Preorder TI’s ARM Cortex-M4 Launchpad for $5 delivered

Texas Instruments just open preorders for the new Stellaris LaunchPad. The boards won’t ship until the end of September, but if you don’t mind the wait you can get one for $4.99 including delivery (we’d wager non-U.S. addresses have to pay for delivery, but leave a comment if you know for sure¬†several readers have reported that international shipping is free).

We routinely pay more in shipping for parts orders so we already jumped at the opportunity and put in our own order. Earlier in the month we heard the first murmurs about the device. We’re glad to see they hit the $4.99 target price, but the TI website mentions that this is a promotional price that will be available for a limited time only. The board boasts an ARM Cortex-M4 processor, the Stellaris¬†LM4F120H5QR. It includes 256 KB of flash memory, 32 KB of SRAM, and more peripherals than you can shake a stick at. To get you up and running quickly they’ve included two user buttons and an RGB LED. As with the 16-bit Launchpad, the board acts as its own programmer. It has a microUSB jack, but they’ve included a micro B to USB A cable in the kit to make sure you don’t need to also put in a cable order.

We’ll give a follow-up post once we finally get our hands on the board. We hope this will be easy to get working with a Linux box!

[Thanks Chris]

189 thoughts on “Preorder TI’s ARM Cortex-M4 Launchpad for $5 delivered

    1. Free shipping to Brazil too. (ordered two of those)

      And I think they will pay customs again, (see below my other post) as this week I received the other boards with paid customs, crazy, just crazy! :-o

  1. When I ordered the $4.99 MSP430 LaunchPad, I didn’t have to pay for delivery. I live in Romania. I expect it to the same with this board.

  2. Ordered the *limit* of two boards to be sent to Austria and was billed only the $9.98 (no extra fro shipping). Seems to be *free shipping* worldwide. Gotta love it!

    1. I’m also wondering about this. The problem is two-fold. We need to be able to use the programmer, and we will need linker/startup files that will work with the hardware.

      1. linker script and startup stuff shouldn’t be much different from any other ARM micro.. I would worry about being able to actually load code onto this thing.

        /me is pissed my j-link is toast

      2. Two ordered .jp for $9.98 I had rolling around in the bottom of my paypal account.. I think it’s safe to assume that shipping is included worldwide.

  3. Does anyone know where you can get little plugs (with wires coming off them) that fit on those header pins so I can easily attach peripherals to the thing?

    1. >Available I/O brought out to
      >headers on a 0.1″ grid

      So the female jumper wires that you can get from china on ebay would be fine for wiring stuff up with flying leads..

      1. :/ Okay… well, I guess that means I’m out of the running for the free one too. Since I just ordered 2 of them, I guess I don’t care much.

    1. See page 706

      PWM Mode
      A timer is configured to PWM mode using the following sequence:
      1. Ensure the timer is disabled (the TnEN bit is cleared) before making any changes.
      2. Write the GPTM Configuration (GPTMCFG) register with a value of 0×0000.0004.

    2. The table, I’m guessing, is indicating the LM4F120H5QR does not support any “Motion PWM” outputs.

      However, looks like the the timer module supports 12 PWM output pins.

      See page 59 / section CCP Pins.

      1. Store seems to be working again – I got my order in a couple of minutes ago, after several failures earlier in the day.

  4. Took me 10 minutes of trying before I got into the TI store.

    Have two of these babies ordered up, can’t wait to get them. This is even better than the MSP430 launchpad deal was :-)

    1. This Stellaris board is outclassed by the ST board :

      TI
      80MHz max
      128K flash
      32K RAM
      No external peripherals

      ST
      168MHz max
      1MB flash
      192K RAM
      Audio DAC w/class D amp, MEMS sensors, etc.

      The TI processor / board seem more targeted at industrial control…or so says the documentation. It doesn’t natively support I2S, for instance.

      I still bought two when TI emailed me…can’t go too wrong when the whole board is the price of the MCU itself with no shipping.

    2. ST doesnt recognize the power of “getting them while they are young”. TI ships those cheap dev kits at a loss (even absorbs shipping) in house.

      ST insists on resellers like arrow or element’teen. Thats great if you target companies or established developers, but will not grow your customer base. Students/ hackers/ kids like cheap, dont like being raped by surcharges and expensive shipping.

      1. I agree. And it doesn’t help that ST doesn’t have an in-house toolchain [not last time I checked, anyhow]. They force everyone to use third-party tools. Having options is great, but not having a free, ST-supported toolchain makes it harder to get into developing for the STM32 line.

        Atmel and Microchip have always done a good job there, offering everyone a decent set of free tools. The choice to not use them is always an option, too.

        I hope that TI’s strategy includes catering to that demographic by offering an uncrippled version of CCS. Reducing the barrier to entry with quality free development tools eliminates the cost of development as a valid excuse for not using their ICs. I assume they will at least offer a board-locked version of CCS, so that’s a start.

  5. Ditto questions about the toolchain for the Stellaris. I used one in a contest a couple years ago, and the only thing directly available was a Keil system for $1K+. The contest organizers provided a “free” copy that promptly died after the submission date.

    Hopefully a flood of $5 dev boards will precipitate some open-source solutions.

    1. As far as the toolchain, I suspect you will be able to use Code Composer Studio, an eclipse based IDE that includes Linux support. I think you can get at least some version of this for free from TI.

  6. Tried to order 2 to Ukraine, and got this message:

    “Items in your cart may have been removed based on product availability. Please review your cart before proceeding with checkout.”

    Nothing remained in my cart. Bummer.

    1. Try again – the store was failing earlier today.

      I got that message even when my order succeeded, but it did show that I had the one board I was trying to order. I don’t know if the “removed” boards were really removed, or just a warning that it might have done that, or if it was fixing the three or four unsuccessful attempts…

    2. he. My order failed the first time with an unknown error so tried again and the second time succeded.

      Then after checking my orders I see that was placed twice and have 4 boards pending to ship!

  7. It’s a bit silly that you have to supply a bunch of company information when they know damn well that there’s mostly hobbyists ordering these. Rather than making up info I opted to not order at all. Meh.

      1. They’re clearly aiming it at the hobbyist market, with that price tag of $5. Big corporations don’t care so much about price, they are more concerned about support and long-term availability. After all, if they’re going to pay $7k on the development software, $5 or $100 on the development board don’t make much of a difference.
        But I’m so pissed I can only order two of these. I’d like to stock a couple more and give away another couple to friends.

    1. I put “Consumer electronics – other”, and indicated that I wasn’t an arms dealer or whatever. If their marketing people can’t figure out that my company named “none” isn’t really selling stuff, too bad.

    2. I may be wrong, but I believe they are required to ask those questions to export, almost everytime I buy microcontrollers from the US I have to answer some kind of variation of one of those. The last time I ordered XMEGAS from mouser they had to ask similar questions by email before shipping.

      Kind of silly, I’m pretty sure a super-villain would not say they would be used for global domination…

  8. shipping to Czech Republic is also free. I put in ‘no company’ as the company name and ‘none’ into company url. I wonder if it’ll work…

    1. Because once again TI offers a product than not everyone can order.
      but they do not tell you this!!

      Status: E C C N or Restricted S K U

      1. Nope, I just saw this post and went into TI’s site for checkout. It was a 2-minute thing. I think I just had luck.
        I paid with paypal and already had a TI account btw, don’t know if that matters.

      2. Had the same problem, worked around it by creating a new account. I’m thinking there must be some problem with TI accounts not linked to the shop, or something.

  9. This might be slightly offtopic, but would this be a good board to start learning to work and program micro controllers?

    I have a fairly large coding experience, both professionally and as a hobby, but never did really try to work with anything other that computers and I’m interested in learning. For 5$ shipped this seems to be cheap enough to risk buying it even if I don’t end using it for anything.

    So… opinions? worth it to learn? capable/easy enough for a couple of beginner projects so I can decide whether I like it or not?(any resources on this topic would be appreciated too)

    1. For learning, you’ll get the benefit of learning the very latest chip (at least from TI), but the downside is very new stuff tends to have a lot of rough edges.

      1. I’ll pick one then, It’s cheap and I have a month to figure out what I want to do with it and buy the necessary sensors/LCD/whatever.

        Thx.

  10. Successfully ordered 2 from Latvia/EU – no additional shipping costs (money already got substracted as well).
    I did not realize, I could skip Company name. Well, I put company, where I work in anyway (although they do not do anything remotely in common with electronics).

    1. Its not a steal its Highway Robbery!

      Do you know that our wonderful Customs Department insists on charging 100% Duty on import of Development Tools ?

      Which means, apart from the loss per board, TI is also paying around $40 shipping to India, plus another $10 Customs Duty.

      (posting here to raise awareness, and hopefully embarass http://www.cbec.gov.in/ into changing their policies on tools that can only help improve India’s economic condition.)

      1. I don’t know but I’ve never had to pay customs on any tool that I have ordered. If its a company address they charge what ever they want, to residential addresses there is no problem. TI uses FedEx which gets bulk custom clearance.

  11. For some reason I just bought two! Happy to report no extra cost on shipping to South Africa.

    I used a company name that a friend and I proposed but have not done anything to start it. And its website, well that is my Hackhut page!!

    I have never used a Launch pad so this should be interesting :)

  12. Another 2 on the way to South Africa, hope they don’t ship DHL as they have some strange ideas on customs clearance PROCESSING fees.

    I hope the device can target the LM3S series as well, I can get these cheap locally. Bonus if it can target other ARM devices, I was contemplating buying a Jlink clone.

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