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TI will no longer accept .edu addresses for samples

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Just got the email today.

 

"Beginning in November, a valid business email domain will be required to order free samples on TI.com. You are no longer able to use an university email domain when ordering samples online. You may, however, purchase small quantities (1

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I switched from TI's educational boards to STM's for my this semester's course because of the prohibitive shipping costs. Now my students are to buy a fully featured breadboard friendly M3 board for $5 and a ST-Link clone for another $3 shipped.

I also discontinued the MSP430 course because there is no sensible reason to learn and use obsolete 16bit micros (not mentioning 8bits) any more. (Well, the FRAM is nice, but not a game changer at all.)

The course-ware took me two weeks of work to migrate, but after all the STM32 is de-facto jelly bean industry standard, at least here in the CZ, so it is better to prepare my students for something they will really work with at their future job rather than learning a niche product they will probably never meet during their professional career.

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I switched from TI's educational boards to STM's for my this semester's course because of the prohibitive shipping costs. Now my students are to buy a fully featured breadboard friendly M3 board for $5 and a ST-Link clone for another $3 shipped.

Ouch!, tell us how you really feel :) You must be using boards from ebay, no?

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In fact, I ordered those boards, ST-Link clones, solderless breadboards, 5V/3V3 breadboard regulators and battery boxes from the Aliexpress, but I think those same can be bought on the eBay too.

At first I considered using Nucleo boards too, but the compactness of breadboard friendly DIL form factor convinced me. Also replacing just the faulty target board gets a bit cheaper than buying a whole new Nucleo. Moreover I hope that my students will probably tend to use those cheap boards in their own hobby projects.

The time will tell; the course just started and so far it goes quite well.

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I usually use the M0 boards so those were not an option. There's actually now full nucleos with that format, like a arduino nano, with programmer/debugger and everything

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Yes, I am aware of those new Nucleo32 boards that ST launched this summer, but the course had to be prepared 6 months earlier. Nevertheless, the price of the Nucleo32 from distribution is more than twice as much as that of the ST-link + F103R8 board combo. Our intent was to encourage the attendees of this course to hack their own projects using up to date ARMs instead of some legacy platform, so competitive price was a high priority when selecting the exact learning set.

M0 is fine for a lot of projects, but it is not as much ARM-ish as M3 ;). It would also take a bit more effort to adopt the course-ware for the M0.

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I usually use the M0 boards so those were not an option. There's actually now full nucleos with that format, like a arduino nano, with programmer/debugger and everything

I just noticed some inexpensive m0 boards the other day

http://www.ebay.com/itm/STM32F030F4P6-ARM-CORTEX-M0-Core-Mini-System-Development-Board-for-Arduino-/252101099984?

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Is teaching students to use unreliably sourced products wise and/or ethical? Won't that work against them in the field when they attempt to design based on unrealistic dev and production costs? Just a thought.

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Is teaching students to use unreliably sourced products wise and/or ethical? Won't that work against them in the field when they attempt to design based on unrealistic dev and production costs? Just a thought.

Well, of course it had to be thought out, but as for the unreliability of sourcing - we ordered a boatload of MSP430 and TM4C launchpads from the TI e-store during years and invested into building courses around these boards .

We had to re-think the term "reliability of sourcing" as soon as the prohibitive shipping of $21 came into account: Launchpads are made exclusively by TI. On the other side, STM32 boards are being made by many producers in China.

As for the development/production costs, it is not the subject of these classes. For instance we use the free Keil MDK as our IDE. I doubt that any of our students will work with a code size limited IDE at their work. Moreover, I do not know any major hardware developer company here in the CZ using TI's Cortex M. As far as I am aware of, the vast majority uses ST, Freescale and NXP parts in their designs, therefore I see no point to stick with TI when teaching students some ARM programming basics.

Also the experience of breadboarding with bare target board and stand-alone debugger will probably more resemble the real life of an EE.

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Is teaching students to use unreliably sourced products wise and/or ethical? Won't that work against them in the field when they attempt to design based on unrealistic dev and production costs? Just a thought.

 

Most low end Cortex M0 and M3 chips aren't really that much more expensive if bought from e.g. Mouser vs from AliExpress. What comes to the boards, they can be usually recreated very easily if needed.

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For me personally, being obligated to use *any* IDE is a hindrance. I wonder what the gcc / gdb landscape is like for these micro controllers / boards.

 

Makefiles, gcc/g++, and debugging via gdb with the Segger J-Link gdbserver works very well for all of them. The GCC ARM Embedded toolchain takes care of cross compiling, and J-Link is able to flash & debug pretty much any ARM chip you throw at it. It's very similar to using gcc and mspdebug for the MSP430.

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Makefiles, gcc/g++, and debugging via gdb with the Segger J-Link gdbserver works very well for all of them. The GCC ARM Embedded toolchain takes care of cross compiling, and J-Link is able to flash & debug pretty much any ARM chip you throw at it. It's very similar to using gcc and mspdebug for the MSP430.

Very cool. I do have a J-Link clone, but supposedly supposed to work with  Segger's drivers . . . I knew of the eabi-none cross toolchain, just did not and well stil do not know how easy, or hard it will be to figure it all out. Both of those boards are pretty cool, but I think that 1Msps ADC( looks like 2 channels exposed ? ) and PWM-  For that price is pretty good.

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I switched from TI's educational boards to STM's for my this semester's course because of the prohibitive shipping costs. Now my students are to buy a fully featured breadboard friendly M3 board for $5 and a ST-Link clone for another $3 shipped.

I also discontinued the MSP430 course because there is no sensible reason to learn and use obsolete 16bit micros (not mentioning 8bits) any more. (Well, the FRAM is nice, but not a game changer at all.)

The course-ware took me two weeks of work to migrate, but after all the STM32 is de-facto jelly bean industry standard, at least here in the CZ, so it is better to prepare my students for something they will really work with at their future job rather than learning a niche product they will probably never meet during their professional career.

 Hi Solipso, I am migrating away from TI too but I disagree about MSP430, I found more bad TIVA technology than MSP, 5529 outperform TIVA 123, rebuilding all design where based on MSP is too much expensive in time and I don't find M0 part more reliable or really faster or more low power. I am sure also casing is a constraint so for now I remain on my idea of MSP on periphery. Also I continue teach MSP to student and not TIVA nor MSP432 I don't like, good peripheral but worst core. ARM I use was on BeagleBoard but again I revaluated RaspBerry, less power but more and more popular.

 Otherwise a real difference is coming out from Altera MAX10, it is low cost and can outperform an M0 too, embedded processor can change life and reuse code as is.

 Thank for pointing me to a low cost dev board but on the past I bought few of them, Never was found how to setup an IDE without buying expensive tools. A link to debugger and some hint too are appreciated.

 About using EDU addresses this was last attempt about shipment:

https://www.fedex.com/apps/fedextrack/?tracknumbers=645122412953&locale=en_IT&cntry_code=it_english

this is more Italian custom sturdiness than TI fault but this also is a trouble when Fedex try just collect few money from education, we cannot collect due we are not a commercial and what they request never can be meet. They don't know how school work so this voided TI university programme too. A Rasperry was placed instead of hi end TIVA on project.

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Is it just me, or are people getting a bit carried away with the term "Arduino" ?

 

 

 

 Hi I don't like the term Arduino too, I use Energia to look what is ready for peripheral and sometimes help me to pinpoint what is wrong on some devices where test sketch is available. I wrote complete SSD1963 device driver as from data sheet, I made it working from a sketch extrapolating all number and I never understood why parameter are not following what is written on DS.

 IDE is too poor and using it as teaching support can help on first approach but then need a good knowledge of what is a processor.

 Good idea from MIT "processing" tools, appreciable the porting to uC world but this cannot be the only teaching due it is a commercial simple lazy way.

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