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Intro a Msp430

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  Part 1 Hey folks, I know you have a habit of seeing AVR microcontrollers related tutorials on maxEmbedded, but trust me, maxEmbedded is going to be full of surprises. This is my first post and it is going to be about MSP430, a 16 bit microcontroller family by Texas Instruments. Pre-requisites: Basic knowledge of micro-controllers and embedded systems, Familiarity with terminologies related to computer architecture. Contents      MSP430  –  An Introduction     What MSP430 has in package?     Central Processing Unit     Memory     Clock     General Pin Configuration of MSP430     Software Support and Development Environment     IAR Embedded Workbench     Code Composer Studio     MSP430 Evaluation Modules and Development Boards     MSP430 LaunchPad    MSP430 – An Introduction   “MSP430″ interesting name, isn‟t it? Want to know what it stands for? Well, MSP stands for Mixed Signal Processing. There are three types of signal processing techniques we generally deal with, namely, Analog signal processing, Digital signal processing and Mixed signal processing. Thus, the MSP430 family supports Mixed Signal Processing, making your tasks easier. To have a fuller idea about the nomenclature of the MSP family check out this wikipedia page.  What MSP430 has in package?  Recently, Apple Inc. launched its new Apple iPhone 5S, which runs on a 64-bit Micro-Processor Unit, the first of its kind mobile phone to run on a 64-bit architecture. The earlier ones used a 32-bit architecture. To know more about what 8 bit or 16 bit micro- controllers actually mean, read Mayank‟s post on  basics of microcontrollers. an MSP Micro-Controller is a 16 bit Micro-Controller, which means that it has 16 bit wide address and data buses. So, in a layman‟s language, we can say that MSP is twice as fast as the AVR, in terms of processing (not always the case though). You can roughly relate this to your computer, which is probably a 32-bit or 64-bit machine. It may look confusing to a person who has a habit of using 8 bit controllers, but the fact is that it is much more convenient to use a 16 bit controller. Let us look at some highlights of the MSP430 family:    Von Neumann Architecture:  It is modern processor architecture which has shared memory for both data and instructions. This is in contrast to Harvard architecture, which has separate memories for instructions and data. In some systems having Harvard Architecture, instructions memory can be Read only memory. The following diagram shows the difference between Harvard architecture and Von Neumann architecture.     Types of Architecture (Click to Enlarge)    RISC architecture:  RISC expands to ReducedInstruction Set Computer. In simple language, hardware simplicity has been compromised to provide software simplicity.    Bus width:  16 bit address and data buses.    Memory access range:  16-bit Micro Controller Unit, hence it can address 2 16  = 64 kB of memory.    Several low power modes: typical being 1µA, 3.3 volts consumption in idle mode.    It has an internal D igitally Controlled Oscillator  (DCO) oscillating at 1 MHz.  An External Crystal Oscillator   can also be used. MSP Controllers should be made to work at 32.768 kHz, when we need to provide a very accurate timer. This is because when we use 32.768 kHz, by the time the timer overflows, it is exactly and accurately 1 second. Can anybody figure out why?    Timers  available with PWM  (Pulse Width Modulation)     Selection of Analog to Digital Converter   with a resolution of 10/12/14/16 bit. Central Processing Unit   The general purpose of any CPU is to execute the instructions and store data in the memory. For that, it takes help of the ALU  –  Arithmetic Logic Unit, which performs all the calculation and computation for the CPU. Let‟s consider a CPU -industry analogy. Whole process of CPU works like an industry  ; just consider you have an industry for manufacturing goods. For that you need raw materials which are provided by a store called memory  . Now the raw material is brought to the industry by a transport facility called data bus . Now the question arises, how will one know about which raw material you need or where it is placed and when do you need it? These are managed with two transport facilities namely control bus  and address bus . Now, with the help of tools and machines called  ALU  , you have made the goods and you have to transport it back to store which is again done by data bus . To control any operation, we need some special memory units, which holds which work to be done next and how it should be done etc. These memory units are present in CPU and are called registers . Registers are small size memory units which can be well described as the set of cells where each cell can hold one bit data i.e. either 0 or 1. For more generalized idea about registers, go ahead and rea d the first half of Mayank‟s post, and then get back here. The width of registers   in MSP430 is 16 bit which means each of the register can hold 16 bits of data. If you have worked with AVR, CPU register holds 8 bits of data. But in MSP430, CPU registers are 16 bits wide. Some of the registers which is used by CPU very frequently are as follows  –      Program Counter, PC/R0    Stack Pointer, SP/R1    Status Register, SR/R2    Constant Generator, CG2/R3    General Purpose Registers, R4 to R15 Memory   We get 64kB of memory space in MSP430 i.e. address range is 0x0000  to 0xFFFF  which has been divided into several types of memories. So, we will have a brief look on the types of memory, we get in MSP430  –  
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