[time-nuts] For Arduino lovers and haters

Joseph Gray jgray at zianet.com
Sun Dec 9 04:30:06 UTC 2012

I'm posting this seemingly off topic information, because many times a
Time Nut needs to do something with a microcontroller (witness the
recent discussion about GPSDO's).

Sometimes, you just want to throw something together for a quick test
or for a temporary project...

I have never used an Arduino, but I see them mentioned all the time,
with numerous projects and code posted on the net. A while back, I did
pick up a few MSP430 Launchpads, as they were so inexpensive. I
started teaching myself C, but kept getting sidetracked with other
things. In any event, the simplified C-style  of an Arduino program,
and the huge quantity of code out there is attractive.

What does Arduino have to do with the MSP430 Launchpad? Well, a few
guys ported the Arduino IDE to the launchpad. The project is called
Energia and is found here: http://energia.nu/

With some minor pin remapping, many Arduino programs (I won't call
them sketches) can be run on the Launchpad. Considering that the
Launchpad is $4.30 (with free shipping) and an Arduino board is
several times that, it makes the Launchpad even more attractive. Of
course, you don't have the Arduino addon boards (shields) with the
Launchpad, but you may not need all that for a particular project.

One item of particular note - the Energia IDE was just updated to
include the new TI Stellaris Launchpad. This is a very powerful ARM
Cortex board that costs very little. I got two for $5 each with free
shipping, on a pre-release special deal.

As an example of just getting something done without reinventing the
wheel, I just got in one of those AD9851 DDS modules that you find
online from China. For now, I just wanted to make sure that the module
worked (I have a particular use for it later). I quickly found an
Arduino program online that uses the same DDS module. All it took was
some pin remapping to make it work with the MSP430 Launchpad and the
Energia IDE. I was able to quickly verify that the DDS module works
just fine.

Sorry for the long winded post, but I thought some here would find
this information of use. Eventually, I'll get back to learning C.
Right now, the project I'm doing requires me to learn Python :-)

Joe Gray

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