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Alternatives to MSP430FET

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I was wondering if anyone has had positive experience or recommendations for an alternative to the MSP430FET.   I have a few of them but I'm just finishing up this open source project and I want to be able the recommend alternatives to buying the FET.    The project is a cc430 based web server, that's also a wireless access point for simpliciti, a few end points, and an iphone app to control it all.   I usually develop with CC studio and a pair of FETs one for AP one for EP, but that's pricey if you don't have them already.   So I was thinking at worst someone could get a cheap programmer and at least be able to compile code, flash and test, maybe you have to pay a little more to single step...  Oh and I made my boards spybywire 3 pin :)  but the cable is simple enough to make.


Anyway any advice or experience you've had with alternates would be welcome.




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TI's MSP430.DLL software (used by CCS with their native flasher tools) only acknowledges the ability to program MSP430G2xxx chips from the original MSP430G2 launchpad (and maybe F2xxx? Not sure) but the open-source mspdebug program can program just about any MSP430 that uses Spy-Bi-Wire using the old launchpad, using the "rf2500" driver. The new F5529 LaunchPad supports programming all MSP430 (SBW) devices through TI's MSP430.DLL using mspdebug (using the "tilib" driver) or TI's CCS tools.


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  • 2 weeks later...

5529 launchpad indeed works to program CC430 over SBW.  So does the Chronos dongle (naturally).  Make sure to set-up CSS with HW breakpoint only.  In any case, if you're doing any kind of real time networking, HW breakpoints are all you want to use anyway.


Olimex makes a direct replacement for the 430FET which is much faster.  Sometimes, that's worth the money.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for all the advice!   Just so I'm clear looks like you can program with F5529 launch pad, but you can't single step or set software breakpoints like you can with the FET?    So I couldn't set a breakpoint somewhere in my main function right at say led_one(1); and have it stop there.   Sounds like it could still stop for interrupts or exceptions?   


I ordered one so I guess I'll find out either way :)


Thank you

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Just so I'm clear looks like you can program with F5529 launch pad, but you can't single step or set software breakpoints like you can with the FET?

If you probe deeply into the MSP430 documentation, you will find that the MSP430 MCU itself has some built-in capacity for debugging features.  That is, it knows JTAG, SBW, and it has some breakpoint and step features.  This is what is meant by a "hardware breakpoint."  A "software breakpoint" is implemented through the FET itself, so there can be some lag between the peripherals and core of the MSP when you are using software breakpoints.  Otherwise, from a user perspective there is little difference between a HW and SW breakpoint, unless you are debugging a timer and you are noticing that it has erratic values in the counter register when your code hits the breakpoint.

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  • 2 months later...

indeed the upper portion of a MSP430G2 launchpad pcb is able to program various msp430 chips - I used it mostly with f5xx, BUT you have to be warned that by default it will send out 3.6V on all IO lines (and Vcc).


in case your project runs on a lower voltage you risk to slightly dent it.


fortunately this can be 'fixed' by replacing R8 on that board with a 47K value 0603-0805 resistor. see pic.

this will lower voltages to a more manageable 3.0V, which is the lowest limit at which the usb chip will run.


the new MSP-EXP430FR5969 is even better equiped - it has an additional JTAG connector and (in theory) software controlable dcdc regulator.


I also have a much more expensive olimex programmer, but I tend not to use it due to it's glaring bug that shows itself under linux.


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