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which development tools for a beginner?

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Hi everyone,


I am just starting out on the MSP430, I bought a couple of the Launchpads, also the C2000 piccolo one and am waiting for the Stellaris one to arrive. I have done some AVR programming using AVR Studio and GCC and some Arduino programming. I prefer to use a Mac but I do have a Win7 laptop.


My main area of interest is developing software to support Ham Radio projects, for example switching low powered transmitters, controlling frequency synthesisers and other hardware mostly via I2C. I'd like to put the code into the public domain. The focus for that is really to get other hams involved in playing with micro controllers many of who have been put of coding in the past. Mostly because when a lot of Hams write code it is pretty much unreadable by anyone else.


Given the above I am interested in what recommendations you may have for development environments. FWIW I have tried, and failed, 3 times to install the Ti Eclipse based one on my Win7 system. There seem to be files missing in the Ti Windows installable package. Whilst I am happy to program in C, it is not the easiest language for a beginner, so if something easier like Python is available that would be great.


Thanks in advance,




PS The only Linux device I own is a Rasberry Pi - Linux and I just don't get on, it's been a 15 year love hate relationship

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I probably can't offer much, but my Win7 x64 system installed CCS 5.2 without issues. I let it install into C:\ and have seen no problems. I actually have CCS4 installed in parallel 'cause of an older Stellaris board (had to add some shortcuts / lnk's to make it work right) with CCS4, but no licensing issues as of yet. I'm still waiting for my Stellaris Launchpad boards to arrive, but I have older Luminay Micro Stellaris working fine and no code limits I can see.


Can't give you any help with Linux though. Try as I have (got RHL 5.2 somewhere around here ;-) ), Linux just won't do what I need to do in the real world, nor can a MAC...

..hard to explain but a lot of the software and hardware I need to use building cellular sites doesn't do anything other than Windows. Find me PIM gear for OS/X... hmmm.

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Thanks for the replies. FWIW I would recommend downloading the CCS5 package rather than install via the Web option. The latter failed on me three times because some files were unavailable on the Ti site. However the download (1.2 GBytes) seems to be installing fine. But be warned it is a lengthy process. On my Win 7 64Bit Acer laptop, doing nothing else, it has taken over an hour and is still going.

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Also, FWIW, If you are planning to use the '640 and other Launchpad boards with a single instance of CCS (e.g. Piccolo and Stellaris) please look at this advice from Ti http://e2e.ti.com/support/development_tools/code_composer_studio/f/81/t/218196.aspx


The CCS Install went fine and I chose the MPS640 + 16 K limit option. Now it's time to hook up the board and play with the examples.

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As installed the CCS does not have a terminal plug in to monitor a COM port. However thanks to my good friend Guido, PE1NZZ (this is his ham radio call sign - I mention it as a matter of politeness to him) I managed to install one. This is what you have to do :-


Start CCS.




Add repository http://download.eclipse.org/dsdp/tm/updates/3.3

and then

open TM and RSE 3.3.1 Main features

and select Target Management Terminal

and then continue

and restart CCS


Once CCS is restarted you can access the terminal plug in by :-

go to Window > Show View > Other then select Terminal

The plug in should then start.

You need to tell the plug in about the serial port you wish to monitor. In my case I was trying out the example temperature monitor application on the MSP-EXP430G2 Launchpad board. In Windows 7 click on Control Panel, then View Devices and Printers you should see an icon for the MPS430 UART, click on that, then on the Properties tab. This should tell you which COM port has the MPS430. Make a note of this.

Co back to CCS and the Terminal plug in. There is a little icon for settings. Click on that. Then fill in the form for :

<the MSP430 COM port> 2400baud 8,N,1 then save these. If all is well you should see a string of characters something like :JJJKKKK. Putting your finger on the chip will raise their value e.g LLLMMMNNN....

Thats it.

If anyone from TI reads this I should make the point that installing AVR Studio and WinAVR is a lot easier and faster than CCS and it is free without any restrictions on the size of the object code. But on the positive side the Launchpad board can be programmed directly whereas the AVR requires an additional hardware programmer which can cost

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FWIW The Energia Arduino fork installed, including the drivers, in about 5 minutes on my Mac mini. The Energia GUI Editor detected the Launchpad board and processor automatically and I uploaded the obligatory "blinky" program to the Launchpad successfully. Compared with the CCS installation on my PC this was a quick and painless experience.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's possible to get a free IDE using Code::Blocks (or eclipse) and MSPGCC. There are some instructions here



The USB issue for mac may have been sorted by now... you'll have to try for yourself. I have met people who are successfully running the MSPGCC toolchain on mac.


That said, I use CSS 5. CL430 compiler is better than MSPGCC is.

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