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?: MSP430 Launchpad
What were the biggest problems encountered?: Getting the software from TI website - CC Studio requires login, so 90's...?
First of all thanks goes to Texas Instruments and Element14 for providing the review sample.
Due to my academia obligations, this review is coming a bit late, but better late than never:)
Another recognisable TI development/experimental board, with red PCB and clearly separated programmer/debugger and experimental sections. It comes in a neat box containing all the bits and bobs necessary: male and female headers, 32 kHz crystal, board itself and a USB cable. Very nice touch is small leaflet placed on the top of the case explaining where to go for further information, what are the FRAM advantages, and how to use the demo software.
First thing to do is to download the software. I have chosen to download the CCS and it is pretty straightforward procedure except two annoyances: download requires login even for free version and if outside US you have to fill out some export regulations form. Duh, if someone is going to use products for bad purposes it sure as hell is not going to tell you!
Luckily, the download of the demo app is painless, although not easy one to spot. TI should package this software on a dvd or usb flash drive and include it in the box.
Once you convince US government that you are only interested in electronics and not weapons, you can start playing by installing the CCS, connecting the board with the USB cable and starting the FRAM_GUI.exe demo app.
First demo is showing FRAM write speed, second demo is FRAM emulating flash write speed and endurance. It is clear that flash performance vs FRAM is tragic, really tragic:)
Other two demos are suited for the board itself, with accelerometer and ntc temperature demo.
Once done with the demo, you can start to use CCS to write your own software and start working the MSP430 FR5739 mcu onboard. Lot of the mcu pins are routed to 0.1 headers on the board sides, so that you can connect it to breadboards and protoboards and explore the functionalities of the micro onboard.
It is nicely configured:
It also has connectors for the CC3000 wireless daughter board and the MSP430F5438 board.
All in all, it is a nice board for experimenting. If you are developing a data logger with high data rate required, battery or solar powered and able to survive lethal radiation then you must try this.
If all you want is to learn about microcontrollers then you might better start with the Launchpad board and progress later to FRAM.