In my past tutorials on MSP430s, I demonstrated how to get started with MSP430 general purpose microcontrollers from Texas Instruments (TI). Those tutorials covered most aspects of low and mid-end MSP430G2xxx series microcontrollers. For those tutorials, TI’s official software suite – Code Composer Studio (CCS) – an Eclipse-based IDE and GRACE – a graphical peripheral initialization and configuration tool similar to STM32CubeMX were used. To me, those low and mid-end TIs chips are cool and offer best resources one can expect at affordable prices and small physical form-factors. I also briefly discussed about advanced MSP430 microcontrollers and the software resources needed to use them effectively. Given these factors, now it is high time that we start exploring an advanced 16-bit TI MSP430 microcontroller using a combination of past experiences and advanced tools. MSP430F5529 is such a robust high-end device and luckily it also comes with an affordable Launchpad board dedicated for it.
Texas Instruments (TI) is a well-known US-based semiconductor manufacturer. TI is perhaps best known to many as the manufacturer of some of the fanciest scientific calculators in the market. Of the long list of electronic devices produced by TI, microcontrollers are on the top. TI manufactures some of the coolest and advanced microcontrollers of the market today. There are several categories of micros from TI. These include general purpose low power MCUs which mainly comprise of MSP430s, ARMs like TM4Cs, MSP432s, etc, micros for wireless communications like CC2xxx series, ARM + DSP micros, DSP-specialized micros like the TMS32xxx series and so on. It will look as if TI is committed toward mixed signal microcontrollers that are engineered for highly sophisticated industrial challenges. This issue will cover an insight of value-line MSP430 general purpose micros.
MSP430s are not seen as much as the popular 8051s, PICs and AVRs. In most of the Asian market, for example, MSP430s are rare when compared to other microcontrollers and even still rare when compared to other chips produced by TI itself. I don’t know why there is such an imbalance. Perhaps one big reason is its inclination towards low power consumption and limited resources. Low-power means that these MCUs are crafted for special low power applications unlike most other micros. Secondly TI micros are a bit expensive than other micros. Despites these, TI has provided some great tools for making things simple. You can get your hands on some cool MSP430 chips through some affordable Launchpad boards and still it worth every penny learning MSP430s. Firstly, it is a family of ultra-low power high performance 16-bit (16-bit data bus) micros which are unlike the popular 8-bit platforms. Secondly MSP430s have highly rich internal hardware peripherals that are second to none. For instance, MSP430s can be operated over a wide voltage and frequency ranges. Another great feature that is less common in most 8-bit micros is the DMA controller. Fortunately, MSP430s possess this. Probably it is your first such micro family that is somewhere between 8-bit and 32-bit micros. In the end, MSP430s will surely give you a taste of absolute American technology and concepts.
Last year, Texas Instruments (TI) released industry’s lowest cost (only $4.30) microcontroller development kit named Launchpad. It is a complete development tool for rapid prototyping with TI’s ultra-low power MSP430 Value Line MCUs. I also bought a Launchpad kit several months ago but haven’t really looked into it. Last weekend, I spent a couple of hours reading about the MSP-EXP430G2 experimenter board (that comes with the Launchpad kit) and the Code Composer Studio (CCS) software tool. CCS is an integrated development environment (IDE) to develop and debug applications for TI’s embedded processor families. As always, a “Hello World” program is the best thing to start with any new development platform. If you ran it successfully, it means you have setup the compiler and the programmer/debugger correctly and you are all set to go. Here’s a step-by-step guide to set up the CCS v4 build and debug environment for the MSP-EXP430G2 experimenter board.