Texas Instruments rockets into the hobbiest community with LaunchPad.

Texas Instruments LaunchPad

TI LaunchPad


Last week Texas Instruments debuted its hobbiest level Micro Conroller dev board named LaunchPad. Hack A Day posted a very thurough introduction but we wanted a little more information. Texas Instruments is selling the full kit including 2 micro controllers for just $4.30 and is shipping them for free. So what exactaly is Launchpad and what can it do? We cover that after the jump.


The LaunchPad Wiki is pretty straight forward in describing it so I am going to quote it.

"LaunchPad is an easy-to-use development tool intended for beginners and experienced users alike for creating microcontroller-based applications. At $4.30, the LaunchPad offers everything you need to get started with your projects.

Texas Instruments LaunchPad


The LaunchPad development kit is a part of the MSP430 Value Line series. LaunchPad has an integrated DIP target socket that supports up to 20 pins, allowing MSP430 Value Line devices to be dropped into the LaunchPad board. Also, an on-board flash emulation tool allows direct interface to a PC for easy programming, debugging, and evaluation. Included are free and downloadable software development environments for writing and debugging software. LaunchPad can be used to create interactive solutions thanks to its on-board push buttons, LEDs, and extra input/output pins for easy integration of external devices.

Why LaunchPad?
The LaunchPad is an easy-to-use, affordable, and scalable introduction to the world of microcontrollers and the MSP430 family.

Easy-to-use – LaunchPad includes all of the hardware and software needed to get started. Open source projects and code examples help users get up and running quickly.

Affordable – For $4.30, the LaunchPad includes a development board, 2 programmable MSP430 microcontrollers, mini-USB cable, PCB connectors for expandability, external crystal for increased clock accuracy, and free & downloadable software integrated development environments (IDEs) – everything you need to get started today.

Scalable – The LaunchPad is a simple introduction to the MSP430 microcontroller family. As application requirements change, programs developed on the LaunchPad can be migrated to higher end MSP430 devices.


Included in the LaunchPad kit is:

  • LaunchPad Development board (MSP-EXP430G2)
  • Mini USB cable
  • 2x MSP430 flash devices
  • 10-pin PCB Connectors (2 male & 2 female)
  • 32kHz crystal
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 2x LaunchPad stickers

Free & Downloadable Compilers/Debuggers (IDEs)

There are many other compilers and integrated development environments (IDEs) for MSP430 including Rowley Crossworks and MSPGCC. However, example projects have been created using IAR Embedded Workbench KickStart and Code Composer Studio (CCS). Both IAR and CCS have free, code-limited versions, which are available for download. These IDEs will run full-featured on the available MSP430 Value Line devices, as these devices will not encounter the 4kB size limit of IAR, or the 16kB size limit of CCS.

IAR offers a 4kB code-limited version and CCS offers a 16kB code-limited version. As MSP430 Value Line devices are below this limit, the free versions of each IDE will run full-featured on MSP430 Value Line devices."

We recently had a short Q&A session with TI concerning a few questions that have popped up around the community about LaunchPad. Check back tomorrow for the full session and our thoughts.



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