USB Support for Ultra-Low Power Microcontrollers
Bruce Schreiner posted on November 26, 2013 |
Hardware and software solutions for medical and industrial MCU applications

Texas Instruments has sponsored the following story

The TI MSP430™ microcontroller family is being used in many lower power, portable designs for medical and industrial environments. USB support is therefore a natural requirement for these devices. The MSP430 MCU family supports USB and provides the software and hardware development tools needed to implement it.

MSP430 MCU USB Integration


Imagine your portable medical device collecting patient data on a USB flash drive. Using an MSP430 MCU, your device can now automatically update firmware when a doctor connects it to a PC USB port.

TI makes the USB portion of the design cycle quick and easy by providing inexpensive development boards and software support. TI's hardware and software tools are designed to overcome the often underestimated challenges presented by USB interface designs.

To support the hardware portion of the USB design, TI provides the MSP-EXP430F5529LP LaunchPad evaluation kit. The board has a 40-pin BoosterPack interface for quick additions of supporting I/O devices. The LaunchPad wiki provides links to the development board, resources, and example code.

MSP430 USB LaunchPad

RF BoosterPack


On the software side, TI provides the MSP430 USB developers package to speed the development cycle. The USB descriptor tool (for API stack configuration), USB firmware field updater, and Java HID demo (for general data transfers) are included in the free package.

MSP430 USB Developers Package


The API stack for USB manages all the underlying complexity of the USB environment. It provides multiple class devices to support a wide range of USB designs. The communication device class (CDC) is typically for PC COM port support. The human interface device (HID) has limited bandwidth data transfers but requires no installation. The mass storage class (MSC) is for storage to flash drives and media cards. Finally the personal health device class (PHDC) is typically for portable medical device support.

Separate power management control units within MSP430 MCUs split the USB device power and MCU power control. This allows for both ultra-low active power consumption (160uA/MHz) and inactive power consumption levels (1.5uA). This makes portable battery-powered designs a great fit for MSP430 USB microcontrollers.

Details of the advantages and features of the MSP430 USB MCUs are outlined in this TI white paper. You will need to bring some USB knowledge to the table to complete an MSP430 MCU design. However, TI provides the hardware, software, and configuration tools to quickly and inexpensively get your idea into the hands of your customers.


Texas Instruments has sponsored promotion of their industrial communications solutions on They have no editorial input to this post - all opinions are mine. Bruce Schreiner


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