TI eZ430-Chronos Hacking quickstart

After dragging my feet for 2 years, I decided to finally start hacking on the TI eZ430-Chronos platform.  I want to make an open source "fitbit" style fitness tracking device.  So I bought one of the kits and this is my log of how to get the dang thing working under a Windows 7 64 bit environment.

First,   out of the box it will not work.  TI really is not caring if this thing is easy to get going.  and the Forums like the Google Group and TI's forum are 100% worthless in this regard.   Most questions asked there are answered with useless "it worked for me" answers and you never get a useful response.

So open the box.  take everything out and throw away the CD.   everything on the CD is out of date and will not work on a modern Windows PC.   (Probably my problem, trying to use windows)  Go to TI's website and download the Latest size limited free CCS studio and install that.


Note: disable UAC on your Windows install.  UAC will cause issues at every step, it must be turned off.

You also want to download the FET-Pro430-Lite program.  As TI's Jtag programming suite is garbage.


Run the installer for the CCS and accept all the defaults.   This will actually install a working driver for your FET jtag usb device.   CCS V5 free version is either limited to 180 days or 16K code size depending on what you grabbed as a free version.  I cant afford the overpriced CCS so I grabbed the 16K limited free version.  BUT: you will not be able to compile any of TI's example programs with it.   The TI engineers are smart, but not very bright,  they created the demos in their unlimited version of CCS,  oops!

Install will take some time and it will install VC2005 that will clutter your c:/ directory with install files.

Now go and download the miChronos project from http://github.com/jackokring/miChronos

This will actually compile under the CCS limited free compiler.   I strongly suggest using this as your starting template for any programming.  he has a lot of legwork already done for you in figuring out a lot of the quirks of programming this watch/platform under the free compiler.

Download the Zip file and then open CCS edit.  then click on Project, Import Existing project.  and follow  the prompts.

Now open that project and click on the arrow next to the hammer. and select your watch. (USA typically the 915mhz - Limited CCS Core Edition)   compile it.

Now save and you will stay as that as the "Active" project.

you can now take the watch guts out of it's case, and remove it's battery.  now plug it into the JTAG programmer and insert into your computer.   click on the debug bug and let it go.  it will compile and then load the program into the watch and start the debugger.

You are now programming the watch with a working Development environment and a working starting point for the code.


  1. Thank you so very much for this tutorial. I'm making a project on my university and was practically thrown into it without any information or help from anyone so this helps a LOT.

    What I wanted to ask is... When I reprogram the watch like you said and work with it and what not, I'd like to be able to put the original program back on it, as the watch isn't actually mine, it's university's and someone else might be working on it in the future. Can you give me a pointer about that?


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