Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
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?: MSP432P401R
What were the biggest problems encountered?: My level of expertise. There was no shortage of intermediary support, but I am a student and I quickly realized two things: this board could lead to projects with remote automation, V2X, IoT, biomedical sensing, and do it in a way which looked to produce very little heat or other wear on the device. These ideas excited my fresh, underveloped, useless mind. I had no idea how much I did not know. AMA.
I am a student: understand my role with the project. I had some idea I was just going to "whip up a little V2X network, no big deal" and save lives where dangerous intersections and roadways claim the lives of distracted drivers leaving lane with a text jammer. I pulled data from an annual DOE, PENNdot, Highway Safety report from my home state of PA, went to a council meeting and chased down a mayor to lend me a car to tinker with because I thought I had a good plan, but I had no idea how out-of-depth i was when I hatched this plan. He, the mayor, said he would pay me. I studied grants, found some contacts, and finally got around to carving the Christmas goose, Project Zero. Unfortunately, the mayor pulled all support and left me hanging with skin in the game, not cool at all... which was a blessing because it turned out I was way over my head and me and my CC2640R2 spent many a lonely designate "project night" together looking at how Bluetooth can be extended or retained in networks, studying, because that is what a student does when one does not know. This road test review rambles because the writer is tired.
It is at this point that the word "student" becomes more relevant. I had been pulling books from the state library system, digging through slide presentations at IoT conferences, checking capabilities of antennas, basically drowning in my ineptitude. I thought this product would help me understand my junior level mechatronics Programmable Logic Controllers coursework, maybe open the door on new applications: That goal was attained. I am seeing more general ways to approach network communication that will theoretically help me when I dip into unknown manufacturing ecosystems and root around in RTUs for control solutions; I will remember this ruggedized board. If ever I was so lucky, but let us be perfectly honest, we both know that if I flipped a coin and one of the choices was, "take the job fixing and filling snack machines", then the other choice would also be something equally cringe-worthy and tragic. This is my way of underselling my experience because I come from a little town called Project Zero, and tarried far from it I did not. This is my brief Launchkit spasm:
I received the item by Quantum mail took it home and tried to install it. I used my launch code, got my Code Composer portal working, used my crappy phone to get some Google Eddystone magic percolating in my ZTE cheapo phone, and I used it to ID Bluetooth devices in my environment. I got the light blinking. I had no idea I was shifting bits in an address designated for hexadecimal code 0x00 or 0x01 are hex, right? I was too busy dealing with Fermat's primes and p-adic series and how they might relate to auctioning signals in a field network to even describe why I was so lost as to what to do with that blinking light. No antenna, no car, no sensor tags, no NFC phone, no boards, no slaves, no idea how to deal with ARM Cortex M series stuff, student. I met with my professor and she thought the glucose meter would work, but I was out-of-my-depth. She was correct.
I made the mistake of not downloading PuTTY the first time, dumped everything but the manuals and started over.
I also downloaded the entire universe of anything I thought I could use.
The experience of getting the phone to control an LED on the board from a foot away, then two feet, then...seventy feet away, as seen from the neighbor's yard cross the street, where I pointed my phone at board inside, across the street beyond the lawn, and toggled the LED on and off. I lost my screen snippets of PuTTY in action. I tried to use the software to send text messages but was unsuccessful. Sensors, extra boards, jumper cables, tags, all of that so much useless. I think what I missed from Code Academy was a rich diversionary library of projects. Project Zero was like the Hello World program. I was looking for more familiarity with Code Composer, and I needed more examples.
I liked the Smart RF Studio. Good HMI. I felt like I could test things and not break something.
Context: I am working with Siemens TIA Portal systems on S7 1200 and S7 300 PLCs in class to control electric and pneumatic handling, sorting, testing stations. I would like to be able to create a remote sensing and control system, a mini SCADA, to control a device to execute a single program and log its activity periodically. The problems I encountered trying to figure out how to change timeouts and advertising rates in relation to velocity, and scale of interruption/level of safe ( nothing affecting driveability whatsoever ) penetration into a car within a phone or nav system, was that, again, without a car to mess with, not much dev in the house. My own car is so old it does not have a nav system. I have worked with Vex and Arduino to control field devices or agile robotics, but this launchkit is out of range of my abilities. I am going to reorient with a MSP432 next month and build an inexpensive project, an UUV, I found in a book by Dang, Pack and Barrett, hopefully IN ADDITION to getting an antenna, a sensor kit, another board, an outdoor motion-sensor camera, and so on...then trying again!
So, nice kit, nice board, student unprepared for the awesomeness, but learned a lot, and is excited to continue to explore projects like this one.