New to MSP430, pointers anyone?

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Yesterday I took a seminar on the TI MSP430 processor.
Now I really want to start working with this but have to wait for the
programmer package.
I was just wondering if anyone had pointers/ things to be aware of for
someone getting into these from PIC's.

My demo board uses a MSP430F169.
My designes will use the MSP430F1232.
So I ordered the MSP-FET430P120 for programming. It comes with the IAR
Is the only difference between the 16x type and 12x type the target board?
And with this is this compiler limited to 2K or 4K?

I was also looking at the bootstrap loader.
This seems to require a micro to interface between an RS-232 port and this
connection. Just wondering how others have implemented it.

Any suggestions would be great.


Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?
On Wed, 20 Aug 2003 22:24:08 GMT, "Robert DeHate"

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AFAIK yes, the free, demo compiler is limited to 4K, including assembly
modules (i.e., it won't link past 4K).

There is another option for MSP430 C compilers over at Their MSP430 compiler is a little "newer"
than their other offerings (hasn't been on the market as long). The
developer is actively involved with the user community and he's pretty
responsive to bug fixes.

There is a 30 day time-limited full version available as a demo as well
as a free 4K limited version.

Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?
There is a yahoo group dedicated to the msp430, just go to yahoo groups
and sesarch for msp430. The IAR tools are limited to 4k C but unlimited
assembler. The hardware differs between the 1232 and 16x architechtures
for the tools. There are many alternative compiler vendors to IAR, all
of them, that I know of are cheaper. Three of them are active in the
msp430 group, providing excellent on-line support for their products.
These are ICC from imagecraft (Richard Man), Crossworks from Rowley
Associates (Paul Curtis) and AQ430 from Quadravox (Michel, last name
eludes my feeble brain). Pumpkin Inc have a mini RTOS called Salvo, for
the MSP430 that appears to be very highly thought of and Andrew
Aekelman? also is active in the group. Imagecraft and Pumpkin have just
announced a bundled deal that combines Salvo Lite (it has 4 versions)
with ICC430. Softbaugh and Olimex have alternatives to the Ti hardware,
Olimex make a BSL (Boot Strap loader) for, I believe $10. Several of the
compiler vendors bundle hardware. The 169 board you have is probably
from Softbaugh. Both of these companies have excellent reputations
amongst the msp430 community it seems.

I'm a drudge, I use assembler so still have the original IAR/Ti tools,
so I have no personal experience of any of the products I've mentioned,
and no favourites. All offer very flexible trials as well.


Robert DeHate wrote:

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Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?

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The MSP-430 is *far* simpler to program (C/asm and "burning") than the
PIC. In general, the '430 is simply a joy to work with compared to older
architectures like the 8051 (as much as I love them) or PIC.

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This works quite well however I tend to create a makefile, customize my
own linker control file, and then only use the C-Spy debugger.

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The compiler limit is 4kB. Mind you this includes both code and const.

const char database[4097];
int main(void)
    return 0;

will will cause the linker to fail.

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I'm no help there. I stuck to JTAG programming of the FLASH array.

- Mark ->

Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?

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I have used the bootstrap loader.  TI has app notes on this and even a
PC Windows console application written in C (easily ported to other
targets).  I have incorporated the TI code into a larger PC-based setup
program for the target.  There is no added micro, we just use the 232
lines from the PC, mapping RTS and DTR to TEST and /RESET,


Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?
Great thanks,
I was hoping it could be done with just a cable, and a level converter.

And thanks to all that replied.
I have a little better understanding.


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Re: New to MSP430, pointers anyone?

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The easiest way to use the serial bootloader is to make a buffer using
MAX3232s or similar. Use the TI app note (which includes a circuit
diagram not using MAX3232) as a guide. Also get the code for the
command- line serial loader from TI (don't extract it from the PDF like
I did!), it only needs a little work to get it going. A bit slow for big
programs though...mail me if you need more help.

Paul Burke

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