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MSP-FET Problems

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Texas Instruments has come out with a new debugger tool called the MSP-FET. Unfortunately, there are some issues with it. For example it only works with CCS version 7 or higher, i.e. it will not work with earlier versions of CCS. When I tried using it with CCS version 6. It would give an error: "MSP-FET 430UIF Could not set device Vcc". This error went away with when I installed CCS version 7.2. However, I could still not connect to a target board.

I first recieved the new MSP-FET in Aug 2017, and plugged into mature boards that have been working for years with the older MSP-FET430UIF tools. The green power LED would light up, and the red mode LED would flash, but it would not connect to the target boards. I was using the Spy-Bi-Wire with chips MSP430G2231, and MSP430F2013 which didn't work. I had another board which used the MSP430G2295, and it worked fine.

I contacted TI support, and they very quickly got back and told me that the new FETs were sensitive to the length of the debug lines. My debug lines were less than an inch long, and my boards are a mature product that I have no intention of changing, just because they've changed their FET. I had the idea to create my own 14 pin ribbon cable. I created several ribbon cables, and tried them out with my boards. See the picture below.

Their standard cable is 8 inches, and it doesn't work. I found that a 5.75 inch cable didn't work. However 3.75 inches and shorter worked for my boards.

I personally think this is a bad policy for TI to pursue. This issue wasted several days of my time. The new FET should work in all legacy systems. They should at least ship the MSP-FET with 2 different cable lengths, or give you a clear warning when you open the box, that it may not work with the provided cable length. Idealy they would allow you to change the speed of the interface to allow longer ribbon cable lengths.

Anyhow, I posted this to help others out there who no doubt will have the same problem.

MSP-FET

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