I now have an interesting idea what I could use the LaunchPad for. I don’t want to tell too much about it yet, but I ordered a GameBoy camera I want to connect to it, so now I need to take a look on how to program it.
Why a GameBoy camera? I’ve been looking for a camera I could connect to an Arduino to do some basic shape recognition. While I was looking for existing solutions I gathered from a lot of people that an Arduino is just too slow and doesn’t have enough memory to do anything realistic with it. That’s the main reason why I want to give the LaunchPad a try, the 32bit ARM Cortex CPU with 80MHz should have substantial more computing power than the 16 MHz ATMEGA chip on the Arduino. Additionally I found this article by Michael Shimniok where he describes how he attached the GameBoy camera to an Arduino and used it to relay the captured images to a computer.
After connecting it to the PC with the debug USB port it started to run the pre-installed RGB demo, cycling the LED through colors, but it only showed up as unknown devices in the windows device manager. Most downloads on the TI website don’t work, so I looked for alternate means to write code for it and found the Energia IDE. Energia is a fork of the Arduino IDE ,which I am quite familiar with by now, and the newest release (that coincidentally came out just a couple of days ago) comes with support for the LaunchPad.
After some searching and a little trial and error I found working drivers for the LaunchPad on the TI website. After installing the drivers (rightclick on the unknown devices, update drivers) the device shows up as a virtual COM port but it is still not usable in the Energia IDE. Everytime I try to upload a compiled sketch I get the following error message:
Binary sketch size: 1.916 bytes (of a 262.144 byte maximum) Failed! No ICDI device with USB VID:PID 1cbe:00fd found!
I double checked, the VID/PID of the LaunchPad device matches. No idea what’s the problem here. The Energia forum was of no help, so I decided to look further. Luckily, today I was able to download StellarisWare and the Code Composer Studio from the TI website. Good news: I can program the LaunchPad with it, I was able to follow TIs Project0 instructions without problems. Bad news: Code Composer Studio needs a commercial licence. I expected this, that’s why I was searching for an alternative in the first place. For now I can use it with a the Bundle/Dev Kit license, a “free licence for use with EVMs and development boards with onboard emulation as well as XDS100 class emulators”. That should suffice for now, maybe I can switch to Energia later when it actually works.