Tuesday, August 11, 2015

MSP430 - Energia and Grove

I do have few Arduino around.
Like many people I bought some of them because ... well, I don't know, I guess at the time it was the news, to see what it is.
And I didn't like it much.

Or better, I like something, but not the underlined assumption that you can actually "learn" something. I'm always skeptical about claims of "easy learning".

It could be a good platform for fast prototyping but if you want to write some libraries to support some components or if you need a reliable system, is not an easy environment and it takes actually more time than writing some code from scratch.
Also for speed, power consumption and memory usage, the Arduino platform is not exactly the best.
Too "under the hood" things unknown, unless you are willing to spend a lot of time checking the source code of every library you are using, losing exactly the main reason to use such platform.
Never the less, it is a popular platform and the offer of libraries and 'shields' is impressive.

Ok, why I entitled this post related to the MSP430 if I'm talking about Arduino ?

Recently a friend of mine introduced me to Energia, the equivalent of Arduino for the MSP430.
The same concept, the same language, the same offer of libraries but for the MSP430 LaunchPad  instead the Arduino family based on the AVR microcontrollers.
Actually is possible to run many Arduino sketches "as is" on Energia and viceversa.

The reasons why I don't like Arduino can be applied to Energia, however for some irrational reasons I'm quite attracted to Energia, especially when I discovered the Grove system.
The Grove System is a set of "sensors/actuators" that can be easily connected to a  Grove platform, available for Arduino, Raspberry Pi and .. MSP430 LaunchPad.
For fast prototyping should be quite useful, the offers of modules is impressive and thus it can become very interesting at a price that is still affordable somehow.
Energia has many libraries capable to handle the Grove system sensors/actuators, but I'm still looking out to write the code from scratch.
Simply put, the Grove system should simplify the building of a prototype with a kind of "standardization" connections.
Energia can maybe used in the  "Proof of Concept" or to test some ideas, writing simple, non critical "sketch" to handle the hardware built.

So, I decided to spend some money and time in this platform, Energia plus MSP430 Grove system, starting with a basic entry kit and a MSP430f5529 LaunchPad.

Will see in the near future if is something I'll like or not :)
I'll post future experiments and considerations over this platform.

1 comment:

  1. Thx for mention me on post, just add few more things, library are written on GCC variation and permit simple debug using tools like GDB or integrated IDE like CODE:BLOCKS, all are Linux ready and well ported to our preferred platform.
    Another interesting IDE is CC Studio from TI, it import code from Energia then it is fully open to debug, I explored library from inside finding interesting feature of them, delay don't waste time but sleep awakening by interrupt.
    Another good way is the Launchpad standard spanned across all family of processor so no difference from 32bit ARM and MSP430 or C2000 on code, just recompile if Library are available.
    I found some library not ready for few member but with full IDE was not so hard as from Arduino to debug an unknown lib.

    From this experience was quite simple to extend Energia to some unsupported MSP patching some text files too and also for using 5529 launchpad instead of old G2 model, this enable debugging from CCS, TI is supporting MSP LP G on windows and not on Linux, this sound strange, many bugs are plaguing win dll Com driver but Linux serial devices support was and still is fine.
    Happy hacking to all are here and like this.