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EZ430-Chronos Workshop

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Version 1. July 2010



This lab will walk developers through realizing a sub-GHz network using the eZ430-Chronos watch empowered with TI’s SimpliciTI wireless protocol. Attendees will need a Chronos watch and will be tasked to configure their watch’s CC430 radio to a specific RF configuration, in order to pair up with another attendee (or to a second watch if a partner is unavailable). Once set, each attendee is tasked to find the other watch and attendee that they have paired themselves with – prizes will be given to those who can configure their watch and find their partner the fastest! Attendees will learn how to use TI’s free SmartRF Studio software for visually configuring their RF settings. Next, with simple modifications, the watch can be quickly repurposed as a Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) meter or a simple range tester. In addition, the eZ430-Chronos over the air update feature will be demonstrated using the watch’s built-in rfBSL.

The eZ430-Chronos workshop is a 2-hour introduction on how to develop with the eZ430-Chronos:

  • Introduction to eZ430-Chronos: CC430, hardware, software 
  • Hands-on experience with the eZ430-Chronos: (dis)-assembling the watch, watch programming & debugging
  • Using the MSP430 CCS tool chain
  • Enabling an RF connection between two watches
  • Using SW tools to configure your RF parameters
  • Learn how to leverage CC430 SW, HW, Tools, and ecosystem in your RF development.

Three lab exercises provide a full hands-on experience in the workshop.

Running The Labs

In order to run the labs, you will need:

  • A Windows XP/Vista/7 PC with two free USB ports
  • Adobe Reader [1]
  • Code Composer Studio v4.2.2 [or later] – Full Version (30-day Trial Version or Licensed).
  • eZ430-Chronos (EZ430 Chronos)


  1. Full version CCS (no code-size limit) that supports MSP430 (MCU or Platinum edition) is required to develop code in this workshop. Detailed info on how to Download latest production DVD image can be found at Download CCS.
    Alternatively, direct link to download the latest production DVD image at:
    This page requires you to sign up for a my.TI account and accept license agreement before download access is enabled
    Notice that while it’s labeled a DVD image, it is indeed a zip package. Once the zip package is downloaded, unpack and execute the to start the CCS installation.
  2. Chronos Software Package: Download & install the latest version at:
  3. SmartRF Studio v7: Download & install the latest version at:
  4. WORKSHOP MATERIAL: ChronosWorkshop CCS Code Project The CCS code project folder contained in should be unpacked to C:\ChronosWorkshop\.
  5. How to properly disassemble & reassemble a Chronos Please review this short video tutorial on easy mechanical assembly & disassembly of the watch for

Note: When installing the software, if possible please use the default install path (e.g. C:\Program Files\Texas Instruments\SW_NAME) for easy navigation during workshop.

Workshop Contents

  1. Introduction to eZ430-Chronos
  2. Lab 1: Enable RF with Chronos-2-Chronos Application
  3. Lab 2: Customize your RF with SmartRF Studio
  4. Lab 3: Turn your Chronos into a simple RF power (RSSI) meter
  5. Chronos & CC430 Ecosystem

The complete workbook is available here: ConnecTIng_people_eZ430_Chronos_Workshop.pdf

The workshop code project is here:

Technical Details

Here are some technical details that fall somewhat outside the boundaries of a typical one day workshop that might be nice to know during development:

Portable Code Composer Projects

FAQ Issues With The Tool Chain

We have seen the following behaviors ...

  • If the FET programmer tool is not being recognized when you press the debug button, make sure you have terminated the current debugging session then
  1. Disconnect the FET
  2. Reconnect the FET

Chances are that the FET will become recognized.

  • DO NOT UNPLUG the USB <> mini-USB cable in Labs 3 - 5 if the CCS terminal window is open. This will cause a CCS crash.
  • If CCS experiences a crash and then does not allow you to re-open that workspace
  1. Open the Windows Task Manager
  2. End the process javaw.exe
  3. Click 'Cancel' on the workspace selection window
  4. Re-open CCS

If you are still unable to open a terminal window, then either

  1. Open a workspace in a new folder and re-import the projects ...OR...
  2. Re-start your PC.
  • If opening the CCS terminal window freezes CCS, open another workspace and re-import the project. Note we have only seen this on Lenovo laptops.
  1. Download and Run the program
  2. HALT or TERMINATE the project
  3. Open and make a connection the terminal window
  4. RUN the code and see the streaming temp & vcc data.
  • If you open the terminal window and you don't see the COM port as an available option
  1. Disconnect the COM port in the terminal window
  2. Close the terminal window
  3. Disconnect the USB <> mini-USB cable
  4. Connect the USB <> mini-USB cable
  5. Check that the MSP-EXP430F5438 Experimenter Board has enumarated as a COM port and verify the COMxx value
  6. Open the CCS terminal window

... we also wish that there was a Refresh button on the terminal window eclipse plug-in.

In general, if things are consistently failing, close all the active programs, unplug everything, then plug everything back in and restart the software.

Lost USB JTAG connection when using terminal

When using the terminal application some customers have reported that the JTAG connection is lost. Most likely this is caused by incorrectly setting the COM port to the one used by the FET. Recreate the terminal connection with the correct COM port and the problem should be corrected.

Hardware to be Provided by the Instructor

As an instructor, you also need to have a Chronos programmed to constantly transmit at carrier frequency of 888MHz. The code for the transmitter can be found here. Additionally, you can also use the SA430 Spectrum Analyzer to further demonstrate the RF functionalities. Here are some recommended places to order these items: