Blinking the LED with MSP430

This is the second tutorial on MSP430 and it will feature code on blinking the led’s and hence will tell you on how to configure the ports as input and output, and how to make the port low and high when it’s declared as output.

For those having a MSP430 launchpad, it has two on-board led’s connected via two jumpers to pins p1.0 and p1.6. Our task for today is to blink these led’s alternatively or toggle them.

To start with open code composer studio, go to FILE->NEW->CCS PROJECT. After doing this, you will get a window mentioned below


Enter your project name, select family as MSP430 and now variant is msp430g2253. Remember, this is a important step. To check your variant, refer your chip on the Launchpad. It clearly has a mentioned of the variant. For the purpose of all the tutorial, I will be using msp430g2553 as the chip, so kindly change accordingly. In the bottom box, select Empty project (with main.c)  and click Finish.

After clicking Finish, you will get this screen.


Have a look at the basic structure of the code already written. The first line is your header file that depends upon the variant, you choose while creating your project. Since I am using msp430g2553, I will rename the header file to #include<msp430g2553.h>, to look your code like this


Make sure to change your header file according to your variant.

Next step is the main function. Inside the main function you can see, initialization of watchdog timer. The MSP430 and many of the new generation microcontroller includes a special timer called the Watchdog Timer . Its function is to reset the CPU in case of an event when the CPU gets stuck. However, many developers used this timer in a scenario when they want to reset the controller when certain conditions are met. For now just remember to turn off the watchdog timer, as we will discuss it when we talk about timers in the tutorial. This timer is on by default when the chip powers up and hence it’s necessary to turn it off.

The remaining lines of code is the ending part that we don’t care much about.

Now, here comes the task we want to do i.e toggle the LED’s. Since the leds are on port1 and on pin 0 and 6 respectively, we will first have to make this pin or declare these two pins as whether they are acting as output or input.

Here comes the use of P1DIR register. P1DIR register is responsible for making your pins as output or input. 1 is for output and 0 is for input. Since we want to configure pin 6 and pin 0, we assign P1DIR as

P1DIR =0b01000001;


P1DIR = 0x41;

Next is to specify the particular pin of particular port as high or low. For that you can use P1OUT as the register. 1 is for high while 0 is for low. Since we are initialising things, I set the led on P1.0 as high while the other as low.


P1OUT =0X01;

Just have a quick recap as to what we have done till now after creating the project

  1. I have modified the header file as per my variant.
  2. Stopped the watchdog timer
  3. Declare PIN0 and PIN6 of PORT1 as output
  4. Made PIN0 as high while PIN6 of PORT1 as low

In the next step, we will declare a variable ‘I’ for delay purpose which can be done by

Unsigned int i;

Next is the infinite while loop, in it there are two steps. First is toggling and other is providing delay after each toggle to successfully see the toggling effect.

For toggle using bitwise operator, I can write




This will reverse the state of pin6 and pin0. So initially pin6 was low it will become high and pin0 will become low. This process would go on continuously. Hence, we will provide a delay after each toggle, so as to actually the toggling of LED’s.

The important point is there is no inbuilt delay function is MSP430, so you have to use for a loop to provide delay. So assigned for a loop for i=0 till i=30000, incrementing it by 1 everytime.

The number 30000 will actually determine your toggling time. So choose it carefully.

It can be initialised as



The next is step is nothing. CCS has automatically closed the while loop and hence we just have to burn the program obviously after building it. Before burning you can cross-check the code once again from below

#include <msp430g2553.h>  // header file that depends upon your variant 

 * main.c
int main(void) {
    WDTCTL = WDTPW | WDTHOLD;// Stop watchdog timer

    P1DIR = 0X41;    //Declare PIN0 AND PIN1 OF PORT 1 AS OUTPUT

	unsigned int i;   //Delay variable
		P1OUT ^=0X41;   //Toggle the respective by using bit-xor operator 

		for(i=0;i<30000;i++){   //Necessary delay, change it to see the effect on toggling

	return 0;

To build and debug, click on PROJECT->BUILD ALL and then click on Run->Debug.

While building, you will see in console at the bottom of the window, that will say ‘finished building target’. After clicking on debug, you will get a popup related to power saving, simply click proceed. Once in debug-window go to RUN->RESUME. If your options are blanked out, no need to worry, go to VIEW->DEBUG and then again go to RUN->RESUME.

The moment you debugged the code, your program got burnt in the controller. Isn’t it amazing, that without any additional software you can burnt the code. Clicking on resume, starts the program. A shortcut way is to simply click the play/pause like button on the screen. The debug screen will look like the one, as given below. Notice, it also has the function of breakpoints, and single-step or continuous run while are really essential while debugging and YES, on the Launchpad you would be able to see the Red and Green Led toggling.


Below is the circuit diagram, just in case you don’t have Launchpad or wish to connect the LED’s to a different port.



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One Comment

  1. sir please post an full tutorial on MSP430, UART, ADC, I2C, DAC, SPI and other.

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