[Lab] Launch pad

Jean-Marc LeBlanc jeanmarc.leblanc at gmail.com
Mon Sep 20 10:20:22 EDT 2010

Hey guy,
I been using the launch pad for about a week now.  I have not done
that much with it yet, but I have enough to have a few comments in
regards.  The first thing I will point out, is that it is not as easy
to use as the arduino.  The arduino has its own library that
simplifies allot of things.  For example if you want to write to the
serial port with the arduino it is only a matter of serial.open(baud);
 serial.print()  or similar.  On the launch pad, you would need to
figure out how to divide your clock, set an interrupt every X number
of cycles and set the bit manually.  Same thing with the analog pins.
That being said if you have used the arduino with simply the AVR c
code, then this is not any thing different or if you used any other
similar processor.

That being said, if you are ok with the take on programming this is a
great development platform.  The thing that has impressed me the most
is the debugger.  Normally you would need either an expensive
development board or some JTag.  I never ventured into JTag since it
looked expensive and complicated and it looked scary ( I don't know if
it really is though).  This though, is 4.61$ and you can debug your
code.  you can set break points, you can see the value of you
variables and step threw your code.  All you need to do is hit the
debug button the the eclipse IDE and debug it as you would any other
eclipse code.

The chip it self is not as powerful as the AVR (arduino). These 16 bit
processors, only has 2k Flash program space and 128 byte of ram.
Though for simple projects or drivers these are prefect.  They are
cheap and you can even sample some for free.  A good use for them
would be for sensor drivers or line drivers.  For example you could
have that chip read the temperature convert it to Celsius and then
that to your arduino (kinda like 2 threads).  I say this because they
have some neat features like 10 analog pins.  Another thing I like is
you can set an interrupt on raising or falling edges or change of any
digital pin.  To my understanding AVR only has 2 pins for that (please
correct me if i am wrong).

As for the documentation, it took me a while to find what I needed.
There is allot of example code with really bad comments so they are
not that helpful.  what I found the most helpful was the uses guide
with the data sheet.  I think it would be better if there were more
comments or explanation.

I have managed to send data to the serial port and read my snes
controller.  With the new baby and wedding coming up this week end ;)
I have not had time yet to put them all together so that it works.  I
hope to have my SNES controller work on my PC by the end of the week.
If any one is interested in the source.  I will try to comment it as
much as I can so first time users will understand what is going on.

if you are worried about the small program space, my code is only 64
bytes and 16 bytes ram.

Jean-Marc Le Blanc

"Do you pine for the nice days of Minix-1.1, when men were men and
wrote their own device drivers?" Linus Torvalds

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