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Taking a Class on MSP430s

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I'm a computer engineering student taking a class this semester on embedded systems. The course focuses on the MSP430 microcontroller. I'd like to pick your brain for a few moments on the MSP430 and embedded boards in general.

As far as things go, I've only worked with Arduino products for hobbies and personal projects. I feel that I have a basic understanding of the relationship between the arduino board, and the ATmel chip on it. I like the system becuase I can remove the ATmel and -- with only a few cents in components -- breadboard it permentantly into a project without sacrificing the arduino board.

So far I've heard that the MSP430 is a very power concious device, with certain models being more frugal than others. I'm also excited to work with C and real Assembly on a physical device. I'd like to go ahead and get one of my own to work with outside of the lab, especially since I need to figure out mspgcc on my own: the lab only supports Windows operating systems.

I am confused, however, by the sheer number of models and the complexity of their naming scheme, I don't know what features or model numbers to look for, and then there's the launchpad line as well. My course has so far mentioned the MSP430F2013 and the MSP430FG4618, although I don't know which one we'll be using. How careful should I be while picking out a launchpad to begin on? Will the differenent models change the C or Assembly I'm able to run on them in more impactful ways than speed/memory/etc? Can the MSP430 be switched out for another model? How practical do you feel the device is for use in permanent projects (Could I start replacing Arduinos with these once I better understand Assembly)? Also, I'd like to get a MSP-FET while it's on sale, do you have any thoughts on the device?

MSP430 datesheet

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Some references of the extended MSP430 family are available on affordable boards (typically USD10~30), called LaunchPad. See http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/tools-software/launchpads/launchpads.page and http://www.ti.com/lsds/ti/tools-software/launchpads/launchpads.page#low_power for MSP430-based LaunchPad boards.

I like the MSP-EXP430F5529LP with 128 kB Flash and 10 kB RAM, priced at USD13.

Good news, most of the LaunchPads (including the MSP430F5529) are supported by Energia, an Arduino-compatible IDE with the same framework. Learn more at and download from http://energia.nu.



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Glad to see your level of excitement. :)

I've used the F2013 extensively, and have also worked with the FG4618. You won't find launchpads version for either of these devices, though you can find the eZ430-F2013, which preceeded the launchpads as an inexpensive introductory development tool.

The FG4618 was/is intended to be a one-stop LCD driver chip, with multiple peripherals to allow interaction with the "real world."  The F2013 has significantly less capability, but it does feature a 16-bit SigmaDelta ADC (you'll find some inexpensive IR motion detector projects built around this chip).

I agree with @Rei Vilo  regarding the F5529 launchpad - it's very versatile, and includes a built-in USB capability.

I suspect the first major difference you'll see between the Arduino and the '430 is the interrupt-driven approach used to attain very low power requirements. (Oh, almost forgot, the '430 is NOT 5V tolerant... - 3.3V)  Traditional programming approach is the devices are normally "asleep" and wake in response to either timer events or external inputs. You'll find many, many code examples where main() code appears to stop at a low power mode entry point with no further main->executable code, nor a return statement.  Others will feature a while(true) "forever" loop, but which also halts at a low power mode statement, and only executes subsequent statement in response to an interrupt event.  FWIW, the LP line is inexpensive, very capable, and Energia allows an entry point for programming. As you progress you may find yourself moving to more traditional, programmer-oriented tools such as the IAR, CCS and GCC compilers, assemblers, and related linkers.

This is a good forum is a good place to seek answers, as is https://e2e.ti.com/

Have fun!



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> Also, I'd like to get a MSP-FET while it's on sale, do you have any thoughts on the device?

I have a pair of the older FET-430UIF devices and one of the new FETs that allows power consumption evaluation.  The two things they all share in common: 1) 14-pin JTAG interface (you can jumper to the LP devices, but they lack the JTAG connectors), and they are $100+ devices.  That being said, I have at times liked being able to separate the programming access and the USB port when working with the F5529. Whether they are worth the expense is going to be a personal determination.

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17 hours ago, NurseBob said:

 (Oh, almost forgot, the '430 is NOT 5V tolerant... - 3.3V)

MSP430F51x2 are 5V tolerant.

On 6. lipanj 2017. at 11:38 AM, makiyang614 said:

 Also, I'd like to get a MSP-FET while it's on sale, do you have any thoughts on the device?

FET-430UIF is stone age device, extremely slow, with FET same as on G2 LP.

TI is working right now on hardware revision of MSP-FET, so if you want to buy one, be sure that this one is with new hardware revision.

For low cost entry to MSP430 world, my advice is always for MSP430F5529 LP with updatable and open software / hardware design. Never for old and slow, closed and not updatable G2 LP (or any other board version with integrated this old FET).

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