensive than some of its competitors.

The main problem I found was the cost of development tools, until the ez430-f2013 was released. This tool was $20 and came with a smaller MSP430F2013 board which was perfect for prototyping. The setup was easy and the programming environment suited my needs perfectly. This chip was perfect for my project, due to the very accurate 16bit ADC in the F2013 board. I am not going to speak in detail about the big picture of my project, but I will provide details from certain pieces which can be reused in others projects and for teaching purposes.

I will be explaining my experiences with the new LaunchPad as I integrate it into my project and hopefully will be able to teach a few people some things about using the MSP430 for hobby purposes.

Please Note: The MSP430 is not like Arduino or similar projects because the programming language is not simplified and made easier for the user. This has its pluses, but also its downside. As always the struggle between high and low level languages has its place in microcomputers. Do not expect this blog or the MSP430 to be as intuitive to code in as Arduino.

The benefits though of this microcomputer is that it has almost unbeatable power consumptions. The integrated features are also fast. How many other chips out there have a 16 bit Delta-Sigma ADC (Analogue to Digital Converter) and drain 220uA while active, that .00022 Amps (1MHz clock).

This is perfect for what I am using the MSP430 for, a low power sensing application.

Next post will discuss more about the LaunchPad specifically, and what I hope to accomplish with it.

Feel free to comment with any questions, I will do my best to answer them.