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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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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.

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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