Turn-key PCB assembly services in prototype quantities or low-volume to mid-volume production runs

Motor driver shield for MSP430 Launchpad

Motor driver shield for MSP430 Launchpad

Parker couldn’t find suitable motor driver board for TI Launchpad, so he started his own project. Since Launchpad works on 3.3V signal levels, DRV8833PWPR dual H-bridge motor driver chip seemed proper choice. It can handle 2 A load per motor and work from voltages 2.7V to 10.8V. Chip has a nSleep pin that can be used to put driver in to sleep mode in order to preserve energy. This is really nice and simple open hardware motor board to use with smaller motors in hobby projects. Continue reading

Brushless motor driver for TI Launchpad


This is a nice adapter/shield for MSP430 LaunchPad which is capable of driving sensor-less and sensored brushless motor drive. This is so called BLDC booster that can be controlled using Python based GUI. Firmware is still under heavy development, but already works with slower motors. In order to drive sensor-less DC motor Lgbeno adapted InstaSpin technology which is based on flux thresholding of motor. Continue reading

Alarm clock that simulates sunrise

In winter time we get sleepy because days are short. And in order to get up early we definitely need an alarm clock. It seems that regular alarm clocks are boring these days and many of us are looking for something different. Renaud suggests to try his idea – a sunrise alarm clock. It is not something new or unusual, just a digital clock with set of LEDs that imitate sunrise light. Clock is run by MSP430G2553 that runs on MSP430 Launchpad from TI. Precise time is updated using DCF77 radio module that synchronizes time automatically. Time is displayed on nice 4×40 alphanumeric LCD. It also has a speaker alarm in case LED lights won’t break through the eyelids. Alarm sound is generated using PWM signal filtered with low pass filter. Not the best sound but works for now. LED simulated sunrise is built using a bunch of LEDs that are driven using PWM through resistor key. It is hard to tell how close this light is to reality, but idea is plausible.   Continue reading

Bit banging USB on MSP430

MSP430 microcontrollers doesn’t come with native USB peripheral, so if you want to use USB with these micros you need to find a way around the problem. One way as usually is using USB interface chips. This method puts the USB load to hardware level and leaves microcontroller more processing resources. But sometimes we don’t want additional cost or simply don’t want to occupy more PCB space. Then a software USB implementation might work. Currently implementation works for MSP430F2274 and MSP430G2553. Code fits in 9kb of flash memory and runs fine with up to 512 bytes of RAM. So this is cheap solution like V-USB for AVR devices. If you would like to give a try – download Mecrisp from sourceforge. Continue reading

Room visitor counter using MSP430

This project was started as part of learning MSP430 microcontrollers. Rpisces wanted to add some home automation using this microcontroller and so built room visitor counter. Device counts how many visitors are in room. If it detects at least one person inside – it keeps relay switched on. And relay turns lap on and off. IMG Three LEDs keeps binary count of present people. People are detected using pair of IR distance sensors. Two of them are used to detect persons moving direction to figure out weather he is moving in or out. Circuit and sensors are mounted on plexiglass sheet that can be attached to doorway hole. Continue reading

Controlling TI launchpad from GUI

When you need to do simple hardware tests or hacks, usually you need to write a chunk of microcontroller code which would read some analog data, drive some pins of generate PWM. In many cases you may find yourself doing this over and over again. This doesn’t give any excitement and takes your time. Jaspreet Singh decided to make this routine much easier. As he is a fan of MSP430 microcontroller he focused on these and wrote a simple GUI using Visual C#. The project consists of two parts – a microcontroller firmware and PC software. They both talk to each other using serial interface. Currently it allows setting pins HIGH/LOW, read ADC and generate PWM. This already looks great but it seems that project didn’t stop at this point and new features will be coming soon. We should see LCD interfacing, SPI, I2C and probably more. Continue reading