March 25, 2012

MSP-EXP430FR5739 FRAM Speed now!

Review of MSP-EXP430FR5739
first of all i like to give a big thanks to  Farnell/newark / for providing this development board for the review :)
FRAM is the next giant leap in Ram technology and im really excited to see all the applications and devices that will include all the awsomeness! 
Aside from being the new really cool technology FRAM is faster more efficient and ultra low-power!. TI's MSP-430 line has been pushing low power applications as one of their main benefits and with the MSP-EXP430FR5739 development board with FRAM technology its possible to achieve all new frontiers of low-power usage 
Board just arrived from Newark!

When i got my board i opened it up and immediately wanted to check out all the cool features. This board definitely has some appreciated bells and whistles. 

  • Integrated MSP430FR5739 :
    • 16KB FRAM / 1KB SRAM
    • 16-Bit RISC Architecture up to 8-MHz
    • 2x Timer_A Blocks, 3x Timer_B Block
    • 1x USCI (UART/SPI/IrDA/I2C ) Blocks, 16Ch 10-Bit ADC12_B, 16Ch Comp_D, 32 I/Os
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • NTC Thermister
  • 8 Display LED's
  • Footprint for additional through-hole LDR sensor
  • 2 User input Switches
  • Connections
    • Connection to MSP-EXP430F5438
    • Connection to most Wireless Daughter Cards (CCxxxx RF)
The main Stuff that i really like having included is the Accelerometer and the 8 LEDs, which are a pretty bright blue!.

The board came with a 32khz crystal micro USB cable and two female 12pin PCB connectors.
However i have to say that on my board the board came with two male PCB connectors soldered on board. I would prefer the female ones be soldered on the board because while holding the board its easy to touch the male pins and cause some of the readings to be inconsistent, that is why i generally put the female headers on even with the Launchpad. The USB cable is a bit short as well only about two feet but i have tons of these cables around to use instead.

FRAM technology is pretty amazing Its write endurance is ridiculous with 100 trillion write cycles you could write to this at max speed and still not burn it up for thousands of years! Even its write speed is 100 times that of flash with no charge pump it can reach 250x less power than a flash write cycle. pretty nice!

This is one of the built in test modes it shows an LED lighting up fro every 100kb of data in flash speed.
as yo u can see it takes a bit to write each block of 100kb at flash speeds :( 

This video shoes an LED for every 100kb in FRAM speed! really ...really fast

Flash GUI Speed,here you can see how fast the Flash block would die if you were stress writing it.

FRAM GUI speed! Notice that the endurance is crazy eve at top speeds!

Did i mention it has an  Accelerometer !?!

Overall this board is pretty nice to test out new FRAM technology and play around with rapid value writing to the board :) The main thing that erks me is that there is currently no DIP package for any FRAM mcu from TI so hobby development is currently stuck with hard to solder packages that might limit the ammount of home-made applications you will find. The FRAM technology shows alot of potential to be the next gen of wireless and lowpower memory and i cant wait to think to see what it will be applied to. If anyone has any ideas send me an email or comment on a FRAM project idea. Once again i have to thank farnell/newark / for not only suppling the board but having an awsome website where i can get alot of awsome parts for my projects! :)

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