Sunday, February 26, 2006

Life with MSP430

I am excited about the soon-to-arrive MSP430 programmer and a few sample chips, courtesy Adrian Valenzuela from TI. MSP340 has been on my radar for quite sometime, but never had a real need to play with another 8/16-bit chip. AVR wasnt bad even back then and its gotten very good now. It also got a big macho brother now, the AVR32. But more about them later...

Lately, I have become interested in Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN). One of the interesting applications that WSNs have been used in is the tracking of wild animals. ZebraNet and Great Duck Island experiments are interesting and they show how useful the WSN can be in getting information that was previously impossible to get.

Now, WSN would use a microcontroller and low power IS prime importance. MSP430's claim to fame is the extra low current consumption capabilities. I heard folklore showing a MSP430 run some application off a lemon battery. I sure will try to test that claim. Thats the biggest reason I am going to play around with MSP430.

Its heartwarming to know that MSP430 has GCC toolchain called mspgcc. So that should take care of expensive software tools. Although, in India, its still difficult to buy MSP parts as easily as AVR or 8051 derivatives. Till then, beg for samples, borrow or steal...

Dhananjay Gadre

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