Frequently asked questions

Q: What is LaunchPad?

A: We’re glad you asked! LaunchPads are microcontroller development kits from Texas Instruments. They come in a variety of flavors to address your various project needs. All LaunchPad kits include everything you need to begin developing applications in minutes and range from $9.99 to $29.99. That's right - Blink LEDs and spin motors, all for less than $30.

Click on the LaunchPads tab to learn about our various offerings.

Q: Wait, wait! What’s a microcontroller?

A: Good question. Microcontrollers are little chips that enable intelligence in everyday objects. These tiny computers can be integrated into anything and can enable inexpensive, anytime, anywhere computing! From your electric toothbrush to your vehicle’s key fob, a microcontroller is the ‘brain’ programmed by code. A microcontroller is also referred to as an MCU or uC.

But that’s not all. Microcontrollers enable new inventions every day. They can be the building blocks of your next big idea. Connect them with wireless modules, lights, motors, and more to create new or better solutions for today’s problems.

Texas Instruments has a range of 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs, each with a unique LaunchPad™ Development Kit to help users evaluate the various functionalities of that device. You can learn more about TI’s portfolio of low power and high performance MCUs, with wired and wireless connectivity options here.



Q: What is a BoosterPack?

A:BoosterPacks are available from Texas Instruments, from third parties, and from the community. They include functions such as capacitive touch, wireless communication, sensor readings, LED lighting control, and more. BoosterPacks are available in 20- and 40-pin variants, and multiple BoosterPacks can plug into your LaunchPad to enhance the functionality of your design. Feeling adventurous? Learn how to build, market and sell your own!

Q: What is Energia?

A: Energia is more than a Soviet-era rocket! Energia is an open-source electronics prototyping platform started by Robert Wessels based on the Wiring framework. Energia is built by the community and includes an integrated development environment (IDE) based on Processing that allows users to get started easily. LaunchPad and Energia together enable interactive objects to control lights, motors and other outputs. Let Energia take your projects to new heights with its minimal learning curve and simple functions.

Check out www.energia.nu to learn more.

Q: What other software tools are available?

A: CCS Cloud is TI's web-based IDE that enables developers to get up and running quickly without the need for a lengthy install process. It allows you to create, edit, build, and run CCS and Energia projects on your LaunchPad. CCS Cloud is an efficient way to get started on your LaunchPad. However, just like Energia, some advanced debugging features are not supported.

For more information, see TI Cloud Tools.

Enter CCS, TI's Eclipse-based IDE on the desktop. It has powerful features such as true debugging for pausing your code, reading register values, and more. Energia and CCS Cloud projects can be imported into CCS to gain access to its additional features, so transitioning is easy. CCS is an extremely powerful development environment that can help developers extract the most features and functionality out of the microcontroller.

Learn more at Code Composer Studio (CCS).

Q: What is E2E? What is 43oh.com?

A: Multiple resources exist to answer all your user questions about LaunchPad and TI microcontrollers. If you can’t find an answer in our technical documents, check out e2e.ti.com and www.43oh.com. The TI E2E™ Community is short for engineer-to-engineer, solving problems related to any of TI’s products in our expansive portfolio. 43oh is an active and friendly third-party forum where community members share ideas, learnings, tricks, hacks, deals, experiences and more — TI or otherwise.

No matter where you go, learn from cool projects or even answer others questions in the spirit of sharing knowledge and expertise! The community is the driving force behind LaunchPad and the ideas it enables.

Q: What is the ‘ecosystem’?

A: You may hear us refer to something called the “LaunchPad Ecosystem.” The ecosystem is all the components that enable developers and innovators to create differentiated projects and solutions. The ecosystem refers to the hardware, software and community components that help LaunchPad reach its full potential in your hands.

Q: What is the Maker Movement?

A: Makers are individuals who like to learn and create new things for the sake of doing it themselves! Makers create new inventions and products that do something cool. Anyone can make - from children to students to professional engineers. It is our goal at TI to enable Makers with the technology they need to create ‘the next big thing.’

LaunchPad is perfect for Makers for a couple reasons. Affordable and high-quality hardware, supported by easy-access and open software, is very important to any Maker project. Starting at $9.99, LaunchPads set the bar for some of the lowest price points to begin adding intelligence to your designs.

Q: Man, I thought TI made calculators! Do I have to be an electrical engineer in order to use TI silicon?

A: Anyone can make! LaunchPad and Energia enable anyone interested in technology and microcontroller projects to get started right away. Just purchase your board, download Energia, and watch our videos and tutorials on how to get up and running.

Is the LaunchPad Ecosystem a good solution for educators?

A: It sure is! The LaunchPad Ecosystem is affordable and easy-to-use, making it an ideal solution for enabling a classroom, lab or workshop.

Q: Cool, I’m in! What’s next?

A: Explore our site! Learn about flavors of LaunchPads and purchase your own. Watch overviews and trainings. View and buy available BoosterPacks, or learn how make your own. Learn from the community, or even contribute your own newfound knowledge.