Introduction to TI MSP430 Launchpad

by Noel on January 2, 2012

A friend of mine (Keith) made a really nice Introduction to the TI MSP430 launchpad. Instead of me making my own, I’ld rather just post his nice Intro. Thanks Keith!

What is TI MSP430?
“The MSP430 is a mixed-signal microcontroller family from Texas Instruments. Built around a 16-bit CPU, the MSP430 is designed for low cost, and specifically, low power consumption embedded applications. The architecture dates from the 1990s and is reminiscent of the DEC PDP-11.”

Basically, it’s a 16-bit Microcontroller famillty by Texas Instruments.

What is a Microcontroller?
A microcontroller is a Integrated Circuit(IC) or Chip that contains a processor core, memory. and programmable input/output(I/O) pins.
It’s like a very small CPU.

What is TI MSP430 Launchpad?
TI MSP430 Launchpad is a MSP430 development kit, it’s easy to use and it’s mainly for beginners. It’s also the CHEAPEST development kit in the market for only $4.30. It could also be used for rapid prototyping just like the Arduino.
It can support up to 20 pin high end MSP430 Value Line Microcontrollers (some even made it work with non-value line higher end chips and expanding it’s flexibility).
The Launchpad board provides 2 programmable push button switches (1 General purpose, 1 for Reset), 2 programmable LEDs (1 Red, 1 Green), and easy breakout for each of the microcontroller pins.

You can buy the  TI MSP430 Launchpad at Element14.
The MSP430 launchpad is only PHP307 in the Philipppines.

Why Launchpad?

  • It is easy to use – Hardware and softwares needed to get started are readily available. There are also many resources such as open source projects and tutorials on the web about the Launchpad.
  • Cheap – It’s only for $4.30!
  • Microcontroller Experience – Launchpad provides hands-on experience and introduction to MSP430 microcontrollers. And the what you learn and develop for Launchpad is also applicable to higher end MSP430 chips.

What do I get?
When you get the MSP430 Launchpad Kit, the box includes the following:

  • LaunchPad Development board (MSP-EXP430G2)
  • Mini USB cable
  • MSP430G2211IN14 Microcontroller
  • MSP430G2231IN14 Microcontroller(preloaded with sample program)
  • 10-pin PCB Connectors (2 male & 2 female)
  • 32kHz crystal (MS3V-T1R 32.768kHz CL: 12.5pF +/-20ppm from
  • Quick Start Guide
  • 2x Launchpad Stickers

The board:

  • 20 pin DIP socket – support for up to 20 pin DIP packaged MSP430 Value Line chips.
  • Flash Emulator – real time communication with PC (UART), in-system programming and debugging, and can program any other MSP430 devices that are programmable via Spi By-Wire (2 wire JTAG)
  • 2 programmable LEDs
  • 1 power LED
  • 2 programmable push buttons (1 for reset)

The included MSP430G2xx:

  • MSP430G2211IN14 – 2kB Flash, 128B RAM, 10 GPIO, 1x 16-bit timer, WDT, BOR, Comparator A+
  • MSP430G2231IN14 – 2kB Flash, 128B RAM, 10 GPIO, 1x 16-bit timer, WDT, BOR, 1x USI (I2C/SPI), 8ch 10-bit ADC

The Launchpad is also open source.
“LaunchPad includes the firmware source code, GUI source code, Gerber/PCB files, schematics, BOMs, and other design files. By providing the source files, LaunchPad provides users with a completely flexible development environment.”

How do I use it?
In this tutorial teach how to use Code Composer Studio for Windows users.

First step: Download and Install Code Composer Studio
You can download it here (requires TI account, but it’s easy to register). It’s code size limited but that’s not important because we’re not even going to reach that limit.
If you’re having trouble installing CCSv4, here’s a step by step guide.
And here for a step by step guide for running CCSv4 for the first time, don’t choose the 30-day evaluation, choose the code size limited license.

Second step: Make a new Project
Now that you have Code Composer Studio installed. Run Code Composer Studio.
Click File -> New -> CCS Project.

A new window appears, type in your desired project name (any will do). Click next.

Make sure you choose “MSP430” from the “Project Type” drop down list box. Click next.

And just click next again.

Choose the correct device variant and click Finish.

Right Click on the project you just created and select New -> Source File.

A new window will appear, type in “main.c” into the “Source File” text box, click finish.

Third Step: Code and Run
Let’s try this LED blinker code from Lesson 1 – Programming Tutorial:

#include <msp430g2231.h>volatile unsigned int i;int main(void) {
P1DIR |= BIT0;
P1OUT &= ~BIT0;

while(1) {
P1OUT |= BIT0;
for(i = 0xFFFF; i > 0; i–);

P1OUT &= ~BIT0;
for(i = 0xFFFF; i > 0; i–);

Double click on “main.c” of you project from the left.

Paste the code and save. (one note: you must make a new line at the end of the code because CCS gives a warning)

Click the Debug Launch button, the code will now build and compile.

If there were no errors in building, you will now be in Debug View. Now, just click run.

And, the Red LED in the Launchpad should now blink (thats what the code does)!

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