Propeller-based Terminal


[Vince Briel] has created an embedded device based on the Parallax Propeller chip that acts as a serial terminal. It takes input from a standard PS/2 keyboard and outputs color VGA. It also has a second serial port to connect to a PC for debugging or programming. He is selling kits and has the schematics available. The board has a lot of hacking potential and it could easily be made into a video game or a Wikipedia browser.

[via RetroThing]

15 thoughts on “Propeller-based Terminal

  1. i was wondering if anyone has ever thought about forming hackaday clubs. a club where fans of hackaday could gather and trade ideas and where novices like myself could hook up with other hackaday fans who are knowledgable in areas of hacking and could show others how to do some projects. i myself would like to find some people in my area (las vegas, nv)that would like to get together and form some sort of organized club.

  2. Does this do ANSI? $90 pre-built, ouch. You have to add keyboard and monitor on top of that. Buy a netbook for $200 and run any of a number of excellent terminal emulators instead. This board has only 32kBytes of serial EEPROM, the propeller will eat all of this up leaving nothing for user storage above 32kB. Would be a much better (hackable) design with at least something like an AT24C512 which would double the EEPROM space at little or no additional cost. And finally, a MAX232 – you must be kidding. Maybe the designer had a thousand MAX232’s in his junk box and needed a way to get rid of them. A 7805 regualtor too… the designer must drive an Edsel. Why isn’t there a low cost LDO or buck in there. Finally, why are both 3.3V and 5V supplies required in the first place? The propeller is native at 3.3V and cheaper-better parts are available for everything else at 3.3V. Clean this puppy up! No software available. Doesn’t the designer understand there is NO intellectual property protection with the Propeller? What’s the point in not publishing the source? You have to load the Propeller tool to load the firmware? That’s a 20MB download alone. Plenty of better solutions out there for the Prop.

  3. – $29.95/€23.90 from the Czech Republic. Does basically the same thing and the module is a third of the size. Just take care of the edge connector, it’s not a fan of excessive re-soldering. :)


    Have a look at a curses library maybe?

  4. This basically the propeller doing everything with the addition of the EEPROM, osc, and FT232RL for direct programming. The rest are passive components.

    You’re paying $60 for a nice PCB, the circuit is easy to make.

    I’ve seen a guy make a board that three of the surface mount propellers with 32k eeprom each off a single 75Mhz osc and he wrote code to do vector operations for demoscene stuff. It was nice. There are also NIC modules that work with the propeller.

  5. @Jon

    eh? What do you mean by standalone? It’s VT100 terminal, it’s not meant to be standalone. Oh.. maybe you mean the microvga doesn’t have a power jack and db9 connector,.. um yeah with the ~$60 you save maybe you could buy a bit of stripboard and the connectors? :/

    Drone pretty much sums up my feelings on this.. the only hard task in building on of these from scratch is getting a micro that’s fast enough and has enough ram around to create a decent framebuffer… or just do it in a CPLD like any sane person would, oh look the microvga is a cheap pic + xilinx cpld.

  6. really not much more than the official Propeller demo board running one of the included video terminal sample apps, so I’m not sure I get it.

    I really tried to like the propeller chips, but imo the only real thing it’s got going for it is the video abilities, and even then you can do basic video in software on avr and pics.

    for a cool propeller video project, check out this Space Invaders clock running on an old tv:

  7. All I want is to connect to the serial I/O of a CPM machine. If I wanted a laptop with Linux and miniterm, I would buy one. There is a need for simple terminal emulators of the DEC VT100 family and PocketTerm fills that role.

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