Posts Tagged ‘msp430’
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Texas Instruments MSP430 Value Line Sensing MCUs Sell for 25 Cents and Up

November 13th, 2017 2 comments

Texas Instruments MSP430 16-bit mixed signal microcontroller has been around since at least 2004, and the last time I played with the MCU was with eZ430-Chronos wireless watch development kit in 2011.

Over the years, the company has added more parts to  its MSP430 MCU portfolio, and they recently added two new MSP430 Value Line Sensing MCUs that offer up to 25 functions (timers, I/Os, reset controller, EEPROM…) for as low as 25 cents, as well as a new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit .

Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs have the same features set, except for the memory (512 vs 1024 bytes):

  • 16-Bit RISC Architecture up to 16 MHz
  • Memory / Storage
    • MSP430FR2000 (new) – 0.5KB of Program Ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) + 512 Bytes of RAM
    • MSP430FR2100 (new) – 1KB of Program FRAM + 512 Bytes of RAM
    • MSP430FR2111 – 3.75KB of Program FRAM + 1KB of RAM
    • MSP430FR2110 –  2KB of Program FRAM + 1KB of RAM
  • Supply Voltage Range – 1.8 V to 3.6 V
  • Low-Power Modes (at 3 V)
    • Active Mode: 120 µA/MHz
    • Standby
      • LPM3.5 With VLO: 1 µA
      • Real-Time Clock (RTC) Counter (LPM3.5 With 32768-Hz Crystal): 1 µA
    • Shutdown (LPM4.5): 34 nA Without SVS
  • Analog
    • 8-Channel 10-Bit Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) with integrated temperature sensor, internal 1.5-V Reference, sample-and-hold 200 ksps
    • Enhanced Comparator (eCOMP) with integrated 6-Bit DAC as Reference Voltage
  • Digital Peripherals
    • 1x 16-Bit Timer With Three Capture/Compare Registers (Timer_B3)
    • 1x 16-Bit Counter-Only RTC Counter
    • 16-Bit Cyclic Redundancy Checker (CRC)
  • Serial Communications – Enhanced USCI A (eUSCI_A) Supports UART, IrDA, and SPI
  • Clock System (CS)
    • On-Chip 32-kHz RC Oscillator (REFO)
    • On-Chip 16-MHz Digitally Controlled Oscillator (DCO) With Frequency-Locked Loop (FLL)
    • On-Chip Very-Low-Frequency 10-kHz Oscillator (VLO)
    • On-Chip High-Frequency Modulation Oscillator (MODOSC)
    • External 32-kHz Crystal Oscillator (LFXT)
    • Programmable MCLK Prescalar of 1 to 128
    • SMCLK Derived From MCLK With Programmable Prescalar of 1, 2, 4, or 8
  • General Input/Output and Pin Functionality
    • 12x I/Os on 16-Pin Package
    • 8x Interrupt Pins (4 Pins of P1 and 4 Pins of P2) Can Wake MCU From LPMs
    • All I/Os are Capacitive Touch I/Os
  • Package Options – 16-Pin TSSOP (PW16); 24-pin VQFN (RLL)

The MCUs can be programmed with free development tools such as Code Composer Studio IDE or Cloud IDE, as well as third party solutions like IAR Embedded Workbench Kickstart. TI has also launched a new MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit based on MSP430FR2433 also part of MSP430 Value Line Sensing MCUs, but with more memory (4KB SRAM) and storage (16KB FRAM).

Click to Enlarge

The board includes EnergyTrace++ Technology available for ultra-low-power debugging, 20-pin LaunchPad kit standard leveraging the BoosterPack ecosystem, an on-board eZ-FET debug probe, and 2 buttons and 2 LEDs for user interaction.

MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 sells for respectively $0.29 and $0.39 in 1,000-unit quantities, and the former price drops to 25 cents in higher volumes. MSP430FR2433 LaunchPad development kit (MSP-EXP430FR2433) is sold for $4.30 with coupon code NewMSP430LP until the end of the year, after which the price will be $9.90.

TI Innovator Hub Connects MSP432 LaunchPad Board to TI Graphing Calculators

January 13th, 2017 3 comments

I remember when I was in high school we all had those TI calculators to cheat enhance our chances of passing exams, but Texas Instruments has now launched what it calls TI-Innovator Hub based on a MSP432 LaunchPad board that connects to some of their graphing calculators and allows student to program and control external hardware through their calculators.

TI-Innovator-HubInnovator Hub hardware specifications:

  • MSP-EXP432P401-ET TI LaunchPad Board
  • 3x input ports, 3x output ports, I²C port
  • Breadboard connector with 20 labeled pins
  • USB
    • Mini USB Port (DATA port for connection to a TI graphing calculator, or a computer running TI-Nspire CX software)
    • Micro-USB port (POWER port to connect to external power source)
  • Misc – Red LED, RGB LED, Light Brightness Sensor, and speaker
  • Enclosure

The hub can then be programmed using TI-84 Plus CE (TI Basic language) or TI-Nspire CX (Lua language) graphing calculators. It’s a bit like playing with Arduino board, but instead of using a computer for programming, you can use a calculator. TI also provides resources to make it easier for teachers. Some extra accessories are also available include I/O Module Pack with sensors and motors, an ultrasonic ranger module, a breadboard pack, and an external battery.

You can watch the “cool box” & “mind blown” video to see what students think about it.

I could not find pricing information. You’ll find a few more details on TI Innovator Hub product page.

Via Electronics Weekly.

Texas Instruments Introduces SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 BoosterPack

June 13th, 2013 No comments

Texas Instrument launched SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 in Q1 2012 in order to bring WiFi connectivity to any device including 8-bit or 16-bit MCU, as CC3300 internally handled all networking tasks, and exchange data with the MCU via an SPI interface. This Wi-Fi processor allows to use Wi-Fi for data transmission for the Internet of Things, and offers much better battery than other system relying on software to handle network traffic. Today, the company has just announced SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 BoosterPack, a low cost evaluation platform that works with both MSP430 and Tiva C Series LaunchPad evaluation kits, and sells for $35.

SimpleLink CC3000 BoosterPack

SimpleLink CC3000 BoosterPack

SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 BoosterPack features and benefits as seen in the press release:

LaunchPad Board with CC3300 BoosterPack

LaunchPad Board with CC3300 BoosterPack

  • SmartConfig technology:
    • One-step Wi-Fi configuration using smartphones, tablets or PCs
    • Easy network setup for display-less (headless) devices
    • Simultaneous multiple device provisioning
    • iOS, Android and Java sample applications available
    • Royalty-free software
  • Flexible memory size – Small memory foot print of CC3000 module for easy integration with low-cost MCUs such as ultra-low power MSP430 Value Line
  • Service discovery – Quick discovery of network-provisioned devices via smartphones and tablets using mDNS
  • Pre-certified $9.99 CC3000 module – Reduces costs to add Wi-Fi to MCU-based designs

Other interesting details is that it support 802.11 b/g, and IPv4 TCP/IP Stack. There’s no mention of IPv6, which might be an issue for some IoT applications. Transmisstion power is +18dBm at 11Mbps, CCK, and Rx Sensitivity -86dBm, 8% PER, at 11Mbps.

CC3300 BoosterPack measures 16.3mm × 13.5mm × 2mm, can operate in -20°C to 70°C temperature range, and comes with porting and user guides, an API guide, sample applications, and support via the community. There’s also a “Radio Tool Package” executable for Windows, which probably contains the tools needed for development.

You can watch the introduction video below.

The SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 BoosterPack is available now through TI eStore for $35 including shipping, or through distributors. Two other bundles are also available:

  • CC3000 BoosterPack with the Tiva C Series LaunchPad (EK-TM4C123GXL-CC3000BOOST) for $43.99. Not available yet, and ETA has not been provided.

More information is available on

Texas Instruments Announces Ultra-Low Power MSP430 “Wolverine” MCU Series

February 29th, 2012 No comments

TI Ultra-Low Power MCUs Texas Instruments announced a new series of its MSP430 MCUs codenamed “Wolverine” for its aggressive power-saving technology. The company claims this ultra-low-power MSP430 microcontroller platform offers at least 50 percent less power consumption than any other micro-controller in the industry with 360 nA RTC mode and less than 100 µA/MHz active power consumption.

Since typical battery powered applications spend as much as 99.9 percent of their time in standby mode, Wolverine MCUs power consumption of 360 nA in standby mode would more than double the battery life.

Here are the key power savings techniques and technology using the the Wolverine MCU (MSP430FR58xx):

  • Ultra low leakage (ULL) process technology. TI developed ULL technology that offers a 10x improvement in leakage and optimized mixed signal capabilities. Power reduction are also achieved thanks to an improved 130 nm process technology and more than 30 power-optimized analog and digital components.
  • Unified FRAM (Ferroelectric Random Access Memory). Taking advantage of FRAM  low power memory, “Wolverine”-based MCUs can operate at less than 100 µA/MHz in active mode and consume 250x less energy per bit compared to Flash- and EEPROM-based microcontrollers. In addition, FRAM is 100 percent non-volatile, which gives developers the low power, speed and flexibility of SRAM while retaining the key no-power storage capability of Flash
  • MSP430 ultra-low-power system legacy, peripherals and software for easy development. The new platform takes advantages of exiting MSP430 features as well as TI’s  MSP430Ware software and resource package, and low-power code optimization software tools.

Comparison of battery life based on IC

Battery Life Comparison: CPU vs MPU vs MCU vs Wolverine Platform

Battery powered devices usually have a lifetime of 10 years, with Wolverine technology this would be extended to 20 years. Such low power MCU may also enable devices powered by energy harvesting where you never need to replace the battery. With this technology, Texas Instruments envisions low power devices such as a device worn on your finger that allows intuitive, touch-free interaction with the digital world. or a solar panel the size of a microcontroller that enables environmental intelligence in any building or a smoke detector with carbon monoxide sensing, thermostat control and biometric security capabilities without increasing its size.

You can watch the video introduction of Texas Instruments’s Wolverine platform.

The “Wolverine” MSP430FR58xx microcontrollers will be available for sampling in June 2012. However TI says that developers can get started with existing MSP430 solutions.

You can find more information on TI Wolverine page as well as on this Wolverine Platform PDF Presentation.

Cymbet EnerChip Solid State Batteries and Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kits

February 17th, 2012 No comments

Cymbet Battery ChipsetCymbet has developed rechargeable solid state batteries called EnerChip for Embedded Energy, Power Backup and Energy Harvesting. Applications include backing up Real Time Clocks (RTC), Micro-controllers (MCU) and SRAM devices. The company says “EnerChips are ideal for energy harvesting powered devices such as wireless sensors, medical devices, data loggers and remote location tracking equipment.”

Those chipsets aim at replacing batteries such as CR2032 batteries that you can find in watches, calculators and other low power devices.

The company emphasized three key benefits of such “batteries”:

  1. EnerChips are more than 10x smaller than non-rechargeable coin cell batteries
  2. EnerChips last 3x longer than conventional coin cell batteries
  3. EnerChips are less expensive to use than conventional coin cell batteries or super caps. The price starts at 20 US cents in volume quantities.

You can watch the promotion video below for an overview of those chips. Cymbet shows a lot of mobile phones in their video, but I very doubt this can be used in such power hungry embedded devices in any useful manner.

Cymbet has several EnerChip Solid State Battery evaluation kits including energy harvesting kits that support light, vibration, thermal gradients, electromagnetic and flow/motion energy harvesting transducers:

    • CBC-EVAL-05 EnerChip CC Evaluation Kit contains everything needed to test: EnerChip 12uAh and 50uAh thin film batteries, EnerChip CC CBC3112 and CBC3150 batteries with Integrated Battery Management and to test multiple batteries in parallel. (Around 30 USD)
    • CBC-EVAL-06 EnerChip CC Real Time Clock Power Backup Evaluation Kit Experiment with a small footprint battery backup for low power RTC. A Micro Crystal 2123 RTC with oscillator can be backed up for 92 hours with the EnerChip CC CBC3112. USB stick with PC GUI. (Around 30 USD)
    • CBC-EVAL-08 EnerChip EH Solar Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit is used to create Zero-power designs for sensors, controllers, embedded systems, medical applications, environmental control systems and any “un-tethered” system. (No price available)
    • CBC-EVAL-09 EnerChip EP Universal Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit accepts inputs from solar, piezoelectric, thermoelectric or electromagnetic EH transducers. Features the EnerChip EP CBC915 Energy Processor Chip and EnerChip Solid State Batteries. (Around 120 USD)
    • CBC-EVAL-10 EnerChip CC Solar Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit uses the EnerChip CC CBC3150 to provide a single chip solution for EH power conversion, energy storage and power management. A low cost solution for solar-based sensors. (Around 70 USD)
Solar Energy Harvesting Kit

Cymbet CBC-EVAL-10 Solar Energy Harvesting Kit

  • CBC-EVAL-11 EnerChip RF Induction Charging Evaluation Kit utilizes EnerAir™ near field RF coupling techniques between two antennas to charge a CBC3150 energy storage device. Perfect for active RFID medical applications, data loggers and other “reusable” types of sensors. (Around 50 USD)

There are also 4 other kits using Cymbet EH Kits in conjunction with Texas Instruments and Microchip MCU Kits:

  • Digi-key TI CC430 and Cymbet EnerChip Alternate Energy Eval Board. This kit combines a TI CC430 MCU/Wireless combo device with an EnerChip CC CBC3150 and CBC050 connected to a solar cell. The EnerChips store energy and provide power management for the CC430 and LCD display.  (99 USD)
  • Cymbet EH Eval Kits for TI MSP430 LaunchPad Kit. The EnerChip EP EVAL-09, EnerChip CC Solar EH EVAL-10 and the EnerChip CC RF Induction Charger EVAL-11 can all be used to power the TI LaunchPad kit.
  • Microchip XLP 16-Bit Ultra Low Power MCU Solar Energy Harvesting Application Development Kit – This kit enables designers to develop complete EH applications using all the supplied hardware and software. (195 USD)
  • TI eZ430-RF2500-SEH – This Solar Energy Harvesting Wireless Demo Kit utilizes the Cymbet EnerChip EH solar module with the MSP430 MCU and CC2500 radio. All hardware, firmware and graphical user interface software is included. Works with Cymbet EVAL-08, EVAL-09, EVAL-10 and EVAL-11 (152 USD)

Watch a demo with four CBC-EVAL-09 EnerChip EP Universal Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kits charged with photovoltaic, thermoelectic, piezoelectric or electromagnetic energy harvesting transducer and reporting the temperature via Zigbee to a program running in a Laptop.

For more information about thin film batteries, visit the Cymbet website:

For details on the evaluation kits including video demos, firmware download and link to purchase via Cymbet’s distributors, visit

Cymbet will be at Embedded World 2012, Nuremberg on February 28 – March 01 to promote and showcase those products.

TI SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 Brings WiFi Connectivity to All Devices

January 19th, 2012 1 comment

Yesterday, Texas Instruments unveiled the SimpleLink product family, a portfolio of wireless connectivity technologies for low-power, low-cost embedded applications, which includes self-contained wireless processors supporting Wi-Fi, ZigBee, 6LoWPAN, and ANT.

WiFi for MCU

TI SimpleLink WiFi CC3000 Application

The most noticeable product is the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000, a self-contained 802.11 (WiFi) network processor, that can be added to any embedded application and provide WiFi connectivity to the Internet of Things. With this solution, you can add WiFi to any device, even those powered by MCUs without operating systems such as dishwashers, toasters, refrigerators, thermostats, and factory automation equipment. I wish they’ll make new version of the MSP430 Chronos Wireless Watch with WiFi connectivity, this would remove the need for the RF Dongle.

MCU + CC3000 WiFi Chipset Block diagram

TI CC3000 Block Diagram

This solution features TCP, UDP and IP software stacks in the chip, it consumes 0.5% of the resources as compared to traditional Wi-Fi and only requires 6KB Flash and 3KB RAM. The company claims it can be ported to a new MCU within hoursthanks to its standard API. You’ll just need an MCU with an SPI interface. It also supports TI’s FirstTimeConfig technology which facilitates pairing to 802.11 access point without the need of a display or user interface.

The SimpleLink CC3000 Wi-Fi is provided as a module to reduce development time, lower manufacturing costs, save board space, ease certification, and minimize RF expertise required. Software drivers, sample applications, API guide, user documentation and a community site are also provided.

TI offers the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 FRAM evaluation module kit (EMK) comprised of the CC3000 WiFI Evaluation module and MSP-EXP430FR5739 FRAM Experimenter board for those wanting to evaluate this solution.

TI WiFi MCU Evaluation Module

TI CC3000 Evaluation Module


MSP430 Experimenter Board

Texas Instruments has made the software (driver and sample apps) and documentation available publicly including:

SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 modules are sampling now and released to production. The SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 FRAM evaluation module kit (EMK) is available for 199 USD.

For full details on the SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3000 and all SimpleLink products, visit and CC3000 Wiki Page

Embedded Systems Conference Boston 2011 Sessions Schedule

September 8th, 2011 No comments

Embedded Systems Conference Boston 2011ESC Boston 2011 will take place on the 26-29 September 2011, four days of hands-on training, educational sessions and an interactive exhibit hall.

There are 5 programs during the event:

  • ESC Boston – Embedded software development tutorials for Android, Linux, microprocessors, QA, C programming, etc…
  • DesignCon East – Hardware tutorials, e.g. SDRAM debugging, hardware encryption…
  • DesignMED – Embedded systems development for embedded medical devices.
  • Designing with LEDs! – LED hardware and drivers.
  • DesignDays – Embedded systems sessions mainly presented by semiconductor companies and hands-on tutorials on specific platforms such as Beagleboard or TI MSP430 Chronos Wireless Watch.

There are simply too many sessions (over 170) to list them all here. So I’ll selected a few among ESC Boston and DesignDays that look particularly interesting:

  • Android Jump Start (Monday 26 – 8:00 – 17:00) by William Gatliff (Consultant, Freelance) and Karim Yaghmour (CEO, Opersys Inc.) .
    The features that make Android a great cell phone operating system can also make it a great OS for your next embedded application. This presentation covers important topics like what types of applications can benefit most from Android, how to adapt it for use in non-cell-phone hardware, basic programming techniques, how to implement device drivers and native applications under Android, and numerous programming examples and demonstrations.
  • Manging Firmware Projects (Monday 26 – 8:00 – 17:00) by Jack Ganssle (Chief Engineer, The Ganssle Group).
    For all of the talk about technology, there is much too little said about managing the technology and managing the process of bringing an embedded system from concept to production. This tutorial covers managing schedules, dealing with difficult developers, creating and managing project specifications and expectations, creating an environment where developers will thrive, managing bugs to dramatically reduce development time, fixing the feature/schedule/quality conflict, and learning from mistakes and successes.
  • Beyond Makefiles – Building Large-scale C Projects (Tuesday 8:00- 9:15) by Michael Shal (Senior Staff Engineer, The PTR Group).
    Are you tired of waiting for make to find the one C file that you changed? Do you want to take advantage of your multi-core system to compile in parallel but are afraid that the build won’t be reliable? Do you perform a clean build before checking in because you don’t trust your build system? You’re not alone. Learn why make fails its basic promise of a working and scalable build system, why the prevailing wisdom found in Recursive Make Considered Harmful is wrong, and what you can do about it.
  • Kinect Teardown and Giveaway (Tuesday 12:00-12:45).
    Join us in the DesignDays Theater on the show floor to tear apart and take a look at the Kinect for Xbox 360. Kinect brings games and entertainment to life in extraordinary new ways without using a controller, allowing you to control movies and music with the wave of a hand or the sound of your voice. Stay for the entire presentation for your chance to win (and take home) your very own 250GB Xbox 360 Kinect bundle.
  • Easily Create a Custom Embedded Linux for Your Embedded Device – on Any Architecture! (Tuesday 12:45- 13:30) by Mark Hatle (Senior Member of Technical Staff, Wind River) .
    Here’s your chance to get a complete overview of the Yocto Project*; an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help you create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture.  Learn about why a developer might care about using the Yocto Project and the process of developing your own custom embedded Linux distribution for an embedded product.
  • Android’s Open Accessory Kit (Tuesday 14:00- 16:45) by Michael Anderson (Chief Scientist, The PTR Group, Inc.) .
    Google announced a new initiative that’s focused on extending Android beyond the phone. The Android Open Accessory Kit is an Arduino-based platform (and now MicroChip-based) for connecting your Android device to things in the physical world. But, how does it work? What can you interface to? And, how does this play into the Android at Home platform? Come to this presentation and find out.
  • USB 3 – An Introduction for Embedded Software Developers (Tuesday 14:00- 16:45) by Stephen Olsen (Software Architect, Embedded Systems Div, Mentor Graphics)
    USB is widely deployed in embedded devices of all kinds, resulting in simple interconnectivity and interoperability. This simplicity comes at a cost: the internal functions of USB are quite complex. This is of no consequence to the user of a USB-enabled device, but the embedded software developer does need some understanding of USB internals. Even if a commercial USB stack is employed, an appreciation of how it works enables it to be used optimally. In this session, the history and internal operation of USB will be reprised in detail. Then, the changes and enhancements that come along with USB 3 will be reviewed.
  • Beagleboard 101 ( Wednesday 8:00- 9:15) by Jason Kridner (Software Architect and Community Develop, Texas Instruments)
     Learn or refresh yourself on the basics of running Linux on the BeagleBoard, how to engage the BeagleBoard community, detail the boot process and survey the available community and commercial software that might be of greatest interest.  A short update on the Linaro and Yocto Project community oriented organizations will be given and everyone will make sure they can boot and navigate the software installed on the provided boards.
  • Embedded IPv6 Ready or Not, Here it Comes (Wednesday 8:00- 9:15) by Thomas Cantrell (Engineering Mgr, Networking, Green Hills Software) and Dave Kleidermacher (CTO, Green Hills Software)
     Embedded systems, such as home appliances and automobile electronics, are becoming new members of the Internet of Things adding features such as field upgrade, remote management, and application downloads. The growth of these new devices adding further pressure to the nearly exhausted IPv4 address space. In addition, new US Government initiatives are increasing the interest in IPv6 network connectivity not only in the government and the carrier market, but also even now in the enterprise and the home. Enterprise customers are increasingly demanding support for IPv6 from their vendors. This class starts by talking about the technical details of IPv6 in relation to traditional IPv4 networking. It talks about new requirements and standards. It then goes to explore how to add and support IPv6 at a system level and then at an application level. Finally, it offers suggestions on how to become more oriented with IPv6 networks.
  • Linux LCD Integration with the BeagleBoardToys ULCD-Lite ( Wednesday 14:00- 15:15)
    Learn how to interface a system-on-a-chip running Linux to an LCD panel by deriving new panel drivers from existing panel drivers.  The basics will be explained with the existing ULCD-Lite integration and some topics regarding system integration will be covered.  Students will be able to extend their Linux kernel driver to support additional display timings and modes.
  • More Embedded Linux Jumpstart (Wednesday 14:00- 16:45) by  William Gatliff (Consultant, Freelance).
    A fast-paced introduction to the most important subjects you need to know when using Linux in an embedded application. The presentation begins with a list of the needed source code, and ends with a fully functional embedded Linux system. Presentations include kernel modules, licensing issues, debugging techniques, real- time capabilities, embedded-related APIs, firmware update techniques, and more.
  • MSP430 Chronos Wireless Watch Lab & Tutorial for Interfacing with Linux-based BeagleBoard (Wednesday 15:30- 16:45) by Adrian Fernandez (Product Marketing Engineer, Texas Instruments).
     Come on by to learn about sub 1GHz RF peer to peer wireless networks using the MSP430 Chronos watch! Attendees will receive an eZ430-Chronos watch, which will be paired with a random watch that has been given to another attendee. The pair that can enable a wireless connection and find their partner can win some cool prizes! To end it off, we will also provide a live demonstration on how to wirelessly interface the eZ430-Chronos watch to the linux-based BeagleBoard! Stream accelerometer, temperature & other data wirelessly using these cool TI solutions!
  • Embedded Android Workshop (Thursday 8:00-12:15) by Karim Yaghmour (CEO, Opersys Inc.)
    Part of the Android Certificate Program. Bring a notebook with a minimum of 3 MB of memory and at least one of the following CPUs Intel Core2 Duo, Core i5, or Core i7 2.5 GHz or higher OR AMD Phenom or Phenom II.
  • Best Practices in Designing Low Power Embedded Systems (Thursday 9:30-10:45) by Bhanu Kapoor (Consultant, Mimasic)
    We focus on the power management architecture verification experiences of Wireless SoCs and specifically focus on the tasks for validating a power managed ARM Cortex A-8 core used in SoCs targeted for mobile segment. Power techniques used on the chip include clock gating, voltage scaling, and power gating. We focus on the verification challenges faced in designing the processor core including RTL modeling of power switches, isolation, and level-shifting cells, simulation of voltage ramps, and generation of appropriate control signals to put the device into various power states.
  • Device Drivers Demystified (Thursday 9:30-12:15) by Doug Abbott (Firmware/Software Engineer, Intellimetrix)
    Application programmers often view device drivers as some sort of black magic. All that bowing and scraping to the operating system. The objective of this class is to make the case that drivers really aren’t that mysterious.So what is a device driver? Fundamentally, it’s just a mechanism to abstract out the often messy details of hardware devices and present a uniform set of APIs to the application programmer, who can then deal with the device as a simple source and/or sink of data. We’ll develop an abstract model of a device driver independent of any specific operating system. We’ll explore issues such as: how the driver connects with the rest of the system, how to identify and connect to a specific device, what happens if the device has no data or can’t accept data.Then we’ll go on to look at how Linux treats device drivers.

You can access the full schedule on ESB Boston 2011 schedule page.

As with other conferences, there are different registration packages (1-day, 2-days, full pass…). Visit ESC Boston Package and Pricing for details on the packages and the entrance fees. You can get 10% discount with the Promo code: AD1. Discounts are also available for students.

There is also the free Exhibits Pass that will give you access to:

  • ESC, DesignCon & DesignMED Expo Floors (September 27 & 28)
  • Keynotes & Industry Addresses
  • Sponsored Training Sessions
  • Opening Night Reception
  • DesignDays Theater Sessions
  • UBM Electronics Product & Exhibitor Directory

So that means most DesignDays (DD) trainings can be accessed with the free pass as most of them are sponsored.

Texas Instruments TRF7970A NFC Transceiver

August 17th, 2011 No comments

Texas Instruments has introduced the TRF7970A NFC Transceiver ” speeds designs with easy-to-configure software that helps developers bring peer-to-peer, ultra-low-power capabilities to more applications”.

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

Raising the standard for ultra-low-power near field communication (NFC) devices, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE: TXN) today announced the industry’s lowest power contactless short-range communication transceiver. Ideal for infrastructure devices, the new TRF7970A extends battery life up to 2 times longer than competitive products, as it provides eight selectable power modes ranging from <1 uA in power-down mode to 120 mA in full-power mode. The transceiver comes with easy-to-configure software to help developers get started quickly. Royalty-free stacks are compatible across a broad range of ultra-low-power MSP microcontrollers. Additionally, developers are able to directly access all control registers, allowing for easy fine-tuning of various parameters for the highest performance in every application.

You can also read the complete TRF7970A press release on TI News website.

Here are some features and benefits of the TRF7970A NFC platform:

  • Industry’s lowest power NFC device supporting up to 2 times longer battery life with eight selectable power modes (Power modes range from <1 uA to 120 mA)
  • Supports a wide range of communication options with peer-to-peer communication, reader/writer capability and card emulation
  • Supports two crystal oscillator frequencies: 13.56MHz or 27.12MHz frequencies give engineers more flexibility in speed and cost options for their designs
  • Large 128 byte FIFO buffer for NFC communications allows developers using microcontrollers with low MHz to create products capable of handling large data transfers
  • Compliance with ISO/IEC 18092 and ISO/IEC 21481 standards gives developers the ability to create globally interoperable products
  • NFC software stack libraries and an innovative RF field detector allow for easy development efforts and robust, cost effective designs
  • NFC Peer-to-Peer Initiator as well as Active and Passive Target Operation are available for MSP430™ microcontrollers
  • Supports multiple reader/writer protocols and includes demo software stacks for reader/writer mode ISO/IEC 15693, ISO/IEC 18000-3, ISO/IEC 14443A/B and FeliCa
TI NFC Block Diagram

TRF7970A Block Diagram

Texas Instruments also provide a development board,  the TRF7970A EVM, with the following features:

  • NFC Modes (RFID Reader\Writer, Peer to Peer and Card Emulation)
  • ISO15693 standard based transponders
  • ISO14443 standard based transponders (Types A&B)
  • FeliCa based transponders (UID read only)
  • Standalone Polling Mode for quick demonstration of transponder detection
  • Communication with Host Software Graphical User Interface (GUI) via USB VCP
  • MSP430F2370 Ultra-Low Power microcontroller with JTAG connectivity to development environment for custom firmware development.
  • Parallel or SPI connectivity via zero ohm jumpers
  • Logic Analyzer/Oscilloscope test points for relevant signal observation during code development
  • SMA (edge mount and through-hole) pads for connecting customer designed antenna.

Texas Instruments provides sample source code in C language and a GUI executable for the devkit.

TRF7970A Development Board

Texas Instruments TRF7970A Evaluation Module

The evaluation module TRF7970AEVM can be purchased online for 99 USD.

For further details on TRF7970A Transceiver IC, please visit and you can go to for more information on the TRF7970A Evaluation Module.