PDA

View Full Version : NEW 40-pin Propeller prototype module - Most hackable yet?



RobotWorkshop
02-17-2007, 11:52 AM
Hello,

For new designs the standard for the 40-pin propeller modules (like the PropStick) seems to be a pin configuration like the 40-pin DIP propeller chip. This is cool for new things but I though it might be nice to also have one that has a pinout like the BS2p40 modules (and also my SX48 40-pin module). This would help for existing designs where someone may want to try out the propeller without altering their board.

For those of you that have been watching the SX forum you may have spotted a new 40-pin SX48 module I recently made. I was pleased with the way the SX48 prototype and while waiting for the final boards to come in for that I thought I would try to do something similar for the Propeller. I was able to reuse some of what I had done on the SX48 board but it was a tight fit to squeeze the propeller and extras all on the tiny board. It was a stretch for me and definitely pushed my into a new area. No auto-routing or anything. I did this manually as I really had to work to get it right. I think the effort was worth it!

It has an on-board 3.3v regulator, 5mhz xtal, 32K socketed EEPROM, and max3232 chip w/reset wired so the same Serial cable I use for programming the BS2p40 module works! So, the first 4 pins and the last 4 pins on the module work the same as a BS2p40 and the SX48 40-pin module. Any one of the three can now be interchanged in the same 40-pin socket (or circuit wired on a breadboard). Programming is the same on the BS2p40 and the prop which can both use the same wiring and cable. The SX48 uses this cable as a serial port and needs a SX-Key or SX-Blitz to program. The only sticking point is if peripherals expect +5v from the modules they get that from the BS2p40 and SX48 but this new Prop module only puts out 3.3v. I almost tried to squeeze a 5v regulator on their too and may if I make any more of these and it make sense to do so.

I just got the sample board in this evening and have just finished soldering the little rascal up (the board is still warm). I felt like a watch maker building the thing and it was definitely tricky to solder some of the smaller parts (down to 0603) that I had to use. Not something for everyone as a steady hand and good eyesight (or a huge magnifier) is needed for many parts. This new module can be assembled in a variety of ways though. All of the pins P0-P31 for the ports are configurable and can be left open, bridged closed, have a resistor, or cap. The sample has all 1K resistors (pin P28-P31 open) at the moment but I suppose I could have used the appropriate values to connect to a VGA monitor directly.

It is definitely a tricky little thing to assemble but this was just with a regular fine tip weller soldering iron, some solder wick, a really good set of tweezers, and a lot of patience. I think the SX48 module can work as a kit and may try something with this if that works out ok.

There are quite a few cool things going on with the propeller and what others have been doing. I am amazed at what is being written for this chip (man there are some bright people on this group!) and now that i'm a bit more familiar with the hardware hope to catch up on the software side.

Hopefully this module will be one more cool thing to add to the list. It's something i'm proud of and after getting it together am still (pleasantly) surprised that I pulled it off and the first time I plugged it in the software found the propeller! I guess the trials of first building a demo circuit on a protoboard (which did not work the first or second time) and getting the reset circuit to work like the stamp paid off. This weekend i'll try to beat this new module up a bit and make sure the rest of it works as expected.

Anyway, if you have comments or suggestions for improvements i'd love to hear about it.....

Best Regards,

Robert

RinksCustoms
02-17-2007, 01:05 PM
Nice, update us on how the burn-in tests go, I don't buy stuff without seeing some kind of torture test passed. Your on to something good here, one thign to note, not sure how you plan to achieve 5.5V i/o with a prop designed for 3.3v on such a small board. One idea SOIC Buffers of the CMOS type mounted to the underside of the boards interfacing a 5.5V rail and using the prop's 3.3v pins on the control lines of the buffers. As you know, CMOS IC's are pretty robust and have good high speed performance with fair s/n ratio's.

Does the board perform well in a high speed data envoronment with LC interference?

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Definetly a E3 (Electronics Engineer Extrodinare!)
"I laugh in the face of imposible,... not because i know it all, ... but because I don't know well enough!"

RobotWorkshop
02-17-2007, 10:19 PM
Well, I had one thing that I had to fix (it is a prototype after all..) but luckily it wasn't too bad. Although the Propeller tool could identify the Propeller and I could run things from RAM I was having trouble verifying the EEPROM after trying to save a program to it. After reviewing everything yet again I had left the WP pin open the EEPROM open. Doh! To fix I just added a tiny jumper on the bottom of the board from that pin to ground and that did it. All I have to do on the PCB is add a via and a short trace so any new boards will be just fine.

The protection for each I/O pin depends upon how it is assembled. As I mentioned each I/O pin has a small set of pads that can be left open, solder bridged, or can have a resistor. At the moment the protection is with a 1K resistor as one recommendation in the pinned topic on how to safely interface 5v logic to the propeller. There isn't enough space left for any other buffers as the underside of the board is also populated with the crystal, voltage regulator, and a variety of other stuff. This could also be used in a 3.3v circuit and in that case the buffers wouldn't be needed. That's what I meant by the "Hackable" in the title. Each I/O can be customized..

Even though there is definitely some things to plan out for each I/O pin and how it should be assembled, I just like that the pin layout matches the old standard 40-pin stamp layout and that it doesn't need a prop clip or anything special for programming.

I have enough parts to build a second module and am going to use a 6Mhz crystal instead and just bridge some of the I/O pads to build it as more of a 3.3v module. I expect this should work after reading other posts that the prop should run ok with this and internally will be clocked at 96Mhz. I'll let everyone know how that turns out.

At the moment none of the projects I have are using any sort of high-speed LC circuits so I haven't been looking at that or have a way to test that at the moment. If you have any examples of a test circuit for that and some prop code (i'm still brushing up on coding for the prop) I would certainly give it a shot.

For now, this is a prototype and I don't have any extra for sale. I'm going to keep on working on this and see if it needs any other refinements. If there is enough interest I can see about getting some more boards and perhaps a kit as well.

Best Regards,

Robert

Paul
02-18-2007, 01:46 AM
Could you add the BS2P-24 form factor? We could update our current Stamp chips designs with half-priced Propeller replacements. Or would that be like biting the hand that fed you?

--Paul

crgwbr
02-18-2007, 04:56 AM
RobotWorkshop said...
...it was a tight fit to squeeze the propeller and extras all on the tiny board. It was a stretch for me and definitely pushed my into a new area. No auto-routing or anything. I did this manually as I really had to work to get it right...

...It is definitely a tricky little thing to assemble but this was just with a regular fine tip weller soldering iron, some solder wick, a really good set of tweezers, and a lot of patience...
Hard Enough·to do in·a 40 pin package, I don't even thing Robert would be able to fit everything in a 24 pin package.· Not to mention all the I/O pins you'd lose.

crgwbr

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
NerdMaster
For
Life

RobotWorkshop
02-18-2007, 05:40 AM
From reading other post in the forum I think that Parallax has plans to make some sort of 24-pin propeller module. Hopefully they will make it and that will be popular with those people that are using the 24-pin form factor.

I don't have any plans to do anything with a 24-pin size module and will leave that to Parallax or others to do. I expect it would have to use the QFN package and I have no idea how i'd solder one of those packages on!

For the moment i'm just sticking with the 40-pin form factor for all my projects that would use a stamp, SX48, or propeller. This new propeller module and the SX48 module fill a small niche and are complimentary to what Parallax and others are currently offering. I think these could make cool little kits and would rather go that route since I want to brush up on the software side and use some of these in projects instead of sitting and soldering a bunch of new modules up. Anyway, this was a fun project and now I want to play with making them do some cool stuff.

I had enough parts to build a second module this afternoon which is now running a 6Mhz crystal (96Mhz internal) and so far things look good. Just need to update the board (to tie WP low) and perhaps in a few weeks will build up a couple more of these to make sure the board design is perfect.

Best Regards,

Robert

Charlie Johnson
02-18-2007, 05:56 AM
They just finished the Alpha test on the 24 Pin SPIN Stamp, and it looks like it is going to go to market. Yes you do lose 1/2 of your I/O put as a drop in replacement for a 24 pin stamp it works.

Charlie

RobotWorkshop
02-18-2007, 06:08 AM
There you go. They've got the 24-pin stamp covered. Excellent! This 40-pin module would be a complimentary one to the Parallax 24-pin module so for those few who may still need a 40-pin version with a stamp like pinout this may end up being an option.

Robert

Paul
02-20-2007, 12:00 AM
Thanks for the info Charlie. Looks like Parallax is multiple steps ahead of the curve as usual. This just saved me a boatload of board re-design dollars.


Paul

QuattroRS4
02-20-2007, 02:53 AM
Anywhere to get prelim. specs of that 24-pin 'Spin Stamp' ?

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Paul Baker
02-20-2007, 04:47 AM
The Spin Stamp 1 (SS1) uses a QFN Propeller and brings P0-P15 out onto the IO pins. It has an onboard 32KB and 10MHz crystal, 5V and 3.3V regulators. It is programmed using the PropClip.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Paul Baker (mailto:pbaker@parallax.com)
Propeller Applications Engineer
[/url][url=http://www.parallax.com] (http://www.parallax.com)
Parallax, Inc. (http://www.parallax.com)

QuattroRS4
02-20-2007, 11:46 AM
Paul,
Thanks for that. Input levels 3.3v ? - just wondering if input levels will have to be adjusted on some of my existing custom boards ? Before I offer customer upgrades ! Any quick reference pdf yet? Projected Launch date or price range - sorry this has perked my interest ..

Quattro

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Paul Baker
02-20-2007, 12:00 PM
Yes I/O is 3V3, so existing designs will need to be modified to take that into account. Docs are typically one of the last things we do for a product release. It just went through alpha product evaluation, and we are producing the first production panel to devise a production method for it. Not fully sure when it will be available but likely somewhere in the 1 to 2 month range if no problems arise.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Paul Baker (mailto:pbaker@parallax.com)
Propeller Applications Engineer
[/url][url=http://www.parallax.com] (http://www.parallax.com)
Parallax, Inc. (http://www.parallax.com)

QuattroRS4
02-20-2007, 12:28 PM
Paul,
Thanks for that - was kind of hoping that I/O's would have been compatible with stamp 5v so as to facilitate 'Direct Replacement' in current stamp based designs perhaps by inclusion of series resistor / zener diode on inputs with transistors on outputs to facilitate 'switching out' the onboard 5v (as I believe there is an onboard 5v reg as well as the 3.3v reg) - design seems to be well past that possibility now though - all the same its nice to dream..


Again - many thanks for the reply..

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Post Edited (QuattroRS4) : 2/20/2007 6:02:07 AM GMT

Paul Baker
02-20-2007, 12:52 PM
We thought about it, but there simply isn't enough space on the form factor to do it.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Paul Baker (mailto:pbaker@parallax.com)
Propeller Applications Engineer
[/url][url=http://www.parallax.com] (http://www.parallax.com)
Parallax, Inc. (http://www.parallax.com)

QuattroRS4
02-20-2007, 01:03 PM
will the bottom of the 'SS1' carry components ? How many layers ? - last questions - I promise !

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Paul Baker
02-20-2007, 01:04 PM
Yes, one of the regulators and cap, 2 layer.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Paul Baker (mailto:pbaker@parallax.com)
Propeller Applications Engineer
[/url][url=http://www.parallax.com] (http://www.parallax.com)
Parallax, Inc. (http://www.parallax.com)

QuattroRS4
02-20-2007, 01:06 PM
Thanks

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
'Necessity is the mother of invention'

Paul
02-22-2007, 01:00 AM
Is the 3V3 brought out to a pin somewhere? I am thinking of off chip pull up resistors that would use the 3v3 reference. I'm sure this was covered in the Alpha test. Sorry I missed the Alpha test posting now.. lol.

(the other Paul)

Paul Baker
02-22-2007, 01:06 AM
No, because it is the Stamp form factor and pin out and they do not have a 3V3 output.

▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
Paul Baker (mailto:pbaker@parallax.com)
Propeller Applications Engineer
[/url][url=http://www.parallax.com] (http://www.parallax.com)
Parallax, Inc. (http://www.parallax.com)

RobotWorkshop
02-22-2007, 02:46 AM
Besides the configurable pads at each I/O pin that are already in place on the new 40-pin prototype I wonder if it also might make sense to add an extra pad on the outbound edge of each that could be used to add an optional pull-up to 3.3v????

It would be an easy change to make but would add to the width of the finished module. At the moment it is .77 inches wide overall. Either that or leave it as is and just stand up a pull-up resistor vertically next to the I/O pin and just solder a wire across the top of any pull-up resistors present to one of the supply lines. It would sure make an interesting looking module!

So far the testing is going well and just want to see if I should try and cram anything else on there before making any more prototypes.

Best Regards,

Robert

El Paisa
02-22-2007, 03:33 AM
I like the approach, but I have·three questions.
Why use discrete components?
Why do not use standard RS-232 port instead of that USB dongle?
Why dont use a 128k eeprom?
·

RobotWorkshop
02-22-2007, 03:56 AM
I am using the descrete components since it offers a lot of flexibility. Since there are pads at each I/O pin there is then the option of:

- Leaving that I/O pin completely disconnected (as in the case of P28, P29, P30, and P31)

- Just solder bridge the connection if the output is going to go to other 3.3v logic or something that doesn't warrant using an inline resistor for protection

- Any resistor can be used. If the same resistors are installed as needed by the VGA output that will allow the module to be directly connected to a VGA cable or connector. Other values can be used for different needs.

- A small cap could be used instead at the I/O pin if the application needs it.

I like being able to make it any way I like!

The 40-pin module doesn't require any USB dongle, Propclip, etc. It has a MAX3232 onboard and is wired so that it can use an existing BASIC Stamp type connection to the Host. On my breadboard for testing I have a DB-9 connection back to the host PC. I can interchange a BS2p40 or this 40-pin prop module without any other wiring changes and can program either one with the same serial cable. It's reset circuitry on the module compensates so it acts more like that of the Stamp (at least from the wiring of the programming cable)

This module also has an 8-pin DIP socket so that larger EEPROM's should also be able to plug right in.

At the moment this is just a prototype but if there is enough interest I could probably make boards available with instructions on how to build them. It takes excellent soldering skills and a steady hand to build and they are not suitable for everyone.

Robert

$WMc%
11-04-2010, 02:37 AM
Hello,

For new designs the standard for the 40-pin propeller modules (like the PropStick) seems to be a pin configuration like the 40-pin DIP propeller chip. This is cool for new things but I though it might be nice to also have one that has a pinout like the BS2p40 modules (and also my SX48 40-pin module). This would help for existing designs where someone may want to try out the propeller without altering their board.

For those of you that have been watching the SX forum you may have spotted a new 40-pin SX48 module I recently made. I was pleased with the way the SX48 prototype and while waiting for the final boards to come in for that I thought I would try to do something similar for the Propeller. I was able to reuse some of what I had done on the SX48 board but it was a tight fit to squeeze the propeller and extras all on the tiny board. It was a stretch for me and definitely pushed my into a new area. No auto-routing or anything. I did this manually as I really had to work to get it right. I think the effort was worth it!

It has an on-board 3.3v regulator, 5mhz xtal, 32K socketed EEPROM, and max3232 chip w/reset wired so the same Serial cable I use for programming the BS2p40 module works! So, the first 4 pins and the last 4 pins on the module work the same as a BS2p40 and the SX48 40-pin module. Any one of the three can now be interchanged in the same 40-pin socket (or circuit wired on a breadboard). Programming is the same on the BS2p40 and the prop which can both use the same wiring and cable. The SX48 uses this cable as a serial port and needs a SX-Key or SX-Blitz to program. The only sticking point is if peripherals expect +5v from the modules they get that from the BS2p40 and SX48 but this new Prop module only puts out 3.3v. I almost tried to squeeze a 5v regulator on their too and may if I make any more of these and it make sense to do so.

I just got the sample board in this evening and have just finished soldering the little rascal up (the board is still warm). I felt like a watch maker building the thing and it was definitely tricky to solder some of the smaller parts (down to 0603) that I had to use. Not something for everyone as a steady hand and good eyesight (or a huge magnifier) is needed for many parts. This new module can be assembled in a variety of ways though. All of the pins P0-P31 for the ports are configurable and can be left open, bridged closed, have a resistor, or cap. The sample has all 1K resistors (pin P28-P31 open) at the moment but I suppose I could have used the appropriate values to connect to a VGA monitor directly.

It is definitely a tricky little thing to assemble but this was just with a regular fine tip weller soldering iron, some solder wick, a really good set of tweezers, and a lot of patience. I think the SX48 module can work as a kit and may try something with this if that works out ok.

There are quite a few cool things going on with the propeller and what others have been doing. I am amazed at what is being written for this chip (man there are some bright people on this group!) and now that i'm a bit more familiar with the hardware hope to catch up on the software side.

Hopefully this module will be one more cool thing to add to the list. It's something i'm proud of and after getting it together am still (pleasantly) surprised that I pulled it off and the first time I plugged it in the software found the propeller! I guess the trials of first building a demo circuit on a protoboard (which did not work the first or second time) and getting the reset circuit to work like the stamp paid off. This weekend i'll try to beat this new module up a bit and make sure the rest of it works as expected.

Anyway, if you have comments or suggestions for improvements i'd love to hear about it.....

Best Regards,

Robert
'
I was looking at some old posts
'
How did this turn out?
'
Do you have any more of this little boards?