I've finally got the rev 1. versions of this development board up and running. To get more information on this board, check out the previous few blogs. The first one I put up in support of my kickstarter project describes it's features etc... in more detail. It is going to support the MSP430F5635 MCU because this chip is very robust and great for general embedded development and has the most attractive price point of the 5x family USB MCUs. I'd like to sell these as fully built units supporting USB development. I feel like this board is enticing because it is great for general development using larger, more powerful, MSP430's. It also supports USB, which was the driver for this design, but it can still be used as a general development platform. The problem with the other boards I found was that they were either USB development boards or general purpose. I didn't see a solution for someone that needed to use both USB, LEDs, buttons, the USCI module, UARTs and the ADC etc... This board allows you access to all of that whether it is on board LEDs/buttons or signals/devices that you can plug into the two 30 pin headers or the 12 pin header. You can also spin a plugin card that can fit right into these expansion headers. Also, almost every pin on this 100pin MCU is broken out to these expansion headers, which allows for great access to all of the peripherals via the MSP430's IO. I also have all of the map-able pins broken out to the expansion headers as well!
This is a quick progress blog about the MSP430F dev board which was recently up on Kickstarter. I also give a quick overview of the schematics and layout in the video so you can get an idea of what has gone on thus far and what the design looks like. The boards have been fab'd and are currently being populated by a prototype board/pop house up in Chicago. I'll have a review on those when they get back.
I wanted to post up a review of the Kapton stencils I ordered and the company that produced them. Finding a cheap stencil for prototypes was not a trivial matter. I tried the acid etching and didn't have much luck. Finally, I ran across this place that laser cuts Kapton stencils and I was very impressed with their work. I hope this review helps some people out that were in the same boat as me. This was a good low cost stencil solution with great customer support and a great product. I actually only got two Kapton pieces. In the video I said I got four which is incorrect, but what I meant to say is I submitted four designs. One stencil was for the entire PCB and the other stencil contained four additional footprints that I really wanted to get if it didn't cost any more.
I'm designing a USB capable development board for the MSP430F5xxx and MSP430F6xxx family microcontrollers. This was a kickstarter project as well which didn't get funded, but I'm continuing on and all of the updates and materials of interest will be posted on my website. Below are some 3d models of the board I'm developing. After seeing it, I will explain some of the drivers and where this going as well as why this platform is unique.