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TI's Amazing $4.30 LaunchPad

MSP430 LaunchPadTexas Instruments has released a very interesting new development tool for its MSP430 Value Line of microcontrollers, a complete development kit -- a development board, 2 programmable MSP430 microcontrollers, a mini-USB cable, and an IDE for software development -- all for only $4.30!

This is an amazing price, and obviously comes nowhere close to covering TI's costs. So why are they doing it?

Simply, they want to get engineers and hobbyists to try the MSP430.

I guess I'm part of their target market -- I've been aware of the MSP430 for some time, and have always wanted to try one out, but have never been willing to invest the time or the money in acquiring development tools. But at $4.30, what do I have to lose?

So I purchased two of them. But apparently a lot of other folks jumped on this as well, because the dev kit is now backordered. Come on TI, you wanted attention, and you got it, so don't act all surprised -- get me this kit while I'm still enthused about it!

Here's the press release from TI:

TI's new $4.30 LaunchPad is a complete development kit for harnessing the ultra-low power and 16-bit performance of MSP430™ Value Line MCUs

Furthering its commitment to merge 16-bit MCU performance, ultra-low power and ultra-low cost to overcome shortcomings of 8-bit MCUs, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) today announced its new MSP430™ MCU Value Line LaunchPad development kit. For $4.30, the open source kit includes all of the hardware and software needed to easily launch designs based on TI's MSP430 Value Line MCUs, which start at 25 cents and offer up to 10X performance and 10X battery life over 8-bit MCUs. LaunchPad supports rapid prototyping and development by allowing developers to quickly drop-in MSP430 Value Line MCUs to evaluate, program or debug devices. This flexibility allows developers to remove programmed devices to be placed on a custom board, or remain plugged into LaunchPad to leverage on-board buttons, LEDs and breakout pins for external components. For more information, including multiple production-ready open source projects, please visit

LaunchPad is compatible across the MSP430 MCU Value Line allowing developers to adapt to evolving design requirements in fast moving markets. MSP430 LaunchPad and Value Line MCUs provide a complete development environment to enable applications including 3D glasses, gaming controls, touch sensing, smoke/fire detectors, wireless networking and more. Additionally, since all MSP430 MCUs are code compatible, solutions developed using LaunchPad can be seamlessly migrated to any other MSP430 MCU for added scalability.

Key features and benefits of MSP430 LaunchPad Development Kit

  • DIP target socket, supporting up to 20-pin devices, enables rapid prototyping with MSP430 Value Line MCUs; developers can quickly drop in MCUs to evaluate, program or debug devices
  • Programmed MCUs can be easily removed and placed into custom PCBs and breadboards
  • Developers can leverage pushbuttons, LEDs and breakout pins for external components, allowing LaunchPad to function as a standalone system
  • Integrated, USB-powered emulator permits flash programming, firmware debugging and serial communication and eliminates need for external emulator
  • LaunchPad interfaces with any MSP430 Value Line MCU, existing eZ430 target boards and MSP430 devices with Spy Bi-Wire capabilities
  • Free compilers and debuggers available for download including Code Composer Studio™ IDE and IAR Embedded Workbench, providing a complete software development environment
  • 32kHz crystal increases MSP430 MCUs' integrated digitally controlled oscillator to real-time accuracy for various peripherals and timers
  • Two MSP430 Value Line devices included; one pre-programmed with demo firmware to demonstrate the use of on-chip peripherals, including 10-bit ADC, comparators and internal temperature sensor
  • Open-source design allows developers to create their own hardware based on LaunchPad
  • MSP430 MCU LaunchPad Wiki provides multiple production-ready open source projects to allow easy evaluation, design and community collaboration
  • For a limited time, free shipping is available from TI's eStore, making LaunchPad truly a $4.30 development kit

Pricing and availability

The new MSP430 MCU Value Line LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430G2) is priced at $4.30 and customers can immediately place orders at

TI's broad portfolio of MCUs and software

From general purpose, ultra-low power MSP430 MCUs, to Stellaris® Cortex™-M3-based 32-bit MCUs and high performance, real-time control TMS320C2000™ MCUs, TI offers the broadest range of microcontroller solutions. Designers can accelerate time to market by tapping into TI's complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support.

Find out more about TI's MSP430 LaunchPad development kit by visiting the links below:

Additional commentary: TI taps into open source community for MSP430, EEVblog #96 – The TI LaunchPad MSP430 Development Board, TI makes a big bid for the hobby market, TI enters Arduino, PIC, AVR hobby market with Launchpad

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