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RoadTest the ADS7042 BoosterPack and MSP430FR4133 - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Demo was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: RoadTest the ADS7042 BoosterPack and MSP430FR4133
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Independent Products
  • Application you used the part in: Seed counting system
  • Was everything in the box required?: No - I don't know what was missing, I was unable to get the board to work, with the information that I had at my disposal.
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Installing the drivers for the board. I still have not solved the problem.

  • Detailed Review:

    It was a privilege and pleasure to conduct this RoadTest, I had the opportunity to learn new insights in troubleshooting.

    I wanted to make a practical application to test combination of theMSP-430FR5969 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit and the ADS7042 Ultra-Low Power Data Acquisition BoosterPack.

     

    1. Project title: Seed counting jig.

    2. Project brief: Creating a testing jig, that can determine the number of fallen seeds.
    The testing jig has the purpose of controlling the different external parameters that will influence the sensors behavior. The final purpose of the results is to create a sensor that can be placed on a seeding machine.
    I want to use at first a optical barrier, there are more solutions and different ones also.

    The optical barrier will be influenced by external light intensity variation, dust, vibration and so on.

    Because the seeds are dropping from a height of about 200mm, until they reach the bottom, the sensor has to detect them.
    Because there is always light variation, I want to make the detection trough a software control, not through a hardware control. This means that I want to read a analogic input of the sensor and based on the signal variation to determine if it is: seed or something else.

    3. Out of the box mechanical remarks:

    First I want to say my first impressions of the board from mechanical point of view.

    I like the fact that there are trough hole long connector pins, this allows connecting to the board with male and female connector (this is a plus in my eyes for fast prototyping and fast testing)
    Also The board comes with 2 plastic rivets that together with the female side of the connector  form a sort of support for the board, preventing the board from contacting the bottom surfaces with the exposed electronics (preventing short-circuits) and also offers good stability for the board.

    I experimented a little with the ADS7042 connecting it to the MSP-430FR5969 LaunchPad

    First thing I noticed, there is no straight forward way to determine how to plug it in properly.

    First indicator would be the GND connector, in the picture below is in the upper right corner.
    But then I start to wander if it is ok, you have a 3.3V connector showing on the ADS7042 and a 5V connector on the
    MSP-430FR5969

    Then I search some more and I find that is the proper position.

    After determining the proper relative orientation between the two boards, I’m left to choose a side for the ADS (bottom or top).

    -If I choose to place the ADS on the bottom of the MSP, I have a inconvenience in working with it during testing, it will never stay properly on a surface

    If I place it on top, it is difficult to access the external analog input connector.

     

    4. Out of the box software and driver installation:

     

    I followed the instruction from the document that was delivered together with the board.

     

    STEP 1# I connected the board to the computer and the lights were on

    For some reason (I don’t fully understand why) the computer assigned automatically some drivers to the board. All would be ok if he would make COM ports, instead it assigned HID (Human Interface Device) to the board.

      Here are pictures from the Device Manger


    Picture 1 without the board connected to the PC

     

     

    Picture 2 Board connected to PC (you can see the assigned drivers) The drivers are HID, not COM

     

    Picture 3 All the blue shown drivers (corresponding to the board) had the same information

    The drivers with the error symbol were gone after installing the CSS and also rebutting the computer (Final image looked like Picture 4)

     

    Picture 4 Preview what happens after installing CSS and rebutting the computer

     

    STEP 2# I installed CCS

    (I turned off my antivirus scanner)

    I had issues also with the CCS installation (the problems were solved) bellow I will place a description (feel free to jump over if not interested).
    At first installation I selected all the product families for installation (Yes, I know, I don’t have to do that).

     

    Picture 5 With the selected options

     

    In my defense I got  over excited, combined with the confusion of which are the minimum required options for the board to work from start, so I took the decision of selecting all.
    The multiple selections overloaded the installation (I don’t know how to explain any better for what happened), basically my computer froze and also I lost the internet connection. After everything I tried to cancel the installation and it was sending me messages that it was canceling (and nothing else is happening) so I forced the canceling trough the task manager. (Little did I know that there was a corrupt installation already somehow installed).

    After the failed installation I tried again, the installation was stopping somewhere in the first quarter of the setup and telling me errors
    After each installation a was receiving different errors (because I decided to write about this after I solved the issue I don’t have pictures)

     

    Solution

    - I uninstalled the software CSS (there were 2 different installation on my computer in the Uninstall a program section)
    - Deactivated the firewall and all other settings (basically entire Bitdefender Antivirus, also on Windows)

    - And reinstalled the software only “MSP430 ultra-low power MCUs”
    Installation was successful

     

     

     

    Picture 6 Sowing CCS interface

     

    3# After installation I still have the same driver issue

    Picture 7/4 What happens after installing CSS and rebutting the computer

     

    4# I tried updating the driver software by showing the path to the CSS setup location

     

    Picture 8 Message from windows when I try to update the driver and a send it to the location of CSS setup

     

    5# I tried uninstalling the drivers in hope that I can place new drivers, still no solution
    - I uninstall the drivers

    - I unplug the board             

    - I plug in the board
    - The drivers simply install to HID and I can’t change anything

    6# The HID drivers are affecting me . Energia to upload requires to see COM port

     

    Picture 9 I’m trying to connect to the board (the board is plugged in to the PC) I selected the corresponding board and I can’t find any available port. (this is the reason I think that it has to do with the fact that the drivers are for HID, not COM)

    7# Also I have tried to use the example, demo exe , prepared by TI

     

    Picture 10 I’m trying to connect to the board (the board is plugged in to the PC), I try to select a serial port, the are no serial ports available (this is the reason I think that it has to do with the fact that the drivers are for HID, not COM)

     

    5 .Project details:

     

    The supporting physical parts for the sensors, were made through 3D printing.

    I made a design for the parts in a 3D CAD environment so I can send the parts for 3D printing.
    This was done before I started to work on the board, so when the parts will arrive I can start testing.

     

    I also will place the CAD files so anyone can use them if they like.

    The idea is the following:

    On one side there will be a LED and on the other side it will be a photodiode. Together they form a optical barrier.
    From tope I will drop seed, and I want the controller to count how many seeds have fallen.
    This will be a testing jig, so I can calibrate the electronics and search for the best sensors to use, for the outdoor environment, for agriculture purposes.

    Photo diode on the left and the LED on the right.

     

    Mechanical components for the project:

    This are the 3D printed parts and the 3D counterparts.
    I received satisfying prints for the purpose that the components had (some minor adjustment had to be made, luckily I took that in consideration when I made the 3D design):
    All the parts are made to obtain good stiffness with less material and by using bad 3D printers, so I can sent to any manufacturer.

    The physical parts of my project.

    I made a design for the parts in a 3D CAD environment so I can send the parts for 3D printing.
    This was done before I started to work on the board, so when the parts will arrive I can start testing.

     

     

     

     

     

    Because I was unable to make the board work, I have to stop here with the description of the project.
    I will update this review or place a new review if I have the chance to fix the diver issue.

     

    6. Summary

     

     

    It was an great learning experience to carry out this RoadTest.

    I had a lot of fun and frustrations, best project.

    Because of the driver installation issue I was unable to properly test the board, still I hope that my description of the issue would be a help to others, for what to look out for.

    If anyone had the same issue and managed to solve the problem, please comment bellow your solution, your help will be appreciated.

     

    Finally I must acknowledge TI and Element-14 for giving me an opportunity to carry out this RoadTest. It was a great experience.


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