TI Fuel Tank BoosterPack & MSP430F5529 Launchpad - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: TI Fuel Tank BoosterPack & MSP430F5529 Launchpad

Author: gsgill112

Creation date:

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?: MSP430F5529 Launchpad is most comparable to Arduino Leonardo Board. The Fuel Tank BoosterPack can be compaired to The energyShield for arduino (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/nightshadeelectric/the-energyshield-power-for-your-arduino-creativity?ref=search)

What were the biggest problems encountered?: It was challenging getting values from Fuel Tank BoosterPack and once it started working, during testing I broke it so :(

Detailed Review:

    Hi everyone, this is my First ever Road Test Review so please suggest me any improvements if at all necessary. You can ask me any questions about this Road Test/the Kits I am reviewing; I may not be able to answer all your questions but will surely try to answer all the questions.

 

Introduction:

 

    In this review I won’t go through the technical details of getting started and getting the Project0 working, if you want such a document please go through the links I have provided through the review. Also, I won’t be explaining about the design schematics as you can download them and go through them. Though I will post some simple block diagrams of how the system works. After all we all are Engineers right!! If you request I will put in some time and create a getting started guide. 

 

   Now, that’s clear so, what I will be covering in this review is my experience with the kit, my thoughts on the usability of the kit, development tools and Tool-Chains, where can you use this product and comparison of this product with a worthy competitor, and how does the real board perform, and what are the capabilities of the products.


Product Details/Specifications:

   I thought to pull up a short product brief in sake of the review completeness.

  

   MSP430F5529 USB Launchpad comprises of a MSP430F5529 16-bit MCU with 128KB Flash, 10KB RAM(8KB if USB is used), up to 25MHz CPU speed, integrated USB 2.0 PHY, 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), timers, serial communication (UART, I2C, SPI) and more! It is a complete package, with 2 User LED’s 2 User Switches, an on board Programmer/Debugger and hardware-software support. With a price of 12.99$ it’s a steel.

 

  The TI Fuel Tank BoosterPack includes 1120mAH LiPo Battery with a 40Pin Ti’s Standard BOOSTXL configuration. This means it can be plugged up directly into any TI’s Launchpad and will work smoothly. The Fuel Tank BoosterPack also has an bq24210 Li-Ion battery charger and an bq27510-G2 Gas Gauge with a 3.3v and 5v Regulator that makes it a must have companion if you are working on Wireless projects or if you just want a battery operated operation for your product and want to measure the current consumption of your device. For 26.99$ it is really value for money.

  

For a detailed specification please visit

MSP430F5529 Launchpad:  MSP430F5529 LaunchPad (MSP-EXP430430F5529LP)

TI Fuel Tank BoosterPack:  Fuel Tank BoosterPack - BOOSTXL-BATTPACK - TI Tool Folder

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Initial Thoughts and Testing:

 

    Both, the MSP430F5529 Launchpad and the Battery Booster pack are very well packed with almost all the external elements such as cables and batteries included. The Battery Booster Pack didn’t come with a usb mini cable so we need one to charge the battery.


Ti Fuel Tank Battery BoosterPack:

 

    It took me a while going through the schematics of the Battery BoosterPack. The battery connector they used is a surface mount component and is not a Hobbyist friendly one. The best part is that they have given Jumpers to use I2C Pull-ups and for the 3.3 and 5 V supply lines. They have also provided 0Ohm resistors for Charge Enable (CE), Charge Signal (Charge) and Power Signal (PR) which comes in handy if want to use the respective GPIO Pins on Launchpad. And they have both Male/Female headers so it can easily be used and integrated with prototyping or is a very good Breadboard power supply. This BoosterPack is capable to charging and providing power at the same time.

 

   The Demo application works out of the box, for both CCS and Energia. It’s well documented easy to understand code which gives the status of the battery pack, including the current consumption, temperature and many more. Though i had some issues getting things up and working. The Element14 code doesn't have the driver libraries so it wont compile out of the box.

 

    NOTE: While testing and making changes to the code and trying how much current I can derive from the pack, I guess I have bricked the Gauge, so it’s just showing some garbage values.

 

So, due to bricking the board I couldn’t test it much but, as far as the testing is concerned,

  1. I was able to pull approx. 500mA of current from the battery pack that’s more thean enough for even powering Raspberry Pi or BBB
  2. It is not limited to Ti’s Launchpad’s it can be used to power even your Arduino’s or RPi’s.
  3. It is not just limited to the battery provided with it I have tried a Smasung’s 1180maH battery and it works amazingly.

~20mA Leak Current Fix

 

MSP430F5529 Launchpad:

 

    MSP430F5529 Launchpad has Launchpad’s 40 Pin Configuration which for me means More Pins to work with so awesome!!  MSP430F5529 Launchpad has slightly larger dimensions than the standard MSP430G2xx and TivaC Launchpad’s which is fine by me. Interestingly Ti decided to add a Rocket Logo through the Back of the Board which makes look really cool!! They also decided to add a 5v Supply out on bottom left, which is a huge improvement over MSP430G2xx Launchpad(Now we can connect 5V devices like 16x2 LCD to Launchpad). I has 1 LED i.e. LED1 which can be disconnected from the GPIO and can be used as external LED.  MSP430F5529 Launchpad comes with eZ-FET Lite which is improved version of flash emulation used in msp430G2xx Launchpad. We can program any other msp430 device using the FET tool. The GPIO’s are 3.3v tolerant so need a voltage converter if you are trying to attach a 5v logic to Launchpad. Interestingly this Launchpad instead of having a USB to UART converter, have a USB Hub IC, which multiplexes the MSP430F5529 UART and USB. So, this Launchpad shows up as 2 serial poet connections. Lastly this Launchpad has 2 External Crystals i.e. 32KHz for MSP430 and 4MHz for USB. It also has an internal 25MHz crystal oscillator which is really fast.

 

    MSP430F5529 Demo Application is fairly straight forward and works great. Ti also has a great deal of examples with their CCS IDE (MSP430 Ware) and also for Energia. I have tried both the tools and didn’t find any issues with both the IDE’s. All examples are really or I would say heavily documented so, TI did do a great Job on this. TI also has a Video Lecture series for understanding MSP430 Launchpad (link) and a workshop for MSP430F5529 (link) (Well It says coming soon but the workbook v3 has some part of it). Click this “link” for learning more about the Launchpad.

 

Product Support:

 

    The design and software support for the MSP430F5529 Launchpad as well as the Battery Booster Pack is Open Source which is really helpful to understand what is going beneath the RED SilkScreen Layer

 

Ti’s Wiki page is the best resources and support one can get for MSP430F5529 Launchpad

    MSP430F5529 Launchpad:MSP430F5529 LaunchPad - Texas Instruments Wiki

   

Well there is no real hardware support, so if the board fries up cause you tried to plug your battery in opposite direction; well I am sorry u need to get a new one.


MSP430F5529 Launchpad:

 

    So, moving forward, all TI’s products are really well documented and supported and this little piece is no different. Ti provides you with some awesome tools to program and play with your Launchpad, with all the reference documents for the Launchpad available on the MSP430F5529’s Ti Wiki page.

 

Some of the commonly encountered software for Launchpad

MSP430Ware: This is a bunch of neatly documented and fully loaded with examples all in one package. It’s designed to work with Ti’s CCS.


Ti’s CCS: It’s a code limited version(16KB for MSP430) complete feature packed IDE for the Ti’s Launchpad series. I really like working with CCS as it really gives a in depth control over the code, it has built in simulator and have many add-ons like Ti’s Ultra Low Power checker. There is a new version of CCS (CCS 6.0) coming up in couple of months, this release will support Open Source GCC compilers so, no more Code limitations.


IAR Workbench: It’s another code limited version(4KB for MSP430) IDE. They also have loads of examples and is another good point to start if you really hate eclipse or really like IAR.


MSP430 GCC: Open Source multi-platform compiler for Ti’s MSP430 Portfolio.


Energia: My favorite of all. This is an arduino like(Processing/Wiring based) IDE for Ti’s Launchpad series. Ti added MSP430F5529’s support after rev.10 of the software so, download the latest release.


Battery Booster Pack

 

    Apart from the Launchpad the battery booster pack is also well documented. Element 14 provides a example code for TivaC Launchpad as well as MSP430 Launchpad. This example code doesn't have the driver library included so compiling it will lead errors. There is a example code by Ti via TivaC ware that works just fine.


Product Usage:

 

    MSP430F5529 USB Launchpad is a great tool to use easy to program and use. I would recommend you to use this Launchpad if you are willing to use USB in your project. I needed a USB based solution for my project on which I am currently working

 

    Ti’s Fuel Tank Battery BoosterPack is a must have tool if you are working with Wireless tools or want to run a prototype from a battery pack. You can get the battery stats and can also monitor how much current is the prototype consuming. There are many other solutions available for battery backup, but this one stands out mainly because of Gauge IC from TI by which you can even monitor your battery apart from just powering your system.

 

Summary:


MSP430F5529 Launchpad:


Pros: Very well designed, has integrated USB 2.0, easy to use, In built programmer/debugger and user buttons and led’s  so you can get started with your USB Application without even getting anything else. Lastly, it comes with a mini USB cable (It means a lot on Out of the Box Experience to me).


Cons: Training material is still under construction, so you will have scattered resources to learn about this Launchpad.


Ti’s Fuel Tank Battery BoosterPack


Pros: Have a massive ~1180mAH battery, has a battery Gauge IC to monitor the battery, has 3.3/5v output via regulators, has both Male/Female headers, is easy to use.


Cons: Documentation can be improved quite a lot, has ~20mA discharge in passive mode (can be corrected), very confusing schematics.

 

Final Verdict: MSP430F5529 Launchpad is a Dirt Cheep Complete development platform which can be used for simple applications like learning microcontrollers to developing professional USB based applications. Ti's Fuel Tank Battery BoosterPack is a must have fairly priced Battery addon module which is a must have tool for anyone into Designing/Testing of WSN or for prototype testing or even BreadBoard Power supply , well you can quite as well charge your smartphone with it .

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