I have an Arduino kit which I have used to program a 74HC595 Microcontroller to control 8 individual LEDs, following this guide, and it's working as expected.

I also have a 20 pin MSP430 microcontroller (datasheet here) and it's paired with a circuit board with 11 LEDs, see images here, and I'm looking to control the LEDs in a similar manner. I wired everything up and the non-microcontroller version (just hooking it up to power) worked. I then cut the traces as instructed, and put the microcontroller in.

However, I have no clue how to get the microcontroller wired up here. There are 5 available ports here: RX, TX, MISO, MOSI, and SCK. I looked online and they seem to correspond to transmit, receive, master-in slave-out, master-out slave-in, and serial clock.

Unfortunately, these don't seem to correspond to the pins of the smaller microcontroller. The pins used on the smaller one were STCP, SHCP, and DS, which apparently mean shift register clock input, storage register clock input, and serial input pin. I assumed that I would hook up the wires originally corresponding STCP to MISO, SHCP to MOSI, and DS to SCK, however no luck. I have tried many other combinations of wires as well and none of them worked, so I assume that I'm doing something wrong.

It looks like the MSP430 microcontroller needs some kind of 'Launchpad' to program it; however it looks almost the same as an Arduino device and I want to be able to work with what I have on hand, and getting the other microcontroller to work seemed simple enough. I have tried my best to understand how the devices work and what the pins do, but there is so much jargon on the datasheets that I don't think I'm understanding anything.

I'm a beginner in electronics and am quite confused, please help me understand how this thing works and get it to control my LEDs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The 74HC595 is not a microcontroller - it is just an eight-bit shift register. the MPS430 is a microcontroller - you will need to program it to do what you want. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 21:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ A very warm welcome to the site. Please note that it's not a discussion forum, nor a free design house, homework-answering service or on-line personal consultancy. People will help you take the next step if your question shows you've already done as much as you possibly could on your own - which yours doesn't, I'm afraid. Please edit your question and greatly improve it. Show your own work and own findings in considerable detail with a schematic. The schematic tool here is easy to use. The better the quality of your question, the better the quality of the answers it will attract. \$\endgroup\$
    – TonyM
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 22:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterBennett that certainly helps explain it, I looked online and have now discovered that microcontrollers and bit registers operate very differently. Thank you for the info. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Chen
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


The typical way to flash an MSP430 is through JTAG programmer. You will need access to the appropriate pins. This is a good place to start: http://te.kmutnb.ac.th/~ptt/lectures/01_Microprocessors/03_MSP430/05_Tutorialv0_3.pdf

You can boot up from the serial port (RX\TX), this would be difficult if you have never done it before and don't understand serial.

The easiest thing would probably be buy a launchpad and program the MSP430 that way by physically removing the chip and programming it in the launchpad socket.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I'll consider buying a Launchpad in the future. the serial port boot stuff is going way over my head. Thank you for the info \$\endgroup\$
    – Jeff Chen
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ meta.stackexchange.com/questions/126180/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 23:04

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