|Product Performed to Expectations:||10|
|Specifications were sufficient to design with:||10|
|Demo Software was of good quality:||8|
|Product was easy to use:||8|
|Support materials were available:||10|
|The price to performance ratio was good:||10|
|TotalScore:||56 / 60|
Texas Instruments 430Boost-CC110L BoosterPack featuring Anaren Integrated Radio (AIR) modules
I was chosen by Element14.com to Receive, Try Out, Test and Review a free TI 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack kit. The kit comes with two 430Boost Boards and two CC110L AIR Modules. This is a Wireless Kit and could be used for quit a few different and interesting Projects. They call these Road Tests. This is my second TI MSP430 Kit that I have been allowed to review. The first was the TI Fram MSP-EXP430FR5739 Experimenter Board. I really enjoyed and learned allot about the MSP430, during my first test and review. If you like, you can read my first Article here, Beginners Guide to The TI MSP-EXP430FR5739 Experimenter Board. I thought that this review of the 430Boost, would go rather quickly and be allot easier than the first, because of all that I had learned with the MSP-EXP430FR5739. But, Boy was I Wrong!:O I found out just how little I know about installing Embedded Software on an IC Ship, with IDE Software. I have been wanting to learn how to do this. Ever since I tested the MSP-EXP430FR5739. I want to be able to install custom code and build my own projects, one day. I did a bunch of reading, before on IDE Software and realized that there would be a learning curve for me. But, what I didn't expect. Was Software that doesn't work as you wold expect. I have been running Fedora Linux as my main OS, since 2005. So, the newest Windows System that I have, is running WinXP. And since I learned the last time that almost all of the Software that TI makes available to use to work with their Boards is Windows Software. I started out on my old WinXP Machine. I installed IAR, one of the IDE Software's Provided. I could not install Code Composer Studio (CCS) on my System. Since it requires 1GB of Ram and I currently only have 512MB of Ram on that System (one Ram Module died recently). I also installed AIR Booster Stack Lite. Which reads the info from the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module. I followed the instructions in the Quick Start Guide and the Manual too (after things didn't go as planned). To make a long story a bit shorter. The AIR Booster Stack Light Software just can't See my 430Boost-CC110L AIR Modules. The first problem that I noticed. Right after installing the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module Drivers. Was an Error Saying something about the new driver not working right. This happens sometimes in Windows, even thought things are fine. So, I want ahead and Plugged in one the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Modules and started to go through the Setup Instructions. But, no go. I spent two 4-6 hour sessions trying to figure this problem out. I updated and uninstalled and reinstalled the drivers. I thought that maybe since my MSP-EXP430FR5739 driver was still on the system, that it might have caused a conflict. So, I uninstalled that driver and reinstalled the driver for the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module. Still no help... So, I did a bunch of searching in the Manuals. But, found nothing that make them work. I keep a watch on the e-mail notices from Element14 and I saw some about the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module, not coming with the Software Pre-installed on the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack kit Quick Start Guide and Manuals. Its on the Road Test Page (http://www.element14.com/community/roadTests/1102?z=R2i739) and here too (http://www.element14.com/community/roadTests/1102#comment-16776). And there are links to this very helpful info on using the IDE - CCS to install the Software Using CCS 5 to Compile and Load example program for MSP430 + Air Booster Pack Posted by David Cotterill-Drew on Sept 28, 2012 3:18:18 PM. I wold have been completely stuck here, if it weren't for Davids great Guide on the CCS. Thanks David!:) I couldn't use CCS in my Windows System, because of the lack of Memory. But, I already had CCS installed on my Fedora 14 Linux System, from my last testing of the MSP-EXP430FR5739. I had not been able to figure out how it use CCS on my own. But, now I had a nice guide to get me started on importing the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module Code and installing it too. It took me a while, but I got everything imported and setup. Then came the Errors. Some about Java Code and some about Missing things in the Code. I kept trying on and off for several days. But never got any where with CCS. Finally And since I much prefer working on a Linux System to a Window System. I did some searching in App Manager and Google and found two nice IDE's that are Free and Open Source for Fedora Linux (Anjuta and Eclipse). They both are very nice Programs and I was able to import the 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module Code int both of them. But, still I was not able to Debug and Install it on my 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module. Then today, I got back on both my Fedora and my WinXP Systems and tried everything one last time before writing this Review. I was able to install IAR Embed Workbench IDE Software from the CD that came with the CC110l Air Modules (which I also had already download from the Element14 Road Test Page for TI 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack Kit. But, this Software is limited in Byte Code Size that is allowable to use. It's basically Demo Only Software. So, it was no use at all and a complete wast of time. So, far I'm calling this a Great Learning Experience;) But, I still plan on doing some more reading on these IDE Apps and see if I can learn how to use them. But, I ran out of time and need to Post my Review on Element14. So, this is going to continue at later date. After I have learned more about how to work in the IDE Software. I was and am still really very interested in learning about all of the different Wireless Projects, that the TI 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack Kit can be used for. And I want to thank TI and Element14 for giving me these kits and allowing me to Test and Review them. I really appreciate it allot!:) But, so far, as it stands today and as my TI 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack Kit came to me. I would not recommend it, as a Beginners Kit. Not for Beginners, with no Programming Experience like me, anyway... Don
Update: From the Comments on this Review... Tom, Thanks for the info. I just now noticed your Post, on 06-14-13. I get notices in my e-mail for every post related to my interests, on Element14. But, some how I never saw the e-mail for this one. I did a search in my e-mail App and sure enough. It was there. I did actually get one of the boards setup with a free Windows App, called FET-Pro430 Lite version FREE from www.elprotronic.com. I found the info on Brandon Hockle's Review, at, http://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/1371. Brandon's Review was very helpful and I had no trouble Flashing the IC. Once I looked around FET-Pro430 Lite for a while in my old WinXP System, that has only 512Mb of Ram and a 2.4ghz P4 Processor. I even tried to do a Video of the whole process with a Web Cam. But, it didn't come out right. The System was dropping video frames to save memory and I didn't know it until the end of my work. I still want to go back and flash the other IC on the other Board. And then setup the Radios for remote logging and do an update to my Review. Also, I want to build some kind of Project with them too. But, I haven't got around to it yet. Thanks for your comment. It reminded me to get back to this little project, soon...
The Pics in this Article are of the Boards and Screen Shots of the various Software Applications and the Errors that I got while trying to setup the Boards for Testing. And below are links to more info, software and manuals for the, TI 430Boost-CC110L AIR Module BoosterPack Kit.