MCU Development Kits & Plug-In Modules

TI delivers LaunchPad and BoosterPacks for easier MCU design and development

Texas Instruments has sponsored the following story

It is an exciting time in the microcontroller arena with Texas Instrument’s (TI’s) introduction of the low-cost LaunchPad series of MCU boards. Each of TI’s product lines of microcontrollers has a LaunchPad to help you design, develop and evaluate – from MSP430™, C2000™, Tiva™ C Series and Hercules™ MCUs. There is also a common plug-in interface called a BoosterPack that extends the functionalities of the LaunchPads.

C2000 LaunchPad

MSP430G2 LaunchPad

Tiva C LaunchPad

Hercules LaunchPad


Serial Bluetooth BoosterPack

The ‘wow’ factor of the LaunchPad series is the BoosterPack interface. BoosterPacks allow for a wide range of boards to be connected, so diverse that TI refers to this collection as the “ecosystem”.

Though the BoosterPack starts out with the normal stuff (switches, LEDs, on-board device programming, debugging, UARTs, ADCs), it doesn’t end there. Sensor hubs, EM Adapters, capacitive touch, even Wi-Fi BoosterPacks are available for plug-in.

Imagine your Hercules MCU detecting a car crash and calling for help via Wi-Fi as soon as the airbags deploy. Or your MSP430 sending an email as soon as a refrigerator temperature is off spec. The Wi-Fi BoosterPacks alone make these ideas possible. Imagine what you can do with the others.

WiFly BoosterPack

OLED BoosterPack

Sensor Hub BoosterPack



The LaunchPad evaluation platforms are supported by the TI Code Composer Studio IDE, the Energia open-source graphical programming environment and third party assemblers. This comprises IDEs and operating systems including IAR, Keil, Mentor Embedded Linux, and MSPGCC. For testing, a plug-in format can also be hosted with a standard 0.10” breadboard.

The MSP430 LaunchPad is extremely low cost, starting at $9.99. It includes an MSP430 MCU, switches, LEDs, BoosterPack compatible pin-out, and on-board emulation for programming and debugging. The MCU is from the MSP430G2xx family and includes up to 16kB Flash, 512B RAM, 16MHz CPU, and I/O devices.

Use of the board is covered in the white paper “Getting Started with the MSP430 LaunchPad “ for Newnes and Elsevier. Another MSP430 LaunchPad includes the MSP430F5529 MCU with an internal USB interface. The advantages of the 16-bit MCUs, specifically the MSP430 family, include low power and unit cost as compared to the current 8-bit technology.

The C2000 Piccolo LaunchPad supports the Piccolo TMS320F28027 MCU with 64kB on-board flash, 8 PWM channels, eCAP, 12-bit ADC, I2C, SPI, and UART interfaces. A JTAG emulator, easy access to MCU pins, example code libraries, and drivers are stand-out features of the Piccolo LaunchPad. The C2000 family is ideal for real-time control applications like motor control, digital power and industrial drives.

The Tiva™ C Series LaunchPad featuring the ARM® Cortex-M4F-based microcontroller includes programmable user buttons, RGB LED, and BoosterPack interface. The stackable headers of the Tiva C Series Interface make it easy and simple to expand the functionality of the TM4C123G LaunchPad when interfacing to other peripherals with Texas Instruments’ MCU BoosterPacks.

The Hercules LaunchPads include dual core lock-step microcontrollers for safety and redundancy applications. They also support advanced connectivity with communications I/O. The TMS570LS04x/03x models are designed to be ideal for safety critical automotive applications while the Hercules RM42x models are intended for safety-critical industrial and medical applications.

TI is continuing to develop the BoosterPack ecosystem, and users are encouraged to develop their own BoosterPack interfaces. TI has posted a development guide for the LaunchPad platform and the BoosterPack interface. Honing your skills on a new microcontroller has never been so fun!

Texas Instruments has sponsored promotion of their industrial communications solutions on They have no editorial input to this post – all opinions are mine. Bruce Schreiner