Total Frustration with TI

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I have a couple of MSP-EXP430FR4133 launchpads that I wish to use for a  
project.  I picked these devices over an FPGA board because I thought it  
would be easier.  Now, I'm finding I can't even get started!

I had the same problems a couple of years ago when I worked with one of  
their ARM boards.  In the end I punted on getting unsigned drivers  
working and moved the launchpad onto a raspberry pi where I could get  
the drivers to work.

This time I can't get to the point of the drivers not installing, I  
can't even download them!!!

The process for getting the drivers is a bit Rube Goldberg-esque.  There  
is a link early in the User Guide that points to a page with a link to a  
page where you can attest that you won't share the software with foreign  
nationals.  However, just by clicking a check box anyone can download  
it.  This takes me to another page where I can click to actually  
download the software... but it doesn't happen.  So there is another  
link to make the download start.  That gives me an error message.

An error occurred while processing your request.
Reference #50.e67cd317.1490289820.c7d8257

All very frustrating.  I dug around for help and found an email address  
to ask for help with what seems to be a problem with the export  
controls.  I sent it early this morning, we'll see if I get a response.

I'm not sure this driver is even a current one as the file name is  
ti_msp430driver_setup_1_00_01_00.zip and other associated files have  
advanced beyond 1.00.01.

I did find much later in the manual a link to a tool that lets you  
install precompiled binary files on the target which is what I need.  I  
guess it pays to read the *full* manual before starting.  This link  
seems to work.  We'll see if the tool will install and work.  Just in  
case I'm downloading the Linux version for my rPi.

So installation of the flashing tool went smoothly until... I get a  
notice that I need to install the USB drivers for the FET (Flash  
Emulation Tool).  I click that link which takes me to the same page I  
started with that pretends to let me download the USB driver but never  
starts.

Sorry for the long rant.  But I've been fighting this for some time now  
and I can't believe how hard TI made this process.  I think I finally  
understand the pieces, but I still can't get from here to there... at  
least on my PC.  I guess I'll try the rPi next.

--  

Rick C

Re: Total Frustration with TI
On Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:40:57 -0400, rickman wrote:

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Oh joy.  I feel for you.

Part of the reason that I do nearly all of my development with ARM Cortex  
parts using 3rd-party open-source tools is because the tools seem to have  
fewer really fatal flaws, and when they do there's someone out in the  
community who's flogging things to make the flaws go away.

It was a stroke of genius on ARM's part to make a common debug interface  
-- it means that one tool chain will work on anybody's ARM Cortex parts.

--  

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Total Frustration with TI
On 23/03/17 18:49, Tim Wescott wrote:

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The irony here is that on one of my projects based on a Freescale  
Kinetis, the debugger I am using (with Linux) is a small board that came  
free with a TI demo kit!


Re: Total Frustration with TI
On Thu, 23 Mar 2017 20:43:28 +0100, David Brown wrote:

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It must be one of the ARM core parts from Luminary -- their debug  
hardware is compatible with OpenOCD, and works pretty well with other  
manufacturer's stuff (although the early boards didn't treat reset as  
well as the 3rd-party dongles do -- I don't know if this was fixed in  
later versions or not).

--  

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Total Frustration with TI
On 23/03/17 20:50, Tim Wescott wrote:
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It was indeed a Luminary Micros part - well done!


Re: Total Frustration with TI
I found another way to download to the target.  Seems TI has a web page  
to support this.  Really?  A web page to control a target board on my  
PC?  Ok...

I gave it a try and of course there are drivers to download.  But this  
is handled automatically.  Well, mostly.  The first driver downloaded  
and installed ok.  In the process it seemed to install the second  
driver.  When I clicked the final button to refresh the page I am still  
prompted with a message that I need to download and install the second  
piece of software.  Ok, I guess it didn't get loaded before, it must  
have been something else with a similar name.  I click to download and  
install the second package.  Refresh.  Same message.

I tried this a couple more times before I realized, it was downloading,  
but not installing!  So I manually ran the installation and refreshed  
the page.  Now it seems responsive.  I asked it to verify the firmware  
on the target.  It takes some time because it has to install yet more  
stuff.  Finally it starts running and gives an error... :-*

Seems this board is old enough the emulator firmware is not up to date.  
It wants to update that... do I have an emulator for the emulator?  I  
guess the flash emulator emulates itself?  :-/

Ok, some time and lots of blinking red LEDs later, the board seems to be  
updated and it completes my request to verify the "out of box" firmware.  
  You got it!  An error!  It fails confirmation.  I guess that firmware  
is also out of date.  Do I dare update the firmware?  In for a penny...

That worked, the image updated and now verifies and the board continues  
working the same as far as I can tell.  I wonder what was changed in the  
OOB firmware?

I still need to get the FET USB driver working.  Can anyone else  
download the ti_msp430driver_setup_1_00_01_00.zip file from  
http://software-dl.ti.com/msp430/msp430_public_sw/mcu/msp430/MSP430_FET_Drivers/latest/index_FDS.html

If I know it is hosed for everyone and not just me I will know better  
how to get help from TI.  I've tried two of my four browsers.  I really  
don't want to go on a browser hunt.  I'm pretty sure it's TI.

Until then I'll work on getting things running with the rPi I suppose.

--  

Rick C

Re: Total Frustration with TI

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Download worked fine for me Rick, it was on my machine within 30 seconds
of clicking your link.




--  

John Devereux

Re: Total Frustration with TI
On 3/23/2017 3:15 PM, John Devereux wrote:
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Yes, John Temples wrote me that it worked for him as well.  Looks like I  
picked the wrong two browsers to try, Opera and Chrome.  It worked for  
me when I tried FF.  What are the odds?

What browser did you use?

I'm actually a bit frustrated with it all now.  I'm going to quit for  
the day and work on financial stuff.  I can't seem to get a CPA to  
return my call or worse they don't seem to respond to emails.  I'm  
looking for a new one and they all seem to be living in the 1900's.

--  

Rick C

Re: Total Frustration with TI

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Firefox (on linux)

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--  

John Devereux

Re: Total Frustration with TI
On Thu, 23 Mar 2017 13:40:57 -0400, rickman wrote:

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A long time ago, when the MSP430 first came out, I bought one of their  
little USB development boards, and found the process seamless.

But -- that was a long time ago.

I hope things get better.  Sometimes you wonder if companies really want  
to sell their products.

--  

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Total Frustration with TI
As long as I am griping, I'm trying to read the schematics for the  
MSP-EXP430FR4133 and they are a royal PITA.  First they use a light grey  
for the text on the pages.  I have no idea who thought light grey is an  
acceptable color for anything on a drawing that you actually intend  
people to read.  IDIOTS!

Secondly, the only text anywhere on the drawing that can be treated as  
text by selecting, copying or searching are the bloody pin numbers on  
the parts.  There is no way to search for net names to see what goes  
where.  IDIOTS!

Finally the text labeling the pins is incredibly microscopically small!  
It is less than half the height of the other text on the page.   IDIOTS!

Anyone know what schematic package TI is using for their drawings?  I  
want to make sure I never use it.

I will say they appear to have an interesting design for measuring the  
power of the target.  It appears they are using a DCDC converter  
controlled by an MCU to measure the current by counting the on time of  
the pass transistor.  I wonder what the benefit of this is over just  
using a series resistor and measuring the voltage delta across it.  They  
are dropping 5 volts to 3.3, so the resistor could be between the  
regulator output and the sense point and not cost any extra voltage drop.

They have some patents on this method and even on a compiler feature  
that lets you measure the power of code functions and optimize for speed  
the sections that use the most power.  The patent abstract isn't clear  
on how automated this is.  One thing I noticed is that the patents all  
very specifically mention using an inductor.  So if this is instead done  
with a switched capacitor bank, it would not violate any patents except  
maybe the compiler patent.

--  

Rick C

Re: Total Frustration with TI
On Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:11:59 -0400, rickman wrote:

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I think contract web designers designing for their portfolios, not for  
the product.  Everything looks like a high-end restaurant menu.

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