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bluehash

Launchpad Shields discussion

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This is a thread to start discussing about designing and integrating shields to the Launchpad. If you have any suggestions or ideas, discuss it here.

 

Ideas and thoughts so far:

 

Hardware

--Standard footprints: full board (ala Arduino), half board (across board), and half board (wing-style, across one set of pins)

----All should use stacking headers so shields can be stacked on top of each other

----The half-board designs should be kept tight enough that another board of the same size/setup can be used with it.

--If at all possible, strive to make shields compatible with the entire line of devices.

--For pre-assembled shields, SMD is fine, but for kits, please try to stick to through-hole, or at least pre-populate the required SMD components.

--Provide following chip/family support

----MSP430G2XXX family(MSP430G2001, MSP430G2101, MSP430G2121, MSP430G2201, MSP430G2221, MSP430G2111,

MSP430G2211, MSP430G2131, MSP430G2231)

----MSP430F2XXX family (MSP430F200, MSP430F2002, MSP430F2003, MSP430F2011, MSP430F2012, MSP430F2013)

 

Software

--If a library would facilitate the use of a shield, it should be coded and made available with the shield on day 1, along with schematics, EAGLE files and BOM

 

Documentation

--Board silkscreens WELL DOCUMENTED. No guesswork, no needing to follow traces. All traces labeled clearly. Clearly mark which points are used, and which devices (at least range of devices, eg. g2x11) the board is compatible with.

--Produce a datasheet-type document explaining the shield and it's use. This is one area that most Arduino shields fail miserably in.

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Notes:

[1]

The Launchpad supports the following chips:

- MSP430G2001

- MSP430G2101

- MSP430G2121

- MSP430G2201

- MSP430G2221

- MSP430G2111

- MSP430G2211*

- MSP430G2131

- MSP430G2231*

 

*Included in the Launchpad kit

 

[2]

Pins that we need to route through

msp430_LaunchPad_Pinout.JPG

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Also, per the user's guide:

The Launchpad also supports the following devices from the MSP430F2xx line:

MSP430F2001

MSP430F2002

MSP430F2003

MSP430F2011

MSP430F2012

MSP430F2013

 

All of which, as of the time of this posting, are available for sampling from TI in the N (PDIP) package.

 

Ideas for standardization:

--Standard footprints: full board (ala Arduino), half board (across board), and half board (wing-style, across one set of pins)

---->All should use stacking headers so shields can be stacked on top of each other

---->The half-board designs should be kept tight enough that another board of the same size/setup can be used with it.

--Board silkscreens WELL DOCUMENTED. No guesswork, no needing to follow traces. All traces labeled clearly. Clearly mark which points are used, and which devices (at least range of devices, eg. g2x11) the board is compatible with.

--If a library would facilitate the use of a shield, it should be coded and made available with the shield on day 1, along with schematics, EAGLE files, BOM, etc.

--If at all possible, strive to make shields compatible with the entire line of devices.

--For pre-assembled shields, SMD is fine, but for kits, please try to stick to through-hole, or at least pre-populate the required SMD components.

--Produce a datasheet-type document explaining the shield and it's use. This is one area that most Arduino shields fail miserably in.

 

That's what I can think of so far.

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Thanks for the suggestions guys! Also, note that I've verified that the MSP430F2013 works in the socket on the LaunchPad. The 2013 is the chip I am using for my project.

 

So, I have started writing up a proposal for a standard since there seems to be a little interest based on my blog comments. If the desire grows, I will work on it more and finish sooner. I agree with a few things you mentioned gatesphere, I think documentation is important for any shield, but I would not want to require every shield to provide the schematic and have silk screening to meet a standard to get on some kind of official "list". If there is general acceptance of my proposal I will also generate templates which people can use to document their shields correctly. I know from past experience that when all documentation is formatted the same it's way easier to use.

 

What I'm working hard to do is to make the proposal as complete as possible but yet still leave tons of room for creativity. There is nothing worse than a standard which is so hard on the designers they can not make cool products.

 

Keep the idea's coming. Any responses to what I've mentioned so far? Discussion always helps to make things better. :-)

 

-NJC

_________________________________

http://msp430launchpad.blogspot.com

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I'm appending the master list of ideas as they come onto the top post. So speak your thoughts out.

 

NJC, there will be less interest now as Arduinos have a good reach(forums, advertisements, easy to use) and is known to people. People will start using/trying out stuff only if something is made available. It is upto the interested few to get things going.

 

gatesphere, keep those ideas flowing. Looks like you do have some Arduino experience, which we really need. You have an interesting site design BTW.

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One thing I worry about is that some people think the LaunchPad will eventually approach the ease of use the Arduino has. I'm not sure that ever will happen, it's possible but I don't think likely. The only reason I am waiting for there to be some interest is because if there is no interest there will be no acceptance of a standard. It will be hard to get people to adhere to a standard if it only has the support of a small silly blog like mine. The users have to demand standardization for suppliers to listen. :-P

 

I am probably over thinking this. I'm writing a bit each day and eventually will post a draft. I'll push it out quicker the more motivation I get from the forums and my blog and whatnot. I want to try to condense it as much as possible too, cause who wants to read a 10+ page specifications document? We have to do things like that at our jobs, so why force ourselves to do that in our hobby? Lol.

 

Anyways, I'll keep the idea's flowing into a word document. And will be doing my best to keep up with all the forums.

 

-NJC

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Devices supported by LaunchPad socket have too few IO pins. I will mainly use it as a programmer/emulator and have a better MSP430 model. I already got some MSP430F2252 chips and I just ordered 2254 models also. These two models got 16kB flash and that's also the maximum for the free version of CCS4.

 

The LaunchPad may be good for trying different add ons one at a time and then use with better chips. You could use demuxers but better to use a model with enough IO pins.

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Here's something that just occurred to me: especially with the ability to stack boards, we should be able to come up with all kinds of combinations of shields to approach given projects. Unfortunately, that means there will be conflicting shields (ie. two shields use the same pin, possibly in different configurations even).

 

How much more effort would it be to provide a shield with multiple configurations, eg. a device that provides an output to be read on the ADC could come in configurations where the output connects to P1.0, or P1.1, or P1.2, etc. ?

 

An alternative may be to provide one board design with jumpers to select which MSP430 pins are used.

 

Perhaps that's getting too complicated, but I could see potential use for such a feature, especially with low pin-count devices.

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@bluehash - Thanks! I've coded and designed everything on there, aside from the portfolio/thesis CMS(which is the amazing indexhibit). I'm working on my own blogging system at the moment, Blahgger, and continuing to update and test my other web app ceekrt as well. Eventually, I will have an online code portfolio, which will have a section on microcontrollers.

 

@NJC - Just a sidenote - I would be more than glad to host a copy of the specification draft on my website and point back to your blog. Anything to garner interest.

 

@plazma - shift registers solve almost any problem like this. Seriously. The 74HC595 is like my best friend.

 

@beretta - I think that's a really good idea, and a problem that Arduino shields haven't been able to solve. Also, are you the owner of mspsci.blogspot.com? If so, great tutorials. Keep up the great work! You write like I wish I could.

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@plazma - shift registers solve almost any problem like this. Seriously. The 74HC595 is like my best friend.

 

Yes, you can use the 74HC595. It's best used as a SPI to parallel chip. This is a good way to ad more outputs to the LaunchPad.

 

For a non LaunchPad MSP430 project I would use a model with enough IO pins to save power and PCB area.

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I think I have come up with a decent idea on how to create compatible boards that allow the user to play with larger MSP430s and yet still be able to stick to the standards. For example one will be able to use the 5528 with shields that can be used with the LaunchPad, (and not let all those good extras go to waste either). My goal is to make sure everything plays well together. On a similar note I have described my idea for solving the problem with multiple shields have conflict. I'll be posting the proposal hopefully within a week from today.

 

Remember that we have a large variety of processors to choose from, and each project should use the one that is best suited for the specific application.

 

I'm real glad to see more people here, I hope this forum continues to grow. bluehash, I would recommend making a beginner questions section unless you think it would be better to just keep the beginner questions here. Maybe just add to the description of the General section that its a good place to ask beginner questions.

 

-NJC

_________________________________

http://msp430launchpad.blogspot.com

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This is "OT"(Out of text), but,

bluehash, I would recommend making a beginner questions section unless you think it would be better to just keep the beginner questions here. Maybe just add to the description of the General section that its a good place to ask beginner questions.

 

For now, I'll add "Beginners ask questions here" in the "General" section. If there are too many beginner questions, I'll start a new Forum category.

 

Thanks everyone for actively posting and helping out.

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Turns out it was too large of an undertaking to write a truly complete standard. My post directly after the proposal talks about that a bit. I realized though that the only real way to get a standard up and running is to have examples which people can see and buy. This would alleviate a lot of confusion and give people something to work with. I have been seriously contemplating making a few examples and creating a small online store. Sorry if the standard wasn't what you all hoped, I just really wanted to get my BaseBoard idea out there.

 

Thanks again for all the support guys. Stay tuned to the blog for more information.

 

-NJC

______________________________

http://www.msp430launchpad.com

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