LP4MRRFlasher v0.1 (Alpha)
I’ve been slowly chipping away at yet another additional side project. What’s that make, 18? 19? This one should have been prioritized higher, but I just never got around to it. Anyways, the whole aim of the LP4MRR community as envisioned by Terry Terrance was to put inexpensive, relatively easy to use, feature full electronics options into the hands of the average model railroader. Unfortunately, spread of the awesomeness that is the Launchpad has been somewhat slow due to the high learning curve of everything it takes to program and use a Launchpad.
A few months back, I asked myself the very dangerous question of: “So, what if….” More specifically, I asked, “So, what if I could find a way to get an average Joe Model Railroader the ability to upload a precompiled ‘sketch’ of code onto a Launchpad without Joe ever needing to use Code Composer Studio?”
Well, after a bit of research and trial/error, I present to the public….
Basically, the LP4MRRFlasher is a simple Java based application that leverages TI’s MSP430Flasher command line tool and the USB drivers for the Launchpad to allow a user to ‘Flash’, or upload, precompiled code onto the Launchpad board without needing to download, install and use Code Composer Studio. This tool, when finished, will address the needs of the hobbyist who would like to purchase and use Launchpads on their layouts but don’t want to fight the computer and learn how to troubleshoot/build/compile C based programs.
The LP4MRRFlasher tool is still in Alpha stages and needs some serious polish, but the concept is sound and it does work. I’ll need a bit of time to help shake down error handling a bit, but I anticipate I will be releasing the code to the general public soon.
There’s not much in the way of requirements to run the tool. It’s Java based, so obviously you will need to have Java installed on your computer. Any version of java will do, the newest is probably the best for other general security reasons. The MSP430Flasher tool and USB drivers will come packaged in the LP4MRRFlasher download, so those are not a concern.
Using the tool is relatively easy as well. Once installed, all the user needs to do is Launch the tool, use the Browse button to select a TI-TXT or Intel-HEX formatted file, click the Upload Button, wait a few seconds and it’s done.
What It Isn’t
The LP4MRRFlasher tool is not a compiler. It’s not a Debugger. It’s not a CMRI portal to JMRI. It’s not designed to take raw C and compile it into bytecode. It’s sole purpose in life is to take a precompiled file containing bytecode (obtained from The Launchpad For Model Railroading Blog, TheRustySpike, Hoffy’s World, or other site) and upload it onto a Launchpad.
Here’s a picture of what a successful upload looks like in the LP4MRRFlasher tool.
Well, it’s late here and that’s all I’ve got to report on this right now. More soon!
UPDATE: Find the most recent release here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/lp4mrr/files/Apps/LP4MRR/