MSP430 - Programming target in-circuit

The TI MSP-EXP430G2 LaunchPad is ok for quick testing of code during program development. Eventually you would like to program the target mcu in-circuit on your protoboard or project PCB.

When laying out your PCB make sure you provide programming headers to the programming pins. You only need three connections:

MSP430G2553 pins

20 - VDSS (GND)
17 - SWBTCK
16 - SWBTDIO

and possibly pin-1 VDCC (3.6V) if you don't have power to your target board.

In order to avoid having to remove the mcu chip every time you wish to reprogram the chip, remove the five jumpers at J3 and prepare a short IDC ribbon cable with two 2x5 female headers, one on each end.





One omission on the board is a GND connection at J3. You will have to make a connection from GND on your target to one of the GND pins at J6. I find jumper cables from cast away PCs to be perfect for this.




If you use a single row of five pins on the target side of the cable, pay attention to which side of the connector you plug in.

If you use a 2x5 pin header then there is no confusion since the pairs will be shorted together when you plug the header into the protoboard. Make sure that you remove the mcu chip on the LaunchPad.



Note that I have inserted a decoupling capacitor across pins 1 and 20 on the target mcu for power supply filtering. Anything from 1μF to 10μF electrolytic will work. Watch the polarity of the cap!

To use the 32768Hz crystal on your protoboard, solder the crystal to a 2-pin male header and insert right up beside pins 18 and 19 of the MSP430G2553 mcu chip.

Happy debugging!

If anyone has other ideas for MSP430 programming please don't hesitate to let me know.

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