2014. február 26., szerda

MCU - The Change

I'm thinking about plenty of new projects and new version of old ones. I feel that the MSP430 not suits anymore.
The aspects lead me to the MSP430 originally are getting irrelevant:
DIP package - I've learned handling, soldering SMD components. I've the knowledge and the source for manufacturing professional PCBs
Unbeatable priced development platform. The TI MSP430 Lanuchpad is still the cheapest one on the market, even it is not $5 anymore. On the other hand the competing manufacturers also speeding up. There is almost no MCU on the market what has no cheap development platform.
The first article what I read on the "Hobbielektronika" portal. It has no relevance now according to the knowledge and experience I've now.
I see if I start anything new (new project) with MSP430 I always facing significant difficulties.
From the hardware side:
Low pin count, missing peripherals. It leads me to use additional components what increase the cost of the project. On the other hand if I use other devices than the value line, the cost of the device and the required development platform will be high.
From software side:
Somebody may smarter than me and found easy solution, but for me the handling of the peripherals (especially the I2C bus) was a nightmare. There is no correct, working driver, and the code in the TI master library was partially usable after a thorough rewriting. I think, I'd like to spend my time to work out my ideas rather than this type of problems.
Because of the reasons above, I'm looking for the solution for a while. I think, I found it.
Pick a project example. Something like the controller of the UV lightbox (but not that). What I need for it?
  • 4 digit 7-Segment LED display (it is 12 GPIO with normal multiplexing)
  • A few button input (let say 4)
  • Buzzer
  • 1 output (to switching the load)
  • 1 input (trigger)
  • Serial communication (over USB)
  • RTC (yes, it will have a clock inside)
  • One, but more likely two timers
  • External 32.768kHz XTAL
  • BSL
A good part of this is not in the MSP430G series. The others (series) are pricy, typically requires state of the art development platforms (the classic Launchpad is not really suits). In addition like it or not, the MSP430 is a proprietary technology. From my point of view I would rather choose an ARM MCU. I did it already.
We can presume that a 32 bit MCU has higher price point than an MSP430 (or even an AVR or PIC).
This is not definitely true. Based on the requirements above I put together a comparison table:

There is two things what I will not tell now. The price and the exact type. You can guess (here in the comments).

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