Fun With the MSP430 Launchpad

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series MSP430 Launchpad Tutorial  

The MSP430 launchpad is a relatively new development board from TI featuring what they call the “worlds lowest power microcontrollers”.  The launchpad comes packaged with two  MCU’s from the MSP430 series.  The one that comes mounted on the launchpad is the MSP430G2553.  It has the following specs:

  • Low Supply-Voltage Range: 1.8 V to 3.6 V
  • Ultra-Low Power Consumption Active Mode: 230 µA at 1 MHz, 2.2 V
  • 2 16 bit timers
  • Capacitive touch IO (Not sure what that is yet, but I’m intrigued)
  • 16KB flash
  • up to 16 MHZ
  • 8 channel 10 bit ADC

The launchpad development board features a microUSB connection for programming and powering the board (3.3V).  Also a programmable switch and some additional power/ground/Serial headers.  But the most enticing thing about this product is it’s price.  Although it was introduced at the very low price of $4.30, I’ve seen it selling for around $10.50 at Mouser and Digi-key.  This is still a very good price for a development board.

Anyway, this pricing is clearly a strategy for TI to gain some ground in the hobby electronics market.  I don’t know about you but I’m always looking for ways to save on my ever-growing project wish list.


Even though I’m an avid Atmel AVR microcontroller fan, this price was just too good to pass up so I ordered one to test it out.  I’m also very interested in the low power requirements.  I have wanted to do some very small projects powered by a watch battery or a li-po battery.
This tutorial series will highlight my experiences with the MSP430 launchpad from a hobbyist perspective.  I’m sure there will be many roadblocks and confusion along the way.  I’ll be sure to document those and share how to avoid them.  Hopefully we will find some solutions together.  So feel free to comment and ask questions at the end of the posts.

Thanks, and happy building!

Series NavigationProgramming the MSP430 Launchpad on Ubuntu >>


  1. Thank you!
    I am really confused when trying to choose between the MSP430 LaunchPad and arduino to control a DC motor. Are there drivers to be used with the MSP430 LaunchPad to control the motor providing the required current and respecting the motor voltage?


    1. Hi Julia,

      In order to drive motors, you will want to use a motor controller or build your own “h-bridge”. There are lots of inexpensive options out there using the L298N dual motor driver. These basically take a PWM signal from the microcontroller (MSP430 or Arduino) and output a higher voltage/current to the motors. The L298N is nice since it is small and can control two motors forward and reverse and can handle 2 Amps.


      1. Thank you for answering!!
        The L298N driver is a solution, however don’t you think that it would not be able to drive my 12V DC motor and deliver about 18 Amps of current ? (that’s the amperage I need)!
        thank you for your help.


        1. 18 Amps is well beyond the L298N capabilities. I am actually working on a MOSFET h-bridge that can handle higher currents like that. My 300 Watt motors will drive around 16 amps. I’m hoping to have this tested by this weekend so I’ll post the schematic and board layout as soon as I can test it out….I’m using the schematic here as a reference.


        2. Julia,

          It took longer than I anticipated to build and test, but you can find a write-up of it here. I also included some links to some good high-current motor drivers in that post. Hope you find what you are needing!


          1. Erik,

            Thank you so much for your help. That must be useful for me. I will let you know If I have any further questions!

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