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1.1 Problem Statement

The objective of this project is to design a completely functional and powerful Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for MSP430 (an ultra low power microcontroller designed by Texas Instruments Inc) devices. The final output of this project will be a complete standalone product.

1.2 Proposed Method

The proposed method was to implement the entire project in C# on the 3.5 .NET platform using the various options provided by the standard windows forms. We have also incorporated two other sets of code along with ours to increase the efficiency of our project.

1.Dock Manager
2.Syntax Text Highlighting

Both these sets of code were downloaded from the open source website “ “.

We have decided to name our IDE as “ENVIRON”.

1.3 Literature Survey

1.3.1 What is MSP430?

The MSP430 is a microcontroller family from Texas Instruments. Built around a 16-bit CPU, the MSP430 is designed for low cost, low power consumption embedded applications. The architecture is reminiscent of the DEC PDP-11. Unfortunately, the MSP430 lacks a very powerful feature of the PDP11, which was memory to memory indexing. This feature allowed interrupt routines to be written which used no registers, thus no stacking and unstacking required. The MSP430 is particularly well suited for wireless RF or battery powered applications.

The device comes in a variety of configurations featuring the usual peripherals: internal oscillator, timer including PWM, watchdog, USART, SPI, I2C, 10/12/14/16-bit ADCs, and brownout reset circuitry. Some less usual peripheral options include comparators (that can be used with the timers to do simple ADC), on-chip op-amps for signal conditioning, 12-bit DAC, LCD driver, hardware multiplier, and DMA for ADC results. Apart from some older EPROM (PMS430E3xx) and high volume mask ROM (MSP430Cxxx) versions, all of the devices are in-system programmable via JTAG or a built in bootstrap loader (BSL) using RS-232.

The MSP430 is a popular choice for low powered measurement devices. The current drawn in idle mode can be less than 1 microamp. The top CPU speed is 16 MHz. It can be throttled back for lower power consumption. Note that MHz is not equivalent to MIPS, and there are more efficient architectures that obtain higher MIPS rates at lower CPU clock frequencies, which can result in lower dynamic power consumption for an equivalent amount of processing.

There are, however, limitations that prevent it from being used in more complex embedded systems. The MSP430 does not have an external memory bus, so is limited to on-chip memory (up to 120 KB Flash and 10 KB RAM) which might be too small for applications that require large buffers or data tables.

MSP430 families

There are four general families of MSP430 processors. In order of development, they were the '3xx family, the '1xx family, the '4xx family, and the '2xx family. The digit after the family identifies the model (generally higher model numbers are larger and more capable), the third digit identifies the amount of memory on board, and the fourth, if present, identifies a minor model variant. The most common variation is a different on-chip analog-to-digital converter.


This is the basic family without an embedded LCD controller. They are generally smaller than the '3xx family.


These are similar to the '1xx family, but operate at even lower power, support up to 16 MHz operation (all other families are limited to 8 MHz), and have a more accurate (+/-2%) on-chip clock that makes it easier to operate without an external crystal.


This is oldest family, designed for portable instrumentation with an embedded LCD controller. This also includes a frequency-locked loop oscillator that can automatically synchronize to a low-speed (32 kHz) crystal. This family does not support EEPROM memory, only mask ROM and UV-eraseable and one-time...
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