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I'm wanting to move into working with the full range of MSP430 chips, especially their Ultra Low Power versions.

As I understand it, I'll need the chip I want to program, a JTAG programmer, and the target board in order to do prototyping.

Considering that I want to target the MSP430L092SPWR in particular (to begin with), I'm a bit confused about a couple of the pieces of hardware I need to complete the task (from what is on offer), and would like another opinion before I put money on it (this is purely for enthusiast learning).

So far, I believe I need the MSP-FET to actually program the chip (an aside, is there an alternative to the TI programmer I should consider?), but I'm unsure about the target board. The chip in question has 14 pins, but there are two target boards on offer. One is $20, and the other is $89, but as far as I can tell, they should achieve the same thing.

Can someone confirm/explain this for me? $20 vs. $89 is quite the difference in price, so I'd quite like to know why it is the case. Could someone that has used these before lend a hand?

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There are JTAG programmers made by other companies, e.g., Olimex. But you will have to check whether they actually support the L092.

Only one of these two target boards works with the MSP430L092, the other one is for higher-voltage MCUs. The L092 board has a higher price (well, originally) because of the additional level shifter hardware.

For almost all of those higher-voltage MSP430s, you can replace the FET with the eZ-FET lite which is on all recent enough LaunchPad boards.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Great, thanks! So just to confirm, to program the chip I mentioned specifically (which runs at 0.9v), I would want to go with the board that was $117, but is now $20? In the future, if I ever wanted to program 14 pin MSP430s that had a higher Vcc, I would need to get the $89 one? \$\endgroup\$
    – J.B
    May 15, 2015 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes. No (see my edit). \$\endgroup\$
    – CL.
    May 16, 2015 at 7:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I understand. This probably means I will go for the $20 one for now. The only other chips I plan to work with right now are some 100 pin variants. Everything is SMD, so I believe this means I'll need the 100 pin target board as well with the ZIF socket. I was hoping I would be able to use the 100 pin target board to program the 14 pin, but amongst other things, the voltages don't match up (as you mentioned). Thanks for your advice! \$\endgroup\$
    – J.B
    May 16, 2015 at 13:22

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