This morning I was prematurely awoken by the postman drumming on the front door. Just for a change it was not some frivolous jewellery purchase my wife had forgotten about but was something far more exciting - a delivery from Texas Instruments!
Not only do they sell us the LaunchPad for a rediculous $4.30 but they also have a free samples program. Naturally the higher value products are either not available as a free sample or must be ordered through a sales rep. Presumably to confirm your likleyhood to return their cost in a future order but the MSP430 chips are cheap enough to be included in the program.
As I mentioned in my first post, I am a software guy. I have no experience with electronics, no training, nothing. I highly expect to break things all along the learning curve. So the first thing I added to my basket was a spare of each chip (MSP430G2211, MSP43G2231).
While poking around I also came across the MSP430F2013. The primary difference appears to be a higher resolution ADC which could be useful for an advanced feature of my next project. I stuck a pair of these into my basket for good measure. I don't know if the GPIO pins in the F series have a higher current rating than those in the G series but if they do this will definately be of use to me too. My dodgy theory behind this idea is that the G series is specifically designed to be cheap and might have more delicate internals than the F. I really need to dig through the data sheets to find out if there's any truth to this.
...or should I just plug them in and see what happens!?
You might have noticed the teensy chip in the photo above. This is the G2211, apparently I chose the wrong package variety. Look how tiny it is by comparison, there must be so much dead space inside the larger packages. Anyway, if you know of a handy resource clarifying the package codes/types please let me know. In the mean time my mistake has given me a new challenge; to program and build the smallest (physically speaking) version of Time Lord, my first project.
To get in on the free samples goodness head over to my.ti.com and create an account. It only takes a few minutes but please don't take advantage of their goodwill, as a new-to-the-scene hobbyist I would not be doing any of this without the LaunchPad and samples program.