Answers to common questions about the Energia project.

What is Energia?

Energia is an open-source electronics prototyping platform developed by Robert Wessels with the goal to bring the Arduino and Wiring framework to the Texas Instruments MSP430™ LaunchPad evaluation kit. Energia is based on Arduino and the Wiring framework and includes an integrated development environment (IDE) that is based on Processing. The foundation of Energia and Arduino is the Wiring framework that is developed by Hernando Barragan. Energia currently supports several Texas Instruments devices. TI LaunchPad evaluation kits are low-cost microcontroller-based development kits that are made by Texas Instruments.

What is Energia MT?

Energia MT stands for Energia with multithreading. Energia MT adds the power of an RTOS (specifically TI-RTOS) to your embedded software. This means users can have multiple sketches running in parallel.

What are the key benefits of Energia?

Energia enables pretty much anyone to start easily creating microcontroller-based projects and applications. Its intuitive development window and easy-to-use libraries and functions provide developers of all experience levels to start blinking LEDs, buzzing buzzers and sensing sensors more quickly than ever before.

Energia is also supported by a large, active and friendly online community. Users can share ideas, ask and answer questions, and get integrated into one of the best maker communities on www.43oh.com.

Due to the high abstraction provided inside of Energia’s core application programming interfaces (APIs), Energia can enable a level of code compatibility across various microcontroller (MCU) architectures.

Is Energia similar to Arduino?

Energia desires to stay compatible with both the Arduino API and Wiring language. This makes it easy to use Arduino and Wiring Sketches with Energia and vice versa.

Can you use Arduino code with Energia?

Yes – Energia is based on Arduino and Wiring making it easy for those familiar with Arduino to use Energia with supported hardware platforms.

Where can I get Energia?

Energia is available for download online. You can access it from visiting www.energia.nu/download.

How much does Energia cost?

Energia is an open source IDE and is available for download online for free.

Why should designers use Energia?

Energia cuts much of the traditional, highly-technical details out of development and simplifies the IDE for TI LaunchPads. This reduces development time and design complexity, making it easy for anyone to program a LaunchPad and supported TI processors.

How is Energia different from Code Composer Studio or other IDEs?

Energia is an open-sourced, community-driven IDE which provides a simplified development window that is ideal for new microcontroller developers. It is primarily focused towards beginners and provides a lot of the more basic and core functionalities needed for introductory applications and projects. Code Composer Studio (CCS) is a full-blown professional development environment that introduces more capabilities and functionality such as full debug.

How is Energia connected to TI?

Energia was created by Robert Wessels in his spare time while at Texas Instruments. Robert now dedicates his time to maintaining Energia. Energia is not owned, managed, or maintained by Texas Instruments, but is a collaboration of enthusiastic community members and Texas Instruments employees.

Is there third party support for Energia?

Yes – many third parties are creating software libraries in Energia, which can be paired with third party BoosterPack plug-in modules for TI LaunchPad evaluation kits.

What projects, if any, have been created on Energia so far?

A full collection of Energia projects is available online. Consult the projects page for popular locations. Visit www.43oh.com for additional details and project ideas.

How long does it take to begin development on Energia?

Energia comes pre-installed with many code examples that help developers get up and running in minutes. Many tutorials in the form of text and video are available from the Energia site and community sources.

Which LaunchPad should I start with?

This is a good question and frankly depends on what you plan to do. For beginners who have no experience, it makes sense to start with something affordable and simple like the MSP430G2, but most beginners are still capable of handling more advanced processors thanks to the intuitive nature of Energia. Some devices have limited memory, so you will be forced to either work on smaller projects or optimize your code for the hardware. If you want a more forgiving starting point, a better microcontroller will give you more memory options to fit more complex code. You may also need certain peripherals to communicate with things like sensors and more capable LanchPads will have pins to enable complex controls. What’s nice about low cost hardware is you can start small and easily upgrade if it is required.

Why should a developer choose Energia over X, Y and Z competitive software/IDEs/boards?

Energia is an easy-to-use development environment that enables developers to get up and running on TI microcontrollers quickly and easily. Energia is primarily supported by a large and growing community of professional engineers and hobbyists. With 700,000+ TI LaunchPads shipped since their introduction in 2010, TI, third parties and members of the maker community are expanding the LaunchPad ecosystem with supporting BoosterPack plug-in modules, enhanced software offerings and additional tools.

Where can I go to get technical support?

Users can visit www.43oh.com where there is a  sub-forum specifically for Energia support. Additionally, online Energia tutorials are available on www.energia.nu.