The Rusty Spike

A Railroad Fan's Website

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Chasing Lights (74HC595 Register + TI Launchpad)

Okay ladies and gents, here’s a Chasing Light project using a single Shift Register (74HC595) and a TI Launchpad. (I’m currently following a line of research using the Shift Registers, but there is an easier way to do this with just a Launchpad alone.) It can be easily adapted for many uses. Examples include, but not limited to:

  • Theatre Signs
  • Airport Landing Strip
  • Eat At Dave’s Signs

This particular Launchpad project uses an external device called a Shift Register. Simply put, it’s a device that remembers the 1 or 0 you just put into. If you put another 1 or 0 into it, it shifts all the existing saved 1’s and 0’s over one slot and adds your newest value in. It can hold 8 values, hence the term 8-bits.

Here’s what it looks like when its all put together on a breadboard:

Chasing Lights v1.0 from claymore1977 on Vimeo.

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In Lieu of a Breadboard: PCB LED Test Harness

PCB LED Test BoardHere is a project idea for some of you. If you are anything like me and you are experimenting with an Arduino or TI Launchpad for the purposes of your model railroad, then you likely find yourself adding and removing LEDs and associated resistors to/from breadboards over and over again. So it dawned on me: Why not solder some LEDs and appropriate resistors for a 3.3V source onto a spare PCB project board and slap some headers on there? Well, since I was waiting for some parts for other MSP430 projects, I did just that!

 

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Uploading a CSS Project to a TI Launchpad Board

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  1. Import a project into CCS.
  2. Select the root of the project. Screen should look similar to: CSS_WITH_IMPORTED_PROJECT
  3. Connect a TI Launchpad to your computer via USB.
  4. On the ‘Run’ Menu, select ‘Debug’. (note: Hitting F11 on the keyboard performs the same function)
    Run_Menu_Debug
  5. You may see a pop up window talking about ‘Low Power Modes’. It is okay to check ‘Do Not Display This Again’ and then ‘Proceed’.
  6. CCS will now shift over to the ‘Debug Perspective’ and should look like this:Debug_screen
  7. At this point, your code has been uploaded onto the Launchpad and code execution has commenced, but has been paused on the first line of the ‘main’ method. Press F8 to unpause.
  8. Find the red square in the ‘Debug’ tab of the ‘Debug Perspective’ and click it. (It should be on the upper left of the CSS window.) This stops the debugger and releases the Launchpad board to operate without the need of the computer.StopDebugger
  9. Since your code has been uploaded, you can unplug your Launchpad from your computer and use it wherever you plan to use it.

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Importing a Project into CCS

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  1. Download a project. Here’s one in a ZIP file that you can right-click and download: PoliceLightbar-Rev3.1.zip
  2. Unzip the downloaded file in your Code Composer Studio’s workspace.
  3. Launch Code Composer Studio.
  4. There are many ways to import a project. Here is the way I do it: On the File Menu, select ‘Import…’
    ImportMenu
  5. On the Import Screen unroll the ‘Code Composer Studio’ group and select ‘Existing CCS Eclipse Projects’. Click Next.
    ImportScreen
  6. Click the ‘Browse’ Button. Find your way to CCS’s workspace and select the project’s folder.
    ImportScreen2
  7. Properly selected project should result in a import screen that looks similar to:
    ImportScreen3
  8. Click ‘Finish’.
  9. The resultant CCS screen should now look similar to: CSS_WITH_IMPORTED_PROJECT
  10. Congrats! You’ve imported a project into CCS!

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Getting Code Composer Studio

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Code Composer Studio(CCS) is the Interactive Development Environment(IDE) you will need for creating and/or uploading software onto your TI board. While there are a few choices when it comes to IDEs, CCS is the ‘standardized’ IDE for the Launchpad For Model Railroaders (LP4MRR) initiative.

CCS can be obtained here:

http://processors.wiki.ti.com/index.php/Download_CCS#Code_Composer_Studio_Version_5_Downloads

You will likely have to fill out a form explaining why you are worthy of downloading TI’s software. Don’t sweat it. Just fill out the info and make sure you don’t use CCS for commercial purposes (without paying TI their due, anyways).

Installing is a snap on windows and is just the same as installing nearly any other piece of software.