Evaluation Type: Independent Products
Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True
What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: I am really glad that I started working with the Arduino earlier this summer. I had been away from the embedded systems for too many years and had to learn the current tools and devices. I would not recommend the 430 for your first processor.
What were the biggest problems encountered?: As someone new to the 430 series, the volume of information was overwhelming. It took me a while to find which documents I needed to read first.
When I think about how I programmed the old TI9900 sixteen bit processor back in the 1970's, the TI430 took my breath away. The old processor chip was about half the size of the experimentor board and consumed about 1 watt of power. No I am not making this up.
The speed to the device was very good and the number of configurations available was unimaginable back then.
The demo shows off the potential for the FRAM and to a lessor degree the sensitivity of the acellerometer. I will need to dig deeper into the code used to find out how sensitive the device really is.
I also liked the included temperature measurement capability. Being able to measure the thermal environment of the final application could be very useful.
The software tools were very powerful. The Code Composer Studio is very complete and the GRACE plugin very useful. All I had in 1976 was a teletype machine plugged into the bootloader of the development board. Saving and loading software was by paper tape at ten characters per second.
At $30 USD, the board is a real bargain. You get a very capable processor with the accelerometer and temperature sensors. They included at 32.767Khz crystal so that you can establish a very accurate time base for measurements. The various clock arrangements enable you to enter and exit many different modes for energy saving products. I look forward to using them as I set up the device for measurement tasks. With very little code, you can set up sleep mode, event triggers, timer triggers, and a wealth of analog and digital ports to either measure sensors or control devices. The FRAM can store your data very quickly to minimize the on time for your measurement tasks.
The board also supports TI's RF daughter boards. I will be using that configuration in my final project, after I read a whole lot more of the documentation.
If you did not get in on the Road Test, I would watch the TIDEALS website. I am sure that they will have this board available at a discount, just to tease people into trying it. From what I can see, the TI430 family is a very powerful way to go for your embedded projects.
PS, I will be documenting my project as I get it set up, so I will post it as comments to this test report.