Programming DIY PCB’s

Most microcontrollers can be programmed by exposing some pins and connecting them to a programmer. This is somewhat company specific, but typically will be ICSP, JTAG, or even just straight USB. I often use TI chips, and with these you can just hijack a LaunchPad (<$10) and program/debug it with two wires. I’ll go into detail on the TI chips here, and add others as making them.

The LaunchPad series from TI support a great range of chips, all the way from tiny energy sipping 8 pin MSP-430s all the way to full blown Arm chips with all kinds of built in peripherals. They are also very low cast, so it’s easy to build up a collection of them.

One of the lesser known abilities of LaunchPads is they also have full blown programmers and debuggers, and these devices can easily be connected to a DIY board. This allows you the full programming experience with Code Composer Studio, with breakpoint debugging, memory inspection, RTOS debugging etc. Best of all, this can all be had with just two extra wires in your design.


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