TI’s new web site appeals to the penny pincher in us


We’ve got to admit, we’re pretty much cheapskates when it comes to buying electronic bits online. Whether its microcontrollers or PCBs, we hate to part with money. So, we were pretty excited to hear that Texas Instruments is dishing out deals two weeks at a time to hackers, makers, and the like.

Several of you wrote in to tip us off to TI’s new site: TI Deals. Basically, they are deeply discounting various products, changing the lineup every two weeks. Now, we were expecting something like 20%-25% off certain items, but so far the TI Deals look pretty sweet. Right now, they are offering the Chronos watch kit for 50% off – which is a pretty nice discount. We’re definitely interested to see what sorts of other things will go on the chopping block in the future.

Thinking of picking up a Chronos watch? Let us know what sort of project you have planned.

If you are on the fence and need a little inspiration, check out these Chronos-based projects we have featured in the past:

Printable gripping rover is wristwatch controlled

Google two-factor authentication in a wristwatch

Wireless Sniffing and Jamming of Chronos and iclicker

Texas Instruments watch claims it’s a computer mouse


  1. Addidis says:

    Wireless dorm access

  2. Aaaaarrrg says:

    As of right now, their website now says “Error establishing a database connection” any time you try to get a coupon to actually buy one of these…

  3. L1nk3D says:

    Seems like the site is down…

  4. I passed on the Chronos when it came out because I couldn’t really think of any interesting projects that would take advantage of it. Price wasn’t the problem. But if you’ve got a good project idea or just want a big wristwatch, this is a good deal.

  5. Aaaaarrrg says:

    seems that the discount codes are working again now

  6. Nathan says:

    I’ve had 2 Chronos watches now. Both of them have started acting screwy within a month of using them. Certain segments of display would go out, or the whole display will go blank, or the watch will just reset (to “CC430″ or whatever it displays when you first get it before setting the time). It only happens during or soon after I run with it, so I guess the seal lets sweat into the circuit were it shorts some things out. I’ll open the case after it does this and let it air out in a dry place and it’ll be good until the next time I wear it on a run. : (

    • Otacon2k says:

      If it’s really sweat in/on the circuit, you should better clean it than just letting it dry. Salts from your sweat won’t evaporate but settle on the board. Even some condensation water (wonder if that’s the right word) could get them into solution back again causing short circuits.

    • fred says:

      From the web site:

      “Watch is 30m waterproof. See FAQ section in User Guide for details.”

      I would hope sweat isn’t the problem. Maybe it can’t take the vibrations?

      • Nathan says:

        Well, in addition to the other symptoms I listed, occasionally water condenses on the inside of the lens after a run. I know it’s *supposed* to be water resistant, but neither of mine (bought about 6 months apart) were resistant to my sweat.

      • Otacon2k says:

        Do you have to open the watch for programming? Maybe you missed some seal on reassembly?

      • Nathan says:

        @Otacon2k and @Haraldb:

        The 2nd watch failed before I had even opened it. There is a seal, and there’s a channel where it is supposed to go, and the rubber seal has stayed in that channel. I suppose it is also possible that the failure could be from the seals around the buttons, but I haven’t examined those.

        I’m sure the electronics of this watch are sound, but the case itself hasn’t held up to what I’d expect of a water-resistant watch. Unfortunately, that makes this watch unusable for the projects I’m working on.

      • Otacon2k says:

        Well, I just had a look at the manual. Here’s what it says:
        “Is my eZ430-Chronos waterproof?
        Yes, it is 30-m waterproof. This indicates that it resists splashes and rain. However, it cannot be used while taking a shower, swimming, diving, surfing, snorkeling or any other water sports. Set the watch before exposing it to excessive water. Pressing the buttons in water or heavy rainstorms may cause water to enter the watch.”

        So 30-m waterproof means it’s not really waterproof. I wasn’t aware of this misleading nomenclature, but I can imagine there’s some kind of norm about wristwatch-waterproofness that explains this bulls**t.
        This world is sometimes really silly. (Btw: here in Germany it would certainly be called “spritzwassergeschützt” (which means something like “protected from spilling/splashing water”). Which is at least a tad less misleading.)

  7. philleb says:

    If you are asking yourself whats the difference between eZ430-Chronos-433 eZ430 Chronos-868 eZ430-Chronos-915 I can tell you.
    433 is the frequence 433 mhz(wich is allowed worldwide)
    915 mhz is only Europe + India and 915 mhz is only for N. & S. America allowed. So please make care about this because you could get sucked if you order it and on the border they dont give you the acess to you device cause wrong frequence.

  8. cdilla says:

    These deals really are very good. 50% off is good on it’s own, but free international shipping makes it even better.
    I have one on the way.

  9. Haraldb says:

    Yeah i just bought one early today not sure what i’m gonna use it for yet.

    yeah there is a lot of watches out there that are only waterprof til you open them up..

  10. David says:

    have been waffling on getting one, mostly because I like weird watches.. but partially cause i’m starting to mess with some electronics and programming of them.

    25 bucks is low enough for a trigger pull

  11. lamer says:

    they have had this deal several times before.
    and i have always missed it…

    been waiting for the longest time.
    “Ordered” haha let the hacking begin..
    once it gets here..

  12. Does anyone have a direct link to a “buy” page? The TiDeals.com site is down and navigating Ti’s website is giving me a headache! I want one of the 433MHz watches… and have an application already. Would these be compatible with the 434Mhz (I know off by 1Mhz but maybe it can be tweaked) http://www.sparkfun.com/products/10534 because they are cheap!

  13. chango says:

    C’mon $50 Pandaboard… Daddy needs a new ARM cluster

  14. h3po says:

    let’s see if these can communicate with standard rfm12 modules…
    then i’ll know what to do with it. remote starting the coffee machine, controlling lights, outlets and such.

  15. Greg says:

    The Chronos is a pretty cool toy. If anyone is interested, there’s another way to get it 50% off… AVNet is offering their “Texas Instruments Speedway Design Workshop“. The seminar is $25 but you get to leave with a new Chronos after a lab instruction. It includes lunch too.

  16. Randall says:

    Sweet! I just got one

  17. Richard says:

    That was quick, website says the deal is sold out, if you can get past the error page…

  18. Michael says:

    It seems the run on that deal was pretty good. Ich just entered the captcha and got “Sorry, this deal is sold out!”.

    I hope they bring it back!

  19. Decker says:

    I encountered the “Error establishing a database connection” error a few times before it finally worked. Once i filled out the captcha to get my coupon code, it said the deal was sold out. Hopefully it’ll start working again.

  20. Seth says:

    It seems they are sold out :-(

  21. Paul says:

    Deal sold out. I think you might have flooded their server with your post.

  22. Dean M. says:

    No luck, they’ve already “Run out of deals”

  23. Kain says:

    They are “sold out” of coupons…

  24. Elias says:

    Yup, sold out it seems. Bummer…

  25. Italo says:

    Darn… Lost it… Does anyone know if there’s any chance there will be some more coupons? I’m really into buying one of these…

  26. sheda says:

    Sold Out… yarggg!!! Soooooo disapointed….. :'(

  27. MrX says:

    Ahhhhh.. sh*t! sold out :(

  28. Arren says:

    Just got one at http://tideals.com/

    • Italo says:

      Sweet! Apparently the lack of coupons was an error with the database!

      Just got one also.

      It’s also worth mentioning that the shipping to Brasil (worldwide, maybe) is included in the price.

  29. Tordre says:

    I just ordered one at that price, Deals on.

    I also laughed at the customs questions they ask, are you using this for biological weapons development.

  30. Luc says:

    Yay, a new toy to play with! Thanks for the hot tip.

  31. cmholm says:

    Post-deal, as a reminder to anyone thinking of dropping the full $50: Recompiling the complete Chronos code requires either TI’s Code Composer Studio Platinum (recently reduced to a $445 download) or OpenChronos and the mspgcc4 toolchain.

    TI Chronos tool cost moaning: http://blog.erbbysam.com/?p=28
    OpenChronos: https://github.com/poelzi/OpenChronos
    mspgcc4: http://mspgcc4.sourceforge.net/

  32. Craig says:

    I think in this particular case the extreme discount might be a move to clear stock in anticipation of the metawatch launching in a few days.

  33. Troll_Dragon says:

    Also to connect to anything wireless other than the computer USB dongle, will require another $50 add-on.


    And if you want to drive your EvalBot around with the watch you’ll need a $100 add-on for the Evalbot


    Hope these pieces go on sale as well. :)

  34. Sold out for some of you? Worked perfectly for me at like 7:00pm Eastern…

  35. Willy says:


    An unexpected error has occurred. The error message has been recorded for the system administrator. We apologize for the inconvenience.

    My CC already shows the $24.50 from “TEXAS INSTRUMENTS FUL”

  36. cmholm says:

    I guess the anticipation is over, as I see both a digital and analog/digital Metawatch in the TI store, $200/ea.

  37. Drake says:

    Got mine … gonna make FIRST fun this summer!

  38. Okian Warrior says:

    I’m hoping that these watches will make good biometric monitors.

    For example, wearing the watch 24/7 with a temperature sensor (possibly the built-in one) should allow someone to determine their Phase Response Curve:


    I’ve been wanting to build biometric sensors for long-term data acquisition, but have been dreading the storage/power/size/wearable-convenience factors. This looks like it would solve most of those issues, leaving only the sensor design.

    A physician friend was interested to know if retinal degradation from retinitis pigmentosa correlates with amount of light entering the eye.

    Women who are trying to get pregnant might use these to monitor their body temperature.

    You can get frequency-specific light sensors pretty cheap nowadays. I wonder if a sensor similar to a pulse oximeter could be built to detect other things in the blood.

    Lots of possibilities.

    • Ren says:

      Your post reminds me of something I read on Usenet (a long time ago) about guys that tweaked the variable capacitor in their digital watches to push or pull the crystal frequency closer to WWV accuracy. One guy wore his watch to bed, he believed his body temp would stabilize the crystals temperature, therefore frequency.

  39. KillerBug says:

    Just got mine…now I just need to get 4 good ducted fans…

  40. Paul McGuinness says:

    Shipping to UK also free – Nice :o)

  41. Matt says:

    Ordered mine too, nfi what I will do with it (Had to get the 433Mhz one, so no bike sensors etc) but I am sure I will find something. Shipping to Oz was free as well :-)

  42. Michael says:

    Yay! It seems they’ve made a non-individualized coupon so that everyone can order. Thanks TI!

    The coupon code is ChronosTIDeals and it can be used on all three models: https://estore.ti.com/Search.aspx?k=chronos

  43. jim says:

    $25 to control my TV like I’m using a computer from the Minority Report?

    Deal. It’s also got nice future-retro styling.

  44. Diego says:

    The deal is still working, now with the code “ChronosTIDeals”.
    Shipping to Argentina was even free! Great!

  45. tf says:

    entered : ChronosTIDeals

    sited returned :

    You are no longer allowed to use this coupon.

  46. Isotope says:

    Is it me, or does it seem like TI is running their webserver in someone’s living room? Every time they push out a campaign like this their site goes down. What’s the deal, TI?

    • Drake says:

      Or it could be a flood of people trying to order everything at the same time … Gotta make sure you still have stock .. gotta make sure payments post … gotta make sure orders don’t get submitted twice … seems like a lot of non-concurrency to me

      • Isotope says:

        Well…yeah, exactly. If you and I can forsee it, why didn’t they allocate more to their servers? Plenty of other sites launch marketing campaigns that generate lots of traffic and their sites don’t throw errors every time. Just sayin.

  47. William says:

    The promotion code doesn’t work for me anymore. I even called and tried to apply the coupon and it just couldn’t be done…:(

  48. BW says:

    Anyone else getting “You are no longer allowed to use this coupon.” ?

  49. Kildahl says:

    Can I order without having a company?

  50. Lars says:

    Anyone know if the deal is still running? I keep getting the message: you are no longer allowed to use this coupon. I’m hoping it’s just the site being wonky.

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