Tag Archives: TI

Code Composer Studio – Surprisingly Free

Part of making a product is selecting the right Microcontroller to do the job. There is a lot to consider, price, availability, features and the cost of the toolchain. Some compilers, IDEs & Jtags can cost thousands.

We have chosen the LM3S6100 (Didn’t have enough RAM) LM3S6432 for the SplashLight. TI (Texas Instruments) offer Code Composer Studio an eclipse based IDE which supports their entire range of microcontrollers. A quick look at the product page shows you can get a 30 day evaluation version but otherwise you will need to spend $495 per seat. Well that is unless you have a XDS100 based jtag which almost all TI’s LM3S dev kits come with! You simply activate the “Free Limited License” it’s only limit is that it will only work with XDS100 jtags, so no code or time limit. I guess they don’t like to shout about it so bigger businesses will just pay the per seat fee’s. But for Makers, Enthusiasts or people with no money it’s great! TI’s wiki page for the XDS100 lists all the suppliers for standalone XDS100 jtags, circuits to make your own or just pick up the cheapest TI LM3S dev kit you can find.

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JTAG issues with Stellaris Cortex M3 LM3S

Whilst working on the software for our, yet to be named network light controller, I managed to stop the Jtag from being able to connect to our LM3S6100 ARM microprocessor.  All code composer would do when I pressed debug was to show me a very unhelpful dialog saying the “Frequency is out of range”.

Useful Code Composer Jtag Error Dialog - "Frequency is out of range"

I knew the board was okay as I had previously re-flashed it many times. Working backwards, my last change was code to control GPIO Port F. Referring to the schematic, Port F shares a pin with the TRST Line (PB7).  So it seems I had accidentally overridden the TRST line and made it a GPIO, stopping the jtag from gaining control of the device, opps!

Click “Continue reading” for the fix.. Continue Reading →

MSP430 that uses FRAM – Remembers forever (Virtually)

As well as shout about the products we want to make, I want to make this blog about other cool tech that we see/use. With that in mind, FRAM (Ferroelectric RAM) has come across my desk this week. FRAM has the speed of RAM but is non-volatile so won’t forget what it knows when it looses power. The mainstream alternative Flash is traditionally used for such jobs but doesn’t yet have the speed of RAM, just about every Microcontroller on the market uses Flash of some sort. Well that was until recently when TI announced they were adding FRAM to their MSP430 range. The MSP430 range has some of the lowest powered micro’s in the industry with the additional of FRAM, that can go even lower, instead of hibernating the processor with just enough power to keep the SRAM alive it can just switch off. The FRAM retains the processors state and varibles, power up again and carry on where it left off.  Even if you’re not that interested in the low power side the other advantages of FRAM, it’s speed and maximum write cycles make it a very exciting technology.  TI do a cheap developers kit, much like the launchpad

MSP-EXP430FR5739 MSP430 FRAM Experimenters Kit

MSP-EXP430FR5739 MSP430 FRAM Experimenters Kit

You can buy this from the TI eStore for $29 $15 with the coupon code : MSP430_FRAM (Thanks to Hackaday for the 50% code), The board has a 3 axis accelerometer and can also be used as a Programmer/Jtag, mines on order!

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