Thursday, December 9, 2010

IAR Kickstart and MSP430 Launchpad

Well, finally, my toys have arrived. And it's awesome. Naturally the first thing we did was say "Let's hook it up!" We performed the typical unboxing procedure:

1. Tear mail package into many small pieces, remove launchpad box.
2. Tear launchpad box into many small pieces, remove all baggies.
3. Tear anti-static bags into many small pieces, remove all components.
4. Ignore QuickStart guide entirely.
5. Google Getting Started with MSP430 Launchpad.
6. Plug things in without reading any results from search.
7. Lights turn on and off, make 'oooo' and 'aaaa' sounds.
8. Download IAR KickStart and install and try to increase LED duration etc using example code.
9. Realize you skipped a lot of steps and don't have any idea wtf you are doing...

So this was all great and fun, we wired the chip to some opto-isolators with some 1K resistors in series, then use a Darlington array and attach some motors and watch them spin up and down all the while giggling like grade schoolers in recess. Now to download a new program to the MSP430 so we can have a little more control over what's happening and leave H-Bridge design to the mechanical engineer (because this makes sense... right?).

H-Bridge design is less than successful, it rolls into 11pm and it's getting late. We're having issues with the IAR KickStart Software (PEBKAC). The mechanical engineer becomes derailed with gear and motor ideas forgetting entirely that the initial hope was to have a basic prototype within the same day. And now you could analyze the increase of personal tension as a third order derivative.

The issue with downloading the new images to the 430 is as follows:
Failed to initialize device
Well... wtf does that mean? Google yields lots of people saying "Use CCS," and "Make sure your drivers are correct." Not being particularly interested in the first option, due to preference and stubbornness, I check my drivers. Low and behold this is not where my problem lies. So I keep researching, keep researching, finding only more of the same garble... then in the comments on some forum somewhere I see it, the thing I should have known better, the thing that the getting started guides should have explained but didn't.
Project -> Options -> General Options -> Target Device
 Of course, I forgot to set my target device!  Somewhere, I would have thought, they would have mentioned this. But alas they did not, and hopefully if you're reading this you're kicking yourself the same way I did. But with the calm collected realization that your project can continue on. Then it was time to stop and sleep.


  1. Man! you just saved me!

    serious.. i was having this same problem since i received my launchpad kit too.. THX!
    i became your fan =P

    Regards from Brazil o/

  2. @Gustavo

    Glad to know I could help even one person solve the same problem, thanks for letting me know!

    Also I've since moved to a Linux based development environment and I really enjoy it more (Linux is my primary OS). It has it's own quirks, but it's nice.

  3. You helped me. I've been looking at this thing for hours and only your advice saved me from countless more hours of agony!

  4. @Ian Excellent! Happy inventing Techno Warrior.

  5. Hey guys, another gotcha that wasted plenty of time for me is that my debugger driver was set to simulation instead of FET debugger in the project options.

  6. @whiskthecat Ah yes, I've done that too. Do you recall if it was part of the default configuration?


  7. I certainly didn't change it to start off with and if you hit factory defaults it goes to that as well, so yes I think it is the default config.

  8. I would have found it eventually, but some quick Googling lead here. Thanks much!

    1. No problem - just trying to make the world a better place.

  9. i need some help here,
    Recently purchased a msp430 launchpad All wired in with IAR kickstart , But WHAT should be the target Device ? could someone please indicate where i can FIND SAMPLE CODES ?? (I googled...but the header files #include Do not work ! ! )

    1. You'll want to match the target device in the drop down list to the device (the integrated circuit) installed on the launchpad. If you've recently bought the launch pad this should be a "MSP430G2553" and you can confirm this by looking at the chip on the launchpad socket.

      is the wiki to the code samples, in your case because you're most likely (confirm this!) using a MSP430G2553 you'll want the:

      Let me know if you have any more issues and I'll see what I can do to help =) Though I've moved away from using the IAR Kickstart and have switched over to the linux toolchain.

    2. added you on G+ as well - might be able to give you a full walk through/live demo someday when I have more time.

  10. Hello all,

    I work with the IAR-kickstart and Flashing With Led example.
    My problem is how to download the program to my device MSP430F2013.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. I believe you need to do the same thing as most other people here: Select the target device (MSP430F2013) from the target device list.

      Select Project in the menu, then Options, then General Options.

      Once you done this, you should be able build the project and then Download & Debug the program using the play button.

      Also sorry for the delay, I'll try to be available this week for more information and have added you on G+ in case you'd like to try work it out with me in a hangout or something.