From ultra-low power MSP430™ MCUs and high-performance C2000™ real-time controllers, to Hercules 32-bit ARM-based safety MCUs and Stellaris® ARM® Cortex™-M4F MCUs, TI offers the broadest range of embedded control products.
I had gotten away from the electronics hobby for about 10 years. I was astounded by the amount of hobby interest in microcontrollers and physical computing. I was reading all the information I could find for a few days about the Arduino, when I saw a response at the bottom of a forum post that read something like - "Why not just use the TI Launchpad..."
So I looked into the Launchpad and immediately ordered 3 of them for a total of $12.90 shipped. I had already ordered an Arduino Uno for $30, so I am able to pit the two head to head as I learn.
Round 1 - Hello World.
The Arduino Hello World example is fairly straightforward. Install the IDE and drivers, plug the board in and you get flashing lights. The Atmel chip on the Uno is a SMD securely fastened to the development board forever, so that was pretty much the end of that.
Same project, but this time with the TI Launchpad. The development board was basically the same, and the MCU is comparable. The difference - I got two MCU's in the box, and a USB cable included and even a few headers thrown in.
When I went to take my first crack at the TI Launchpad, I immediately noticed the removable MCU and after 30 minutes of research figured out how easy it would be to just plug the MSP-430 into the middle of a breadboard and build the circuit from scratch. An hour and a half later I had a fully functioning circuit and had learned a LOT thanks to various resources, including the documentation available on the TI site. I had never built a circuit on a breadboard before and I had a complete working microprocessor-controlled circuit complete with on-breadboard power and even a button. I know to all the engineers here that's no big deal, but for someone like me it was extremely cool and fun.
The ease and speed which you can program the MSP-430 and move it to your own board is amazing. Or even program it in place, so I read. (trying that next) For the hobbyist, this is way cheaper and easier than the Atmel route. And that's not even mentioning the price - I can practically steal these chips from Digikey, even in small volumes.
I guess I wasn't with another microcontroller to have officially switched, but I did order the Arduino first. (although TI got the Launchpad to me before the Arduino anyway. You guys are faster than Newegg!) I don't know where my microcontroller journey will take me, but I will surely use the MSP-430 line when I can. It's been a lot of fun already.
Oh - I've been blogging about my "switch" on my blogger account too:
Thanks for taking the time out to share your story and wishing you a Happy New Year!
If there is ever anything I can do to help make your experience better here on E2E, please let me know.
Blake Ethridge, Social Media Community Engagement Manager, Texas Instruments
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