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MSP430-based Robot Applications - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780123970121, 9780123972965

MSP430-based Robot Applications

1st Edition

A Guide to Developing Embedded Systems

Author: Dan Harres
Paperback ISBN: 9780123970121
eBook ISBN: 9780123972965
Imprint: Newnes
Published Date: 22nd February 2013
Page Count: 416
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This book provides a careful explanation of the basic areas of electronics and computer architecture, along with lots of examples, to demonstrate the interface, sensor design, programming and microcontroller peripheral setup necessary for embedded systems development. With no need for mechanical knowledge of robots, the book starts by demonstrating how to modify a simple radio-controlled car to create a basic robot. The fundamental electronics of the MSP430 are described, along with programming details in both C and assembly language, and full explanations of ports, timing, and data acquisition. Further chapters cover inexpensive ways to perform circuit simulation and prototyping.

Key features include:

  • Thorough treatment of the MSP430’s architecture and functionality along with detailed application-specific guidance
  • Programming and the use of sensor technology to build an embedded system
  • A learn-by-doing experience

With this book you will learn:

  • The basic theory for electronics design

- Analog circuits

- Digital logic

- Computer arithmetic

- Microcontroller programming

  • How to design and build a working robot
  • Assembly language and C programming
  • How to develop your own high-performance embedded systems application using an on-going robotics application

Key Features

  • Teaches how to develop your own high-performance embedded systems application using an on-going robotics application
  • Thorough treatment of the MSP430’s architecture and functionality along with detailed application-specific guidance
  • Focuses on electronics, programming and the use of sensor technology to build an embedded system
  • Covers assembly language and C programming


Professional electronics engineers, embedded designers and programmers; students taking a course using microcontrollers. Individuals with an electronics background who may (or may not) have previous experience with microcontrollers, but who are just getting started with the TI MSP430 microcontroller

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. Introduction

Expected reader background

The parts of a robot

Where to get help

Tools you will need


Chapter 2. Mechanical and Electrical Disassembly of the RC Car

Mechanical disassembly

Electrical inspection

Electrical disassembly

Chapter 3. Beginning Electronics – Resistors, Capacitors, and Inductors

Some basic laws

Resistors, capacitors, and inductors

Chapter wrap-up


Chapter 4. Basic Electronics – Semiconductors

P–n junctions

The diode

The bipolar transistor

Metal oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET)

The operational amplifier

The H-bridge

Semiconductor wrap-up


Chapter 5. DC Motors

Learning by doing

Beakman’s motor

Improving on Beakman’s motor

Is a DC motor also a DC generator?

Powering the motor

The analog DC motor drive

Brakeable and reversible PWM motor drive



Chapter 6. Inexpensive Ways to Perform Circuit Simulation

Circuit simulation history

Modern circuit simulation programs

Simulations wrap-up

Chapter 7. Computer Logic

The birth of integrated circuits

The advent of logic

Why is it called logic?

Some algebraic identities

Logic optimization

Advanced topics in computer logic

Electronic implementation of logic

A logic example – the adder

The Exclusive-Or gate

The multiple-bit adder

Flip-flops and registers

Logic chapter wrap-up


Chapter 8. Computer Arithmetic

Getting started with binary

Converting from binary to decimal

Converting from decimal to binary


Fractional numbers

Negative numbers





Hexadecimal and octal

Floating-point arithmetic


Chapter 9. Introducing the MSP430 Microcontroller

What is a central processing unit and how does it work?

What does an MSP430 instruction look like?

How does the microcontroller talk to the peripherals?


Is there more than one type of MSP430 and what are the differences?

What is the MSP430 launchpad?

Which MSP430 types does this book focus on?

Choosing the programming language



Chapter 10. Getting Started with MSP430 Assembler

The TI MSP430x2xx family user’s guide

The MSP430 datasheets

Registers and memory

Addressing memory and registers in assembly language

Instruction set


Chapter 11. Running Assembly Language Programs

Getting started

A second programming example – the software multiply


Chapter 12. Programming the MSP430 in C

The multiply program in C

C programming wrap-up


Chapter 13. System Clocking for the MSP430

Back to hardware!

System clocking in a computer


Chapter 14. Parallel and Serial Input/Output Ports

Parallel I/O

Serial I/O

Digital I/O wrap-up


Chapter 15. Timers and Counters

Capture – timestamping events

Timer compare mode

Timers and counters wrap-up


Chapter 16. Data Acquisition

Digital-to-analog converters

Using superposition to analyze D/A circuits

Analog-to-digital conversion

Successive approximation guessing


Chapter 17. Circuit Building

Types of circuit construction

Where to buy parts


Chapter 18. Using Sensors to Avoid Collisions

Ultrasonic generation and detection

Optical generation and detection

Combining sensors for improved avoidance decisions


Chapter 19. Measuring Speed

Ways to measure vehicle speed

Other optical methods for measuring speed

Reducing the effect of ambient lighting

Speed measurement example


Chapter 20. Creating High Voltage

The charge pump

Inductor-based boost circuits

Negative feedback maintains the proper output voltage


Chapter 21. Remote Controls

RF remote controls

Optical remote controls

Improving interference immunity through modulation

Robot remote transmitter

Robot remote receiver

Remote control wrap-up


Chapter 22. Troubleshooting

Learning to troubleshoot is invaluable

Strategies for troubleshooting

Specific troubleshooting tips

Troubleshooting wrap-up


Chapter 23. Creating a Real-Time Operating System

Juggling multiple tasks using a real-time operating system


RTOS wrap-up


Chapter 24. Putting it all Together

Final hardware

One remaining software task: high-level control

The complete program

Programming and circuit wrap-up

Future robot peripherals

Learn and enjoy!

Appendix – Program Listing



No. of pages:
© Newnes 2013
22nd February 2013
Paperback ISBN:
eBook ISBN:

About the Author

Dan Harres

Dan Harres has 36 years of engineering experience with McDonnell Douglas Corp., Boeing Company, and ITT Electro-Optics Corp., and is the inventor of 29 US patents and patents pending. He has authored around 30 technical magazine articles and conference papers, and chaired the IEEE Avionics, Fiber Optics, and Photonics Conference in 2009-10. His principal areas of work are analog circuit design, microcontroller applications, and fiber optics system design.

Affiliations and Expertise

Technical Fellow, Boeing Company, Belleville, IL, USA.


"This book teaches readers how to build a robot based on the Texas Instruments (TI) MSP430 microcontroller. To make things clear, the author presents a concrete case: creating a basic robot from a simple radio-controlled car. Enthusiasts are targeted: high school and college students eager to build their first robots, and computer geeks wishing to drill down to the machine level.", January 2014

"The Texas Instruments MSP430 is a small, low power consumption microcontroller with a wide range of uses in embedded devices. In this book, Harres provides a guide to using them in robotics projects. The book emphasizes a hands-on approach where the reader will learn about robotics by constructing actual robots. The reader is not assumed to have any advanced technical background beyond algebra, trigonometry, basic programming knowledge, soldering skills, and high school level knowledge of electromagnetic physics." --Reference & Research Book News, December 2013

Ratings and Reviews