MSP430 Series
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At the heart of the Texas Instruments’ LaunchPad range of development boards is the MSP430. The MSP430 is an easy-to-use flash programming microcontroller, just like other microcontrollers such as the ATmega range from Atmel. The MSP430 MCU was specifically designed to be low-cost and low-powered, suitable for a range of applications.

The MSP430 can be used for low-powered embedded devices when the current consumption in the board's idle state is less than 1µA. The MCU reaches speeds of up to 25MHz when required, but it can also be scaled back down to reduce the current consumption even further. The MCU actually has up to six power saving modes which can be activated by disabling certain features of the board that are not required.

MSP430 Hardware Features

The MSP430 LaunchPad comes in a variety of configurations such as more flash-memory and double the GPIO pins with the QNF package. The configuration I will be looking at in this review is the MSP-EXP430G2, which is the original variation of the LaunchPad range of development boards. The MSP430 MCU features the following:

  • Internal Oscillator
  • Time including PWM
  • USART
  • SPI
  • I2C
  • 10/12/14/16/24-bit ADC
  • Brown-out reset circuitry
  • JTAG in-system programming
  • UART
  • USB Support

Every MCU is not without its limitations. The MSP430 does not feature an external memory bus, hence it is limited to the on-chip memory up to 512KB flash depending on board variation. Some applications may require more than this.

There are currently six generations of MSP430 development boards, MSP430G2 is the second generation and was introduced in the late 1990’s. This particular board superseded the first generation and introduced even further power-saving features with support up to 16MHz. It also features flash-based ultra-low power MCU up to 16 MIPS.

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