Propeller Platform prototyping board gets an upgrade

[Nick] over at Gadget Gangster has a new version of his prototyping hardware for Propeller microcontrollers, called the Propeller Platform USB. A little more than a year ago we looked at the last version which was larger, used a DIP processor, and came unassembled. The new version does come assembled because of the migration to surface mount components (which may take some of the fun out of it if you just love soldering kits). This not only reduces the board footprint, but makes room for more goodies. As the name implies, there’s now a mini-USB socket with a USB to UART bridge, a microSD card slot as been added, and the onboard EEPROM has been doubled. This is a nice hardware upgrade but the price has been upgraded by $25 as well. No worries, it’s open source so you can roll your own if you have the parts on hand.

Comments

  1. NatureTM says:

    Seemed out of my price range until I saw it’s 80MHz with 8 cores. I haven’t used propeller before, but this sure seems interesting. I might have to get one just to try my hand at multicore microcontroller programming.

  2. M says:

    I need a flowchart to tell me which easy peasy microcontroller platform to buy. Seriously.

  3. gottabethatguy says:

    I just received my propeller professional development board as I was lucky enough to grab one of the blemished boards for only a 100 bucks. The thing that sold me on the propeller was how easily it can handle video, audio, and whatever else you want all on a single chip. You can display video using a single cog and still have eight cogs left over for whatever you like.

    Check out their forums to, they have a great online community.

  4. cgmark says:

    Parallax has some good products but they need to lower their prices. I’m guessing the majority of their customers are universities where they can demand a premium.

  5. Jeff says:

    One thing to note is that the Propeller does not have any built-in analog i/o. This isn’t a huge problem since there are plenty of cheap analog i/o chips out there that can be integrated via spi or ic2 both of which are well supported via this board.

  6. That’s my board!

    Yep, the Prop doesn’t have built-in ADC, although it’s fast enough to do delta-sigma modulation to read analog values using 2 pins. For ADC’s, I usually use the MCP3208. 3204 works great, too.

    If all you need is to blink an LED, then the Prop is not a great value, but if you want to do video output and stereo wav playback, I think it’s competitive. Just depends on what you want to do. Personally, I like the ease of multitasking the most.

  7. Adrian says:

    Analog input is “supported” with the use of sigma-delta calculations, and is pretty fast. You can easily sample at 48kHz with 11 bit resolution. Not the greatest, but doesn’t require any external active components, only passives.

  8. sexiewasd says:

    I’ve found that the prop often isn’t fast enough using just the spin scripting language, but I is really awesome when you need to do lots of different simple things at once, so it’s great for robotics/automation and such.

  9. Dave Andreae says:

    If Spin isn’t fast enough, you can use assembly language which is screaming fast.

  10. x5aint says:

    Cool, I saw the gadget gangster do a presentation on pcb boards at Unofficial Propeller Expo West 2010, pretty cool presentation. Parallax offers a similar board its called the “Propeller Proto Board USB”.

  11. qwerty says:

    It’s interesting but falls in the same price range of the bifferboard (http://bifferos.bizhat.com) which is a complete Linux system. They could make this platform cheaper by removing everything that isn’t absolutely necessary (sockets,switches,pushbutton,etc) letting the user connect them externally when needed. It would also make it much smaller.

  12. bifferos says:

    qwerty: You can have the best of both worlds by combining the two:

    http://sites.google.com/site/bifferboard/Home/howto/serial-terminal-project/parallax-propeller-investigation

    You’ll note that at it’s simplest, the Prop needs only a single resistor to interface with the Bifferboard (see the circuit diagram), including 3.3v power.

    This technique allows the Bifferboard to act as 10/100 ether, USB (hi speed) host and i2c memory for the propeller. If you consider the cost of adding these features to the Prop by using off-the-shelf modules not to mention the hassle of setting up the software to access them this could save a lot of time for prop-based projects.

    If anyone has any interest in pursuing this concept please get in touch – I can arrange production but don’t have time for any of the design work right now!

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