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New 84+CE/83PCE and Nspire USB capabilities...

Started by Lionel Debroux, February 22, 2016, 07:46:11 am

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Lionel Debroux

February 22, 2016, 07:46:11 am Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 09:49:54 am by DJ Omnimaga
We'd like CW people to be informed of a set of exciting recent developments for TI's current higher-end models, and what they could mean for us hobbyists as well as educational users :)

A quick recap of recent events:
  • a month ago, TI released OS 5.1.5 for the 84+CE and 83PCE. This version features several bugfixes, but more to the point of this article,  new TI-Basic USB I/O commands (Get, GetStr, Send), as well as the ability to receive input from an USB HID keyboard out of the box, provided one has the appropriate USB mini-A male <-> USB A female (or equivalent) cable.
    Pictures of the keyboard mappings were recently uploaded to ticalc.org, and people can contribute to them :)
  • more recently, TI released OS 4.2 for the Nspire CX series. Besides the announced features (new graphing capabilities, etc.) and the unannounced anti-features (downgrade protection, blocking Ndless 4.0 but that was quickly fixed by Ndless 4.2, etc.), this OS version also brings the same new TI-Basic USB I/O commands, as well as a new set of APIs for Nspire Lua, the "Asynchronous Serial Interface". The commands are described in their respective programming manuals, with examples, e.g.
Send "SET GREEN 1 ON"
Get "READ GREEN 1", green1
Wait 0.5
Send "SET GREEN 1 OFF"


Looks like TI wants to provide the same kind of serial I/O compatibility on the USB-only models as they did on the models with legacy I/O, which is a good thing for increasing the versatility of their calculators, and probably for selling more of them !

Using the new Nspire Lua ASI APIs, Jim Bauwens, Adriweb and critor tried to determine which cheap USB devices exposing a serial interface might be supported. The Nspire computer software detected the devices which the computer detected as serial communication ports, but the real Nspire calculators didn't detect most of them. Out of the box, the Arduino boards and a TI Stellaris board were not detected by the calculators. However, a TI Launchpad MSP432 board with USB IDs 0451:bef3 was detected. It exposes a standard USB Communications Device Class (CDC) interface, and Jim had his Arduino Leonardo board (which exposes that same interface) detected after changing the USB IDs - so there's some filtering.
You can check your own boards using the testing code uploaded to ticalc.org as well, and report on your results ;)

TI probably has good things in store (well, they added such features to their OS for some reason, we should assume :P), we can just hope that they won't be too expensive for end users.


For more details and pictures, see:
Member of the TI-Chess Team.
Co-maintainer of GCC4TI (GCC4TI online documentation), TIEmu and TILP.
Co-admin of TI-Planet.

Streetwalrus

That's great. A programmable interface is definitely a plus.

DJ Omnimaga

Wow, I totally missed this post for some reasons. I don't know why. ANyway this is good news, and the USB interface thing is intriguing. I am worried about the price, though, because TI has the tendency of pricing out their mainstream audience.


(By the way, the reason why I edited your post is because I was trying to investigate on the SMF smiley bug (it turns out that smileys don't work if they are located after a CODE tag). I didn't change anything)

Lionel Debroux

Since my post, TI announced the "TI-Innovator" at the T^3 conference:
https://education.ti.com/go/innovator
Adriweb's report: https://tiplanet.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=18010

The Launchpad boards are 10-20 USD, so even with a bit of packaging, the TI-Innovator should be cheap. The BeagleBone Black, based on a TI microcontroller featuring a Cortex-A8, is far more powerful than the Launchpads based on Cortex-M4F processors and low amounts of RAM and Flash, and it started at 45 USD, less than 55 USD with plastic case + external power outlet. Newer hardware revisions of the "BBB" have more built-in Flash and are therefore a bit more expensive.

No problem editing my post, you're staff anyway ;)
Member of the TI-Chess Team.
Co-maintainer of GCC4TI (GCC4TI online documentation), TIEmu and TILP.
Co-admin of TI-Planet.

Adriweb

The TI-Innovator is said to cost around $60-$70.
Co-founder & co-administrator of TI-Planet and Inspired-Lua

Lionel Debroux

February 28, 2016, 04:25:56 pm #5 Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 04:28:31 pm by Lionel Debroux
What ? That's outrageously expensive :(
Why buy a TI-Innovator when you can buy a cheaper BBB with much higher raw power and more connectivity, seriously ?
Member of the TI-Chess Team.
Co-maintainer of GCC4TI (GCC4TI online documentation), TIEmu and TILP.
Co-admin of TI-Planet.

Dudeman313

Does this qualify as a signature? 
The answer is "Sure."


DJ Omnimaga

Honestly the price isn't that bad. Still expensive, but still much better than what the TI-Nspire Navigator and the TI-Presenter costs (over $200 each). Might need to review the price down a bit, though, or charge less for the calculators, because not many parents and students will be able to afford it.

Adriweb

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on February 28, 2016, 05:58:12 pmMight need to review the price down a bit, though, or charge less for the calculators, because not many parents and students will be able to afford it.

Well, schools/classrooms are the targets, not individuals (which, as Lionel said, can go buy the cheaper things themselves with whatever sensors and components they want, and don't need the actual protection cover/box stuff etc.)

But yeah, it would have been nice if it was cheaper... and I know many people at TI want it to be cheaper too... but the cost decision isn't on their hands, I suppose.
Co-founder & co-administrator of TI-Planet and Inspired-Lua

DJ Omnimaga

It's kinda a shame that they try to keep those platforms exclusively in use in school, though, and are pricing out everyone who wants to bring them home. Back in the days, many people bought their own calculator and used it at home. Nowadays many people borrow school calculators and they lose it when summer vacations arrive.

Dudeman313

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on February 29, 2016, 07:37:00 am
It's kinda a shame that they try to keep those platforms exclusively in use in school, though, and are pricing out everyone who wants to bring them home. Back in the days, many people bought their own calculator and used it at home. Nowadays many people borrow school calculators and they lose it when summer vacations arrive.

I don't know about the "back in the day" part, but in my Algebra 1 class, only 6 people out of 18 have their own calculators-that makes 1 TI-84+ CSE, 3 CEs, 1 Monochrome TI-Nspire w/ 84+ keypad, and a TI-84+ SE. Everyone else borrows a calculator from the class set of 84+ s. I think TI is just steering toward this; like selling more Teacher Packs and creating those charging docks for CEs and making calculators with Exam Mode.
Does this qualify as a signature? 
The answer is "Sure."


micken

March 03, 2016, 11:11:00 pm #11 Last Edit: March 03, 2016, 11:31:12 pm by micken
I can't get that Lua script to work , it complains that I don't have the asi module. I have upgraded to 4.2 , is there anything else I need to do?

OK :)

I just updated the pc software , and when I saved over the script it stopped complaining.

I also just tried to connect my MSP430 LP to my CX and tried the Send Get commands. No effect (not surpriced)

DJ Omnimaga

Hi micken and welcome to CodeWalrus. :) Hopefully the community might eventually be able to do things on the Nspire with the MSP430 LP and others or vice versa. There gotta be a way.

micken

Quote from: DJ Omnimaga on March 04, 2016, 07:54:47 am
Hi micken and welcome to CodeWalrus. :) Hopefully the community might eventually be able to do things on the Nspire with the MSP430 LP and others or vice versa. There gotta be a way.

Thank you for the welcome!  I have been investigating a bit more now and I will look in the office next week for a MSP with exact match (vid/pid).

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