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I have a project that uses 2 separate MSP430 microcontrollers. Both of them need to have different firmware uploaded to them. My place of work use the 8-way MSP-GANG programmers to program instruments in production.

The annoying thing with this, is you cannot put different firmware on different ports (or there isn't a way I could see), so I would be forced to program one, change the 'image file' and program the other.

The way I have got around it is to write a script by following the instructions in the USER GUIDE (page 24 - 30). Now, via the MSP-GANG software, I can press the 'GO' button and the script runs, programming the first microcontroller on one port, then the second one on another port. This is fine, but via this software, you can also edit the image files and change memory locations of different images. We would rather the production staff not have the ability to access any of this, so I have been trying to find a way to have the script run on a standalone unit.

I cannot seem to be able to save the script to any image file, and when putting it on an SD card, it just comes up with an error.

Does anyone know if it is possible, and how to run a script on a standalone GANG programmer?

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The user guide certainly makes it sound like your options are "standalone" or "script" and not a combination.. but your TI rep might have a work-around.

That being said I figured I would offer some suggestions based on some previous programming setups:

1) In the past, we would create a batch file to call the programming utility via command line. That way, the Contract Manufacturer (CM) just has to hit a button that says "PROGRAM FOR COMPANY X". If the concern is what the tool opens up in script mode, that might be an option.

If the concern is your CM modifying the script, I wouldn't be super concerned. In general CM's want to minimize how much they mess with stuff, since any "tweaking" might result in a negative impact to their business. I would worry more about scripts getting mixed up and them having to call you rather than someone messing with the file.

2) Especially since we're talking about a company with an actual production process, it might not be a bad solution to just get two programmers in standalone mode and key /color-code / poka-yoke the crap out of it so they can't mix up the programmers. That way a technician can just hit the button on both programmers, and there's really no impact beyond having to plug in two cables rather than one.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the reply. The concern isn't really the script being modified, that file will be hidden somewhere, but the program allows you to change the voltage and current settings that the programmer will supply to a target, and the program method (JTAG/SBW etc) which can be changed by an errant click of a mouse. It'll be 3 or 4 production staff handling it and all I will say is I can forsee something like that being an issue somewhere. It may be needed to give up and go with a 2 programmer solution, but it seems a waste to have 2 8-port programmers for one project. \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Aug 14 '19 at 15:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ The programmer will stay with the test jig of this particular product, hence why we can't just load different programs in and change them when needed. The programmers stay with the product. I'm not in a position to start making large changes to production procedure unfortunately! Also, +1 for the answer, I have also asked the TI forums but they seem slow to reply sometimes. \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Aug 14 '19 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have a TI rep that calls on you? They can be annoying, so it makes sense to annoy them ;) Unfortunately programmers are usually geared toward rinsing and repeating the same thing with a few extra features, so doing something unique usually requires some creativity - good luck! \$\endgroup\$ – Drewster Aug 14 '19 at 15:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, the rep is on annual leave till tomorrow so I'll shoot an email his way in the morning! \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Aug 14 '19 at 16:02
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So, after a bit of back and forth on the TI forums, I was able to get a reply to say that yes, it is possible. The link to the forum post is HERE.

So, the first reply I got confirming it said:

Based on the feedback from tools team. It is possible. Just before creating script to standalone, user should create configuration they need (in memory option – update only) and then create the script for standalone. Then use standalone.

I then asked for any documentation detailing how this is actually done. I didn't quite get that, but I got the following response:

Here are the instructions provided by the tools team:

*Create image for standalone mode with configuration you need. Save it with the desired image inside MSP-GANG.

*Create script file – select image number (number as above) then Run standalone mode option.

*Run the scrip file;

So, it does seem like this is possible to do.

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