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

Test your reaction with MSP430 reaction game

We all love games aren’t we? Sometimes simple games may be much catchier than heavy stuffed PC game. If you love building electronics toys this might be interesting. This is called MSP430 reaction game. The idea of it is really simple. There are eight LEDs connected to MSP430G2231 using shift register. Microcontroller simply scrolls LEDs at selected speed and player has to stop light at specific LED. Build it and it may keep you busy for some time. Continue reading

MSP430 online compiler

Normally when programing microcontrollers you have do install compiler tools locally on your PC. What if all this could be shifted online. All you would need to do open browser type in address and start writing code. Inventor Town has been doing this with MSP430 microcontrollers. This is cloud based MSP430 C compiler with simple IDE. All you need is to log-in with Google id. They seem to support couple microcontrollers including MSP430x2231 and MSP430x2211. Also don’t expect too much from editor – it is very basic. Overall this is great idea especially if you are moving person and would like to have tools withing reach of your hand. Another benefit of using cloud based tools like this is that you don’t have to worry about software updates – all is done in one place without your intervention. Continue reading

Small sized 8×8 LED matrix toy

Greg designed a small sized 8×8 b-color LED matrix toy that allows doing fun stuff. Device PCB matches the size of LED display. It features MSP430G2201 microcontroller that ensures low power consumption because backpack is powered with CR2032 battery. Software is written in ASM language and compiled with open source naken430asm compiler. If you want to display some graphics, there is a perl script that allows converting PNG in to sprite image. Greg had fun building this toy so he has plans on doing a second version with some improvements he learned with first run. Continue reading

New to MPS430? Here is a quick startup guide

MPS430 microcontrollers are great choice when low power consumption is essential. If you are new to these microcontrollers there is always a small barrier to start working with them. From hardware perspective TI has released several hobby level developing boards like famous Launchpad ($4.30). Embedded-lab has prepared a great tutorial on starting a project with Code Composer Studio (CCS). Bu going through tutorial you will get some basics on TI Launchpad board. Also it will guide on setting up a developing environment and finally you will write your first small program that blinks LEDs. Ti launchpad comes with hardware programmer/debugger built in. So you only need to huck-up board to USB port and you can have upload working without any other special hardware. CCS also gives ability to debug your code by running code in steps and seeing microcontroller internals. Continue reading

Robot Hand controlled with Ti Launchpad

Toys for kids are really fun today. Even adults find them entertaining. Take a robotic arm OWI535 which was developed by OWI. It has four degrees of freedom and a gripper. Arm is quite entertaining but the main disadvantage is that arm is controlled with wired remote control – no brain attached. So Eric hacked this toy by adding TI launchpad to it that allows controlling arm from computer. For this he developed a motor driver circuit with FAN8200 IC that are capable of driving DC motors. Three of them takes care of six motors. Ti launchpad has a built in USB to TTL converter that allows seeing device through virtual COM port. With Robot Vision Toolkit he wrote simple GUI where every motor can be controlled by clicking an arrow on image. Why not take programming a bit further and add some intelligence where robotic arm could perform some automatic tasks. Continue reading

MSP-EXP430FR5739 LED blinking project for starters

Texas instruments offered a great deal on MSP-EXP430FR5739 FRAM development boards some time ago. If you were lucky enough then this board is sitting on your table. This development board is great because MSP430FR5739 microcontroller has FRAM memory instead of Flash which is much faster and its endurance is almost infinite. Besides this development board has many other great features like 8 programmable LEDs, MTC thermistor, place for LDR resistor, 3 axis accelerometer, couple user buttons and rest of free pins available for prototyping. You don’t have to bother with programmer and debugger as all this is already on board. So you get pretty powerful toy to play with. MSP430FR5739 comes with 16KB of FRAM memory that is exact amount supported with free Code Composer Studio (CCS). No wander this is a great choice to get started with C programming. The only way to start with is flashing LEDs. Circuitgeek goes through all steps from setting project structure, writing code, debugging and programming chip. So if you’re looking for a place to start this may be a good start. Continue reading