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I was hoping you would share with me info on making my own board for programming. I recently came into a handful of MSP430F20xx that I'd like to play around with, but my student budget isn't offering me the option of purchasing a decent board.

Please and thanks for your time

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One more option for playing with msp430 is Chronos watch: wiki.msp430.com/index.php/EZ430-Chronos, – Maciek Sawicki Jan 30 '10 at 15:41

Also if you have a chance check out http://goodfet.sf.net/ . Travis Goodspeed developed an MSP430 JTAG programmer that is completely open source. If you contact him via email he might send you some boards at which point all you need to do is gather the various components so that you can build it.

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Tried a Launchpad? It's an MSP430 development board for $4.30 US (with free shipping). Only problem is finding one as they were pretty hot when they were announced about a month ago.

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Hmm. I don't quite see how you could beat US$99 for the MSP-FET430UIF USB debugging/programming interface from TI, or US$49 for the MSP-FET430PIF parallel-port debugging/programming interface, by trying to design/build/test something yourself.

The MSP-FET430UIF also is part of TI's university discount program and is 50% off ($49.50 instead of the $99), not sure what the details to qualify, but contact your TI rep.

I like MSP430's; for a basic low-end microcontroller they have been the easiest series for me to use/debug because of the development tool set.

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You can easily beat that with the Goodfet ($10 parts, board free from Travis), or the ez430 stick ($20). I believe the Goodfet is a better design. The ez430/430UIF uses TI's 3410 USB->serial chip, but the Goodfet uses an FTDI chip with much better driver support. – markrages Feb 2 '10 at 17:10

I've got one of those MSP-FET430UIF interfaces, it's an excellent piece of kit. I use it with Rowley CrossWorks under Windows 7 x64. It also works OK with the free IAR tools available from TI.

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The ez430 is affordable (~ USD 20) and additional microncontroller boards are 3 for USD 10. Thanks to Travis and others you can now program from Linux without the need for the DLL trick. Travis's motivation to use a different interface chip is right on, because the TI driver does stop working every time the Linux kernel wind blows.

Sparkfun is another place you might look, msp430 boards and programmers can be had for next to nothing.

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