Programming A Propeller On An ARM

[Stefan] uses a small ARM-powered netbook for his development work, so when he tried to play around with the Parallax Propeller he ran into a few problems. The official tools from Parallax are Windows only, and the available 3rd party dev tools are only compiled for x86. After a lot of futzing about, [Stefan] was able to develop on his ARM netbook and wrote in to tell us how it’s done.

Luckily, Parallax released a GCC port for the Propeller, but unfortunately isn’t completely portable to ARM. The Propeller loader for this architecture ambivalent build uses a little bit of SPIN code, which can only be compiled on Intel machines.

To get around this problem, [Stefan] wrote an installer script to gather all the necessary bits of code to his computer. His ARM/Linux toolchain consists of the Propeller GCC, an open source SPIN compiler, and a Python script used to load code [Stefan] found on the Propeller forums.

Now that [Stefan] has a complete toolchain for programming the Propeller on an ARM device, it’s possible to develop for this very cool multi-core microcontroller on his netbook or even the Raspberry Pi.

10 thoughts on “Programming A Propeller On An ARM

  1. SimpeIDE and PropGCC was ported to Rasbian over a month ago. Been developing for my propeller on the Raspi for some time now. It’s at the parallax forums and the rasbian forum at the offcial R Pi site. Can’t figure how to post the link though(spam filter?).

  2. The Prop can also be programmed from linux using the Propforth environment. Since RPi is “just another linux” the whole tool chain runs pretty much out of the box, we just have to ensure the tools are all installed, and the environment.

    WE running the RPi headless, and using a netbook or other terminal program to get at the command line.

    So we typically can work on a prop in the lab from across town.

    The instructions will be posted on the google code site for propforth shortly.

  3. Just to add one thing: when I was building the installer script I didn’t think much about the Raspberry. What I wanted was an easy way to build / install a tool chain for the Propeller which will allow me to develop C/C++ AND SPIN on my Intel box at home AND on my Tegra 2 based Netbook. Anyway, I fired up one of my RasPis to give the script a try there too, well so far it seems to take very looooong time :-)

  4. The Propeller-GCC SPIN reliance on x86 Intel is being addressed at this time. There is now an open source SPIN compiler that meets our needs.

    We could have just written all the cache drivers and such in GAS, but PASM is a little easier to understand for many.

    Propeller-GAS is essentially PASM with byte addressing rather than long addressing. It also contains all the other GNU ASM goodies. GAS is of course used by the Propeller-GCC compiler and inline ASM syntax is GAS.

    We have pre-built Linux packages for RPi that include the SimpleIDE and Propeller-GCC. Find packages and join the discussion here:

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