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My Prototyping Boards

Development Boards

With the arrival of the BE boards (aka 9$ Arduino from Indiegogo) I decided to showcase all the prototyping/development boards I own, or as my friend Alex calls it  “a  useless post”. They are the MSP430 Launchpad, Tiva C Series TM4C123G LaunchPad, Arduino Uno, BE board, Freescale FRDM-KL25Z and the Rasberry Pi.

  •  MSP430 Launchpad


This was my first board and my favorite. Its price was 5$ from the Texas Instruments on-line shop including worldwide shipping.

Its features may vary depending on the MCU you use from the Texas Instruments Value Line, but the board has built-in emulation for programming and debugging,  a 14/20-pin DIP socket, on-board buttons and LEDs.

One of the best things about this board and its Value Line MCUs is that we can put our projects on a breadboard or pcb with very few external components (a resistor and button on the reset pin), and the microcontrollers are available in several flavors from the Texas samples store.

43oh is a great forum featuring projects, news and a store with some BoosterPacks (Shields), and there are several development softwares such as Code Composer Studio and the arduino like Energia.

  •  Tiva C Series (Stellaris) TM4C123G LaunchPad


Another realy cheap board from Texas Instruments that has a ARM Cortex-M4F, and that means we have loads of I/Os and enough power to run an RTOS or some more complex tasks as USB 2.0 implementations.

It supports floating point and runs at 80MHz, with 256K  flash, 32K RAM, and several control and communication interfaces sutch as UART, SSI, I2C, CAN, USB and ADC.

This board uses the same development evironments as the MSP430 Launchpad.

  • Arduinos UNO & Leonardo

BE board

The Arduino UNO (blue one on first picture), was my first Arduino.

The Leonardo, it´s in fact a compatible board called BE Board ( Borderless Eletronics Board) aka 9$ Arduino and I got it on an Indiegogo campaign. A great deal considering I got 3 kits for the price of one single Arduino. I can now have some distributed sensors/actuators arround to do some monitoring/control arround my house (future project).

I always had love/hate feelings about the Arduino: it is a great fast prototyping board and a great teaching tool, but it isn´t suitable for more professional solutions and some people tend to forget that.

  • Freescale  FRDM-KL25Z


This one is one has low price, a   ARM® Cortex™-M0+ processor (MKL25Z128VLK4 MCU – 48 MHz, 128 KB flash, 16 KB SRAM, USB OTG), a capacitive touch slider, accelerometer, rgb LED and mass storage device flash programming interface (upload your programs by copy them into an mass storage device on your computer).

I have this one to try out Freescale products and compare them to Texas Instruments, and its development evironments:  IAR Embedded Workbench, KEIL MDK uVision, CodeWarrior Development Studio and mbed on-line compiler.

  • Rapsberry Pi


The Rapsberry Pi doesn´t need any introductions and I´ve implemented a web server, MPD server, CUPS server and some monitoring python scripts I wrote myself. It has little power consuption so it´s always on and connected to the internet. I have so many projects in my mind that can use him….but as always so little time!

Lost in the Maze

Codebits is an anual programming and tecnology event hosted by Sapo reserved to 800 atendees. I was fortuned enough to be selected for the first time! During the three day event, the group I was part of (Me, Alex & Fábio) developded a servo driven maze controled by any Smartphone without having to install any 3rd party software.

How we did it:

The maze was made out of cardboard and underneath the midle of it we installed 2 servomotors oposed to eachother by 90 degrees.

These servos where then controled via Arduino witch receives position values from a Raspberry Pi hosting a webserver.

The site on the server could be accessed by scanning a QR code and then the phone acceleromenter values would be collected to drive the motors, and Start and Finish sensors on the maze were used to time the player solving time.

The end result can be seen on this video:

With this project we won the 5th place from an universe of 84 projects. Here we are receiving the trofy: