Monday, May 27, 2013

MSP430 or PIC?

After sometime using LaunchPad, I was ready to buid my own board utilizing some msp430g2211 on breakout boards laying around on my workbench.  I was going to use the JTAG pins available to program them, but bumped with the overpriced USB-based JTAG programmers/debuggers available in the market.  Yes, I could use the LaunchPad to program these separate microcontrollers, but it's not a good and decent way.

I got a  msp430 BSL usb-to-serial programmer from eBay.  After reading the datasheet for msp430g2211, I realized these type of low-cost microcontrollers don't support BSL, either.  So the only way (other than wiring LauchPad to my protoboard) to in-circuit program the chips is to use a JTAG programmer.  That's a lame, as with PIC microcontrollers, I still could used my PicKit2 to program 44-pin 18Fxx chips.  Even AVR from Atmel could do the similar way using cheap programmer available on eBay or even BusPirate.

Well, sorry msp430, for now I am back to PIC as it has so many features I need (wide availability of PDIP footprints, wide I/O voltage (2 - 5 volt) and cheap programmer).  I am aware there are some open-source efforts to build this kind of programmer for msp430 (GoodFet is one of them, the pre-assembled board is sold at