Texas Instruments provided much of the microcircuits with which I designed aerospace controls and test equipment at Bendix (and later Allied Signal) for about 12 years. TI has kept on the edge of makerspace and has multiple evaluation kits available, usually for $10, free shipping, direct from TI — click click, you have new mail in about 5 days.
The kits I am working with use the MSP-430 series microcircuits, and come complete with USB cable, instruction book, and sometimes spare microcontroller chips. Just add PC and your IDE (Energia, Arduino, Eclipse, or whatever). Not bad for $10 and 1 week delivery. Of course TI is experienced supplying engineering professionals, and so their customer service is excellent.
From the TI website at http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/microcontrollers_16-bit_32-bit/msp/getting-started.page:
Learn more about the Texas Instruments’ MSP Microcontrollers.
Both Arduino and LaunchPad use the Wiring framework (About Wiring). Software written with Energia is in the same pigeon C as used with Arduino. It appears to me that mostly anything written for the Arduino can also be made to work for the LaunchPad — except the LaunchPad costs less and comes with not one but three chips with slightly varied capabilities. TI also has their own development environment which is more sophisticated than the wired environment.
For a leg up on getting any of these very affordable kits, look at Texas Instruments pages, starting here: http://www.ti.com/ww/en/launchpad/launchpad.html.
|TI_Knight_Rider_Digital_Output_Test||Author: John D Nash||Date: 29 JUN 2014||Sketch||ZIP||Description: Verifies operation of the digital output ports P1 & P2 with a pattern similar to the light bar on Kit in Knight Rider.|
|TI_Port_2_through_13_Digital_Input_Test||Author: John D Nash||Date: 22 Jun 2014||Sketch||ZIP||Description: Verifies operation of the digital input pins number 2 through 13 with serial output.|
|TI_Port_2_through_7_Digital_Input_Test||Author: John D Nash||Date: 19 May 2012||Sketch||ZIP||Description: Verifies operation of the digital input pins number 2 through 7 with output on pins 8 through 13.|
|TI_Port_8_through_13_Digital_Input_Test||Author: John D Nash||Date: 19 May 2012||Sketch||ZIP||Description: Verifies operation of the digital input pins number 8 through 13 with output on pins 2 through 7.|
Our main interest at this time is in control systems, such as timekeeping, building security, and building heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) control. We expect to provide software downloads / source code and possibly schematics related to these objectives.