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So what?

In this lab we're going to use the MSP430's GPIO pins, combined with some external switches and an LED display, to build a basic I/O system for our board. Because of how things fit together on the board, it makes sense to use P1.0-P1.3 (the first three Port_1 GPIO Pins) to read the input switches and P1.4-P1.7 for the output signals.


Setting up the outputs is easy-- simply set the upper four bits (bits 4-7) of &P1DIR to "1", and then write the output to the upper four bits of &P1OUT . That means you'll have to shift your data left 4 positions before output, but you should already know a simple technique to do so!
You'll notice that when you change the output, the corresponding input bits also change. This happens because the input hardware always reads the status of the line, regardless if it is set to input our output. Changing the &P1DIR values only connects or disconnects the driving circuitry built into the MSP430. In advanced applications this can be used to analyze potential faults in the circuitry outside the chip.


Inputs are also "easy," but there are a few hardware concepts you'll need before you understand how they work!

A little bit about wires

As mentioned briefly in class, binary digital logic has two valid states, plus one third mystery state. That third state, "The High Impedance State," (High-Z) just means that the wire isn't connected to anything. You've already talked about using so called tri-state buffers to negotiate who can talk on a shared bus-- the listening components enter the high impedance state, allowing the transmitting component's signal to drive the bus with no conflicts.

Impedance is a generalized form of the classical Resistance concept. Impedances can be real or complex valued, and apply too signals expressed in complex exponential form ( whether constant or variable! ). To learn more about impedance, check out Dr. Johnson's sections from the Elec 241 course notes.

A basic switch

A simple SPST hardware switch

In order to read useful input from your switches, you need them to be "0" in one state, and "1" in the other. Yet knowing what you know about the third state, the switch shown above will actually give a "0"/"1" (depending on what you connect it to) when closed and "High-Z" when open. Because there's nothing else driving the sensor input besides our switch, the input value will be random when the switch is open . In digital logic this is called floating, and it is a very very bad thing.

One simple solution is the Pull-Up (or Pull-Down) Resistor . Connecting the floating side of the switch to a logic level through a large resistor will tie down the floating input when the switch is open, but won't effect the read value much when the switch is closed.

An spst hardware switch in the pulled up configuration.  One end of the switch is grounded, while the other is connected to the circuit input and Vcc through a large resistor.
As you can see, when the switch is closed, the input is shorted to ground and reads zero. When the switch is open, the pull-up resistor holds the previously floating end at Vcc.

Pull-ups in the msp430

For better or for worse, the MSP430 actually has pull up resistors already built into the chip's hardware. Configuring them takes several steps, but once setup they provide all the functionality above without the extra external connections.
  • Set the Pin Direction for P1.0-P1.3 to input. (Set bits 0-3 of &P1DIR to "0")
  • Enable the resistors themselves. (Set bits 0-3 of &P1REN to "1")
  • Configure the resistors to be pull-up. (Set bits 0-3 of &P1OUT to "1")
The most confusing part of the whole process is the double function of P1OUT . Because of the hardware implementation on the MSP430, &P1OUT controls the outputs as well as the connections to the pull up resistors. You will need to ensure that every time you output a value, you KEEP the lower four bits "1" . The easiest way to do this is just by ORing your raw output with the constant #0Fh before you write to P1OUT . The MSP430 does not have a specific "or" instruction by name, but bis does the same thing. For more info on bis and its inverse bic , see next week's lab.

The MSP430 resistor connection configuration.  Shows the double function of P1OUT
Notice that configured this way, the MSP430 GPIO pin takes the form of the simplified Pull-Up figure above.



  • A traditional single threaded polling scheme consists of a main loop that runs continuously. Within that loop, the processor periodically checks for changes, and if there are none, continues looping. Once a change is detected, the program moves to a new section of code or calls a new subroutine to deal with the changes.
  • Polling has advantages and disadvantages-- it keeps program execution linear and is very easy to code and implement, but it also is not incredibly responsive. Since polling only checks values at certain points in the main run loop, if the loop is long or changes occur quickly, a polling scheme can miss input data. For now though it will suffice.

Assignment details

Your task is to code a simple input to output echo program for the MSP430. Your program should consist of:

  • A setup section that runs once and configures the GPIO pins
  • A main loop that runs infinitely
  • Code inside your loop to read the state of the GPIO input pins
  • A separate section of code to write the changes to the output pins and then return to the main loop


You should already know the basics of masking from class, but it becomes very important when dealing with I/O. Since different pins do different things in the same port (P1), you the programmer will have to be careful not to accidentally modify the wrong bits even though your instructions will operate on the entire register.

All images drawn by Matt Johnson, Rice ECE

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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