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bluehash

Have feedback for TI? Please share here.

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Hello 43oh Members and Guests!

In a few weeks, I'll have a chance to meet people within TI. Among them are those who work on the Launchpad platform, marketing, web team and designers of their micro-controllers+other chips that they offer.

 

  • Do you have any good feedback for them?
  • Do you have any critical feedback for them?(They would appreciate this)
  • Any new features you would like them to add to their Launchpad platform?(pins/form-factor/buttons/debuggers/LED feedback)
  • Any BoosterPack inputs?
  • Any Energia inputs/concerns.
  • The TI Store.
  • The TI website(I'll have a chance to meet the web team too, feedback will be helpful)
  • Web presence.
  • Any more that you can think of.

 

TI is one of the few companies I know that try to get close the community. A few of them are members of 43oh, some helping out, some in stealth mode. So please use this opportunity to let them know your views. 

 

Thank you all!

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I am relatively new here, and I can't speak for 430h or any of its members, but I personally value TI and their dedication to the hobbyist with their LaunchPad offerings.  I also appreciate their samples program (although I no longer qualify), and their wide variety of user manuals and other product documentation.

 

The MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad propelled me into investigating TI's microcontroller offerings and the DIP-packaged G2553 has been a wonderful device for me to work with, as it allows for easy breadboarding with great features.  And the CCS and Energia IDEs and GRACE have been blessings for me to work with.  And Dung Dang's and Adrian Fernandez's book, Getting Started with the MSP430 LaunchPad, is a great way to introduce new users to the world of microcontrollers.  Put this book with the LaunchPad and the original Educational BoosterPack and you have a complete introductory course that is very low-cost and a superb way to reach younger and older persons... something that I am trying to do myself with Cub Scouts and neighborhood kids.  I hope to see another edition of this book someday.

 

Thank you, bluehash, for coordinating with Texas Instruments.  And thank you to TI for meeting with our bluehash and for all that you do in the commercial and other arenas.

 

Sincerely,

George Sutton

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I agree with bluehash in that TI is unusual in its commitment to the enthusiast community. Even though it is a marketing effort at it's heart, it is one that is difficult to directly measure in terms of ROI and therefore reflects a corporate culture truly committed to the effort. I highly value both TI and this forum. As a result TI is my first choice, not only for MCUs, but for other semiconductors as well.

 

As good as things are I do have some suggestions.  Based on the forum activity it seems that lately a fair number of people are migrating from the Arduino camp to Launchpads using Energia.  I realize Energia has been an effort that has grown organically, probably taking a boat load of man hours to create and maintain. It is a valuable and very useful tool. However, given the number of installation related questions on the forum perhaps an installation wrapper could be developed.  I envision this wrapper installing Energia to a consistent directory path which would eliminate path issues (e,g, spaces, invalid characters, overall path length). Also, the wrapper could install the Launchpad drivers (either all the current models or specific models chosen by the user at installation).  Improving the documentation is another area that would ease the migration of both Arduino users, and new users, into the TI camp.  I understand that these suggestions would take resources to implement, but I feel that the ROI in terms of increased adoption of the TI product could be worth it.

 

The other area, a minor one, is the TI store.  I fully understand why TI incorporated a shipping charge (and a reasonable one at that) after offering free shipping for so long. In fact, I often wondered how they could sustain free two day Fedex shipping.  However, a significant number of companies offer free shipping above a certain dollar threshold. Perhaps TI could do this as well. An order, somewhat independent of size, has an internal processing cost to the company. A free shipping threshold could encourage orders with a larger dollar value which could benefit both TI and the purchaser.  TI in that the average dollar value per order would increase and the purchaser who would save shipping charges.

 

@bluehash  Appreciate everything you do. This continues to be a great forum.

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The LaunchPad is a great platform. Since the original 2231 device it has been my first choice for hobby projects. In fact, through playing, er, working with the LaunchPad I learnt much of my knowledge in MCU and electronics. The information from TI about the MCU device as well as the launchpad itself, in the form of documentation and engineers' replies to questions, are always helpful, accurate and consistent.

 

Apart from LaunchPad I am also fan of TI calculators, and am very excited to see the upcoming release of the LaunchPad based Innovator System. The package looks great and if TI could probably through this bring more people to the LaunchPad community it will be great. As I understand it, it is designed to be used in conjunction with the new generation of TI calculators for STEM-oriented education settings. Since they will already had the hardware by then, why not take the chance for introducing them to Energia and more programming?

 

The TI website is very well designed. Even though the product line from TI is so diverse, I never had problem finding the information needed from the web site. The web site that is dedicated for LaunchPad is very friendly to people interested who find their way to this platform. One thing I do miss from the most recent version of the web site is those short video by TI Engineers introducing the LaunchPad and their features. Watching real people introducing real product is much better than still images and 3D models imho.

 

The e-store is also user friendly and convenient. I do have a question on it which is, since I do not live in the North American region, does that limit my purchase to some products? It appears if I logged into my account (with my residential address) some products no longer shown as available.

 

TI has been great on communicating with the community. I received regular email brochure from TI and they are very informative. On web presence, 43oh is my favorite site on getting TI information so if TI releases new production information here first hand it would be great!

 

Thank you bluehash for this opportunity to bring us closer to TI, and I'm always grateful for the great site at 43oh.

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A few things from me.

 

Device pinouts - the MSP430-TS range of target boards are quite useful for prototyping. The inconsistent pinouts between devices in the same package mean that one target board doesn't cover many devices. This makes them too expensive for the use they'd get - for hobbyists at least. Not an easy thing to change, but perhaps something to bear in mind for future devices.

 

Energia. I'm not a fan. I understand that it's to try to bring over some of the hobbyists from Arduino, but is this really a good idea? Everything about the Arduino is awful. The MSP430 and CCS is so much better. Bringing that over to the MSP430 just seems to make the MSP430 look worse. I must say I've found this forum far less useful since Energia too. I tend to check unread posts and it mostly seems to be people who can't install it or can't get it to work. Far less interesting and useful stuff here recently in my opinion. I'm sure others will disagree, but that's my view.

 

Grace. Any progress on this? More devices covered? The hardest thing I found with the MSP430 is peripheral setup. It's always takes up a fair bit of time at the start of a project. I found Grace was a nice time saver and could get things rolling quickly without compromising code quality. Perhaps this covers the beginners a little better than Energia?

 

Another vote on finding a compromise on shipping costs. A $4.30 LaunchPad with free global shipping was too good, but the current international shipping costs are prohibitive.

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Hi,

the only thing I want to have from TI: Reasonable International Shipping Costs.

I stopped ordering from TI because of this! I don't buy much, so buying from distributors isn't economical for me.
I'm avoiding TI products, always looking for alternatives from other Component Manufacturer.
This is not only because of the shipping, there are no samples anymore for students (not only when asking directly). I'm not looking to save a penny, I would buy from TI!
AND I'm a big fan of their stuff... I made every survey they send out vai email, but then I stopped. Why should I make a survey which is my time and in feedback I get nothing? No good shipping,(samples)! Nothing...

Look at NXP, they are more active with their NXP Cup why does TI doesn't make things like this? Sometimes I think they are not interested in the university students...

 

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@Fred  I agree that the signal to noise ratio has degraded somewhat with the increasing number of Arduino converts.  As I stated in my post above, I believe streamlining installation would go far in reducing those types of posts. However, I still think Energia is a good thing and I look at it as a gateway drug to CCS.  It doesn't take long before a number of these new users bump into the inherent limitations (due to the abstraction) of Energia. With some successes with Energia under their belt they then start looking at CCS, now better equipped with some experience/familiarity with the TI platform.

 

That said, I still use Energia for simple projects and proof of concept.  I am willing to trade the limitations for the time it saves in those instances.

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As an independent designer I stopped to use TI parts unless inevitable because of their sampling rules. They had gladly sent me whatever I needed for my development, then they stopped. Then I stopped to design using their parts and consequently my customers stopped to buy TI components for their production runs. It is that simple.

I also teach microcontroller courses on a local Secondary school of EE. We used to use MSP430/Tiva launchpads as a teaching platforms. After the insane $21 shipping was introduced, the 16bit course was cancelled (It would had been anyway) and the ARM course migrated to STM32.

So as for me, TI can do anything they want. I do not care anymore.

 

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Well, I'll try this....

 

I've heard of folks (hobbyists) who've gotten CCS for a very low price.

 

Question, then, to TI, is if they can provide the stock CCS to us hobbyists which goes far beyond the 16K compiled code limit.

 

 

And Energia is fantastic without doubt.

Sometimes though, I could use more documentation on the functions all in one place.

 

Bluhash, thanks for your efforts.

 

Cheers

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Energia/Arduino has undeniably filled a void and made microcontrollers more accessible, especially to beginners. Further, many of the libraries are quite good, are useable with a very wide range of hardware, and it is possible to get entirely acceptable results quickly. On the other hand some of the stuff out there is junk, repetitive, or just silly. So here are my thoughts on Energia and making it better:

  • Put a FAQ section in 43oh or on Energia.nu that might cut down on all those repetitive questions from beginners
  • Document the features that make Energia a better product like sleep, sleepSeconds, ....
  • Make sure the documentation is kept up to date. Add some of the new libraries like counterLib to the library page on Energia.nu and remove the ones that are no longer maintained.
  • Poll users on the features / libraries they would like added and put together a prioritized list. Perhaps offer a bounty like TI hardware to those who develop libraries of an acceptable quality. Offer a prize for users who develop quality libraries for TI chips or open source boosterpacks that TI wants developed.
  • The github site is full of requests / bugs that have been there a very long time. Some bugs with apparently known fixes aren't fixed. This needs better management.
  • It seems like there are too many LaunchPads for the Energia team to manage. Don't add new LaunchPads to Energia if the resources aren't there to maintain it.
  • If only the IDE had decent debug capability (I use CCS sometimes with Energia but with varying success)

I am just starting to work my way through CCS and MSPWare / driverlib. Ask me about that next year :).

 

LaunchPads offer superior hardware and are very reasonably priced for hobbyists / makers in my opinion (at least when shipped to a US address). I like the way the extra pins were brought out at the bottom on the MSP432. Please keep the 40 pins for the boosterpacks as close to the standard as possible.

 

The documentation is extensive and generally good although it has taken me a while to understand how datasheets, family guides, etc. are organized.

 

TI employee visibility is pretty low on 43oh at times. Thanks to @@energia for all he does. Thanks to @@bluehash also.

 

I really like the projects that show up on 43oh from time to time and encourage members to post them here. P.S. But not the tutorials on how to turn on a single LED on a breadboard with a phone or read temperature with a DHT22 and an Arduino like show up on hackster please.

 

EDIT: I would like to see a TI response to these suggestions here on 43oh.

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A couple of quick comments.

 

1) Loved the $4.30 Original Launchpad/ Too bad it had to go up in price. I guess I can understand why.

 

2) I wish there was some kind of roadmap for MSP432. It looks like they made one part a year ago and then abandoned the idea. I like the part a lot and wish there were other variations.

 

3) The wireless stuff is great, but the software and tutorials for the wireless are a mess. I got the CC2650 sensortag a year ago and a debugger devpack. Code samples didn't build, and putting the original firmware back in caused features (accelerometer) to quit working. A super part with a lot of promise left a really bad customer experience. I put it in a drawer out of frustration.

 

4) CCS is great, and having a real debugger is awesome. Should find a way to make this work completely with Energia, or find ways to steer Energia users to CCS for the debug facilities.

 

5) TI should make a 3D Printer control board reference design, with all of their fancy parts on it, and all the right software. Maybe a Tiva or MSP432 for the CPU, or a AM335x with PRU assist for realtime stuff. Competitors have gotten footholds in 3D printers and quadrotors and TI could really get a lot of smart people using their stuff by introducing reference designs to build upon.

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I think TI ought to offer ARM M0 parts.

 

Why?

 

Price.

 

The T4MC123 is $11.42 USD each or $7.55 USD per 500.

 

Sure, it's an M4 but it's still expensive!

 

For comparison, an STM32F091 is $5.05 USD each or $2.67 USD per 1000.

 

I bet the reason why they do not offer an M0 is this: they are protecting the MSP430 line from it. 

 

I contend that no one would but the MSP430 if they could get an M0 for a similar price.

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Just my 2c for what its worth.

 

1) Yeah... me too on the international postage. Its a bit of a show stopper for me. I've gone to order a few things and then its "oh yeah that's right... forgot about that" and cancel the order. It was crazy cheap before. Maybe somewhere in the middle ground would be sustainable from both customer and providers point of view.

 

2) The info may be out there and I haven't been able to find it but it would be great to have some real basic info for moving a project from a Launchpad to a standalone bare bones circuit without an actual launchpad. I can do it with an Arduino, but not with any of the TI chips. I have looked at the Launchpad schematics, but am more interested in the minimum it needs to run. I'm a bit of a numpty when it comes to this stuff. Forgive me. ;)

Maybe provide template kicad/eagle schematics with the minimum requirements and the hobbyist can add their extra circuitry to that and make their own boards.

 

3) I like the cloud tools page. Some nice things in there in an uncluttered easy to find location. https://dev.ti.com/

 

4) Really like energia. Its got some issues, but full credit to the guys undertaking the mammoth task of progressing it on many fronts. I promise I'll learn CCS one day.... honest.

 

And as always.... thanks to Blue# for the site.

 

Cheers

 

PTB

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