TriBlade Prop PCB: Uses 3 Propeller ICs for a Single Board Computer (SBC)

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Comments

  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2010-04-22 - 00:51:44
    Omikron: Did you fix the problem?

    What do you mean about changing the image in the virtual drive without recompile?

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    Links to other interesting threads:

    · Home of the MultiBladeProps: TriBlade,·RamBlade,·SixBlade, website
    · Single Board Computer:·3 Propeller ICs·and a·TriBladeProp board (ZiCog Z80 Emulator)
    · Prop Tools under Development or Completed (Index)
    · Emulators: CPUs Z80 etc; Micros Altair etc;· Terminals·VT100 etc; (Index) ZiCog (Z80) , MoCog (6809)·
    · Prop OS: SphinxOS·, PropDos , PropCmd··· Search the Propeller forums·(uses advanced Google search)
    My cruising website is: ·www.bluemagic.biz·· MultiBlade Props: www.cluso.bluemagic.biz
  • OmikronOmikron Posts: 22
    edited 2010-04-22 - 07:41:37
    It was short-circuit between two A lines.
  • OmikronOmikron Posts: 22
    edited 2010-04-22 - 19:32:43
    How to load the program into blade #1?
    When latch for blade #2 is populated, it holds the reset signal and the configuration over FTDI chip doesnt work.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2010-04-23 - 00:05:35
    Omikron: You are correct in that the latch does indeed drive the reset line of the Blade #1 & #3 props.

    Having said that, I regularly load code into Blade #1 and the latch is fitted in Blade #2, so it still works. The transistor circuit would be overriding the latch to pull the reset line low. I am now wondering if you have discovered a problem that I have been blaming on the driver (there are some FTDI driver issues with windoze that people have reported and I assumed, maybe now incorrectly, that this was the porblem).

    I will look at the schematics over the w/e and do a few more tests.

    What latch are you using on Blade #2 (74HC573, 74LVC573, ?) ?

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    Links to other interesting threads:

    · Home of the MultiBladeProps: TriBlade,·RamBlade,·SixBlade, website
    · Single Board Computer:·3 Propeller ICs·and a·TriBladeProp board (ZiCog Z80 Emulator)
    · Prop Tools under Development or Completed (Index)
    · Emulators: CPUs Z80 etc; Micros Altair etc;· Terminals·VT100 etc; (Index) ZiCog (Z80) , MoCog (6809)·
    · Prop OS: SphinxOS·, PropDos , PropCmd··· Search the Propeller forums·(uses advanced Google search)
    My cruising website is: ·www.bluemagic.biz·· MultiBlade Props: www.cluso.bluemagic.biz
  • OmikronOmikron Posts: 22
    edited 2010-04-23 - 07:47:04
    cluso99 said...
    what latch are you using on blade #2 (74hc573, 74lvc573, ?) ?

    hc573
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2010-04-24 - 08:25:23
    ERRATA

    The Latch U25 on Blade #2 has two reset lines out.

    -RST1 (U25-15) goes to the reset line of the Propeller Chip in Blade #1 via the JK11 (propplug -R pin).

    -RST3 (U25-14) goes to the reset line of the Propeller Chip in Blade #3 via LK4 so it is not in connected without the LK4 fitted.

    -RST1 can cause a conflict when loading from the PropPlug. How do we fix this?
    You need to cut the line somewhere. Here are a few suggestions (in order of preference)...
    • Cut 74HC573 Pin 15
    • Cut the track just before the -R connection on the propplug connector J11.
    • Cut the via (twist a small drill) on either of·side of the pcb located under the "LK4" overlay between the "L" and "L" white text. This is NOT the lower via towards the LK5 overlay

    On my TriBlade pcb, I am able to download fairly consistently once I get the PropTool finding the card properly, as the transistor is overriding the latch output sufficiently to cause a reset.

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    Links to other interesting threads:

    · Home of the MultiBladeProps: TriBlade,·RamBlade,·SixBlade, website
    · Single Board Computer:·3 Propeller ICs·and a·TriBladeProp board (ZiCog Z80 Emulator)
    · Prop Tools under Development or Completed (Index)
    · Emulators: CPUs Z80 etc; Micros Altair etc;· Terminals·VT100 etc; (Index) ZiCog (Z80) , MoCog (6809)·
    · Prop OS: SphinxOS·, PropDos , PropCmd··· Search the Propeller forums·(uses advanced Google search)
    My cruising website is: ·www.bluemagic.biz·· MultiBlade Props: www.cluso.bluemagic.biz
  • OmikronOmikron Posts: 22
    edited 2010-04-24 - 08:36:33
    I put 180R between the latch output and -R of J11. This is not 100% kosher, but it allows the transistor to pull it low and the latch RST1 signal is still working
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2010-04-24 - 09:00:00
    Omikron: That should be fine.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Links to other interesting threads:

    · Home of the MultiBladeProps: TriBlade,·RamBlade,·SixBlade, website
    · Single Board Computer:·3 Propeller ICs·and a·TriBladeProp board (ZiCog Z80 Emulator)
    · Prop Tools under Development or Completed (Index)
    · Emulators: CPUs Z80 etc; Micros Altair etc;· Terminals·VT100 etc; (Index) ZiCog (Z80) , MoCog (6809)·
    · Prop OS: SphinxOS·, PropDos , PropCmd··· Search the Propeller forums·(uses advanced Google search)
    My cruising website is: ·www.bluemagic.biz·· MultiBlade Props: www.cluso.bluemagic.biz
  • bpragerbprager Posts: 22
    edited 2011-01-12 - 09:04:33
    Questions on your tri-blade. Can the functionality of the props be altered? I was looking at a design where 1 was for display and comms, 2 was SD functions and 3 was for heavy duty math/trig.

    My code nicely splits ups this way with only needing some comms between the props to keep everything functioning.

    Can I "reprogram/modify" the tri-blade for this? I don't need the mouse,video, etc ( display is a 4x20, and keyboard is a custom) and overall board size has limits to fit into a special enclosure.

    If there was a way to "retask" your tri-blade, that would be a great leap forwards for me.

    If this is off-topic, please feel free to post private and I can converse off-line.

    Thanks for your time!

    BruceP
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 23,010
    edited 2011-01-12 - 10:12:33
    The functionality of each of the Props is constrained by what's connected to them. If you're not using the mouse connector or the video connector, there are resistors attached to those I/O pins that may limit how those pins can be used unless you remove them. Apart from that, you can use any of the Props any way you want. Prop #2 does have the large SRAM attached which uses most of the I/O pins which does limit how it can be used. If you free up some I/O pins on Prop #1, you could attach another SD card there and not use the SD card socket attached to Prop #2 if you want (or you could use both of them). There is also SRAM attached to Prop #1, but using fewer I/O pins. You could remove that and reuse those I/O pins. Prop #3 is normally used for "heavy duty math/trig" because there is very little I/O attached to it, so the I/O pins are uncommitted. You could certainly use it for almost anything if you attach the necessary hardware to it.
  • RossHRossH Posts: 4,678
    edited 2011-01-12 - 14:16:35
    bprager wrote: »
    Questions on your tri-blade. Can the functionality of the props be altered? I was looking at a design where 1 was for display and comms, 2 was SD functions and 3 was for heavy duty math/trig.

    My code nicely splits ups this way with only needing some comms between the props to keep everything functioning.

    Can I "reprogram/modify" the tri-blade for this? I don't need the mouse,video, etc ( display is a 4x20, and keyboard is a custom) and overall board size has limits to fit into a special enclosure.

    If there was a way to "retask" your tri-blade, that would be a great leap forwards for me.

    If this is off-topic, please feel free to post private and I can converse off-line.

    Thanks for your time!

    BruceP

    Hi Bruce,

    Cluso's TriBladeProp is probably the most versatile of the multi-prop boards currently available.

    Catalina can use all the blades on the TriBlade, and can load programs serially from one prop to another (I normally load all programs from blade 2, which has the SD Card adaptor). I also wrote some proxy drivers that implement a serial protocol that allows one prop to use the devices attached to another prop (e.g. to allow blade 1 to use the SD Card attached to blade 2, or blade 2 to use the display and keybaord attached to blade 1). Adding a more general purpose inter-prop comms protocol would be be quite easy.

    Ross.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2011-01-12 - 16:59:29
    The TriBlade is extremely versatile...
    Options can be done at build time since the pcb was sold bare. However, the pcb was extremely expensive to produce as it was made locally. This company now make their pcbs overseas so the cost may have come down considerably. Currently I have none left apart from a couple of failed pcbs (failed bare pcb testing). If there was interest I could have some more made but I think I have only had 2 enquiries since I ran out about a year ago.

    Anyway, here is what it can do...

    The pcb has separate sections for a PropPlug (FTDI chip is SMT), and power supply (from Plugpack 6-9V) 5V and 3V3 regulators, and 3 uncommitted LEDs

    Prop 1:
    * Prop, xtal, 64KB eeprom
    * Optional 128/512KB SRAM with a latch
    * Optional 2 x PS2 connectors for Keyboard & Mouse
    * Optional RCA connector for TV (composite video)
    * Optional VGA connector
    To my knowledge, no-one has used this SRAM. If the SRAM is used, then only the keyboard/mouse & TV OR VGA is available.
    A set of links are provided so the options can be changed.

    Prop 2: Is specifically designed for a processing powerhouse without I/O other than a 2 pin serial connection.
    I modelled the RamBlade from this section.
    * Prop, xtal, 64KB eeprom (Sapieha has overclocked this to 120MHz although I would only recommend 104-108MHz)
    * microSD
    * 512KB SRAM although 2x 512KB SRAM can be fitted
    * provision for SPI Flash

    Prop 3: This is a general purpose prop with headers for expansion
    * Prop, xtal, 64KB eeprom
    * Headers for expansion connections - could also use the Keyboard/Mouse and VGA connections on Prop 1 via a cable.
  • bpragerbprager Posts: 22
    edited 2011-01-12 - 17:29:41
    Do you have methods for a common clock between each prop, and a way to send data/flags between props so that one prop can take an action based on what another calculates?

    Ross mentioned Catalina C which is something we are looking into if that is required (or recommended).

    Prop2 has a 512K or 2 512K SRAMs on it, and/or SPI flash. I am assuming that this is used for data, not code? What was the original purpose of the latched SRAM on Prop1?

    Lastly, if PS2/RCA/VGA is not needed, what is the PCB size? (The pcb needs to fit within certain size limits)

    Thanks for all your time and help. It is much appreciated.
  • RossHRossH Posts: 4,678
    edited 2011-01-12 - 18:01:19
    bprager wrote: »
    Do you have methods for a common clock between each prop, and a way to send data/flags between props so that one prop can take an action based on what another calculates?
    Easy enough to the comms part yourself - there is provision for serial comms between the props when the various jumpers are set correctly.
    bprager wrote: »
    Prop2 has a 512K or 2 512K SRAMs on it, and/or SPI flash. I am assuming that this is used for data, not code? What was the original purpose of the latched SRAM on Prop1?
    Cluso is best placed to answer this - perhaps he intended it to be used as for graphics buffers. However, Catalina can use the SRAM on both blades for both code and data - i.e. to execute programs up to 1Mb in size on blade 2 and up to 512kb on blade 1.

    Ross.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2011-01-12 - 22:52:35
    The latched SRAM was a slower RAM and intended for slower access such as a video buffer (I think this could be achieved) or as extra code space, same as in Prop2. Note however, when I say extra code space, you need Catalina to use it. Spin cannot access it as code space and of course neither can pasm. We do however use it as Z80 code space in emulating the Z80.

    The pcb is not designed to chop off the VGA/TV end. However, it can be cut approximately in half to separate Blade 1 and also Blade 3 can be cut off. But remember, unless I get some more manufactured I don't have any pcbs left. I worked up a new design that only had 1 SRAM for Prop2 and no SRAM for Prop1 but didn't proceed - it's a smaller pcb of course and thru hole.
  • bpragerbprager Posts: 22
    edited 2011-01-13 - 06:56:20
    Cluso, your board sounds very close to what we are trying to do. Would you be willing to take this offline and discuss possible development of a smaller tri-blade pcb that has what we need?

    I would think it would effectively be a "cut-down" version with slightly different memory features to support our application.

    In any case, I thank all who have responded for their help. It has greatly helped me solidify what we need to do and what tools we need to use.

    Bruce
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2011-01-13 - 12:38:53
    Yes, we are discussing offline :)
  • Cluso99 wrote: »
    Links to my boards are in my signature below (except the new P8XBlade2 which has just been released today - see the forum)
    While I have yet to develop a multi-Prop project (multiple Props on the same PCB, that is), I can tell that a lot of consideration went into the development of TriBladeProp. It appeals to me.

    I'd like to get a better look at the PCB and/or schematic, but I don't see where the information is posted (on this thread nor on http://bluemagic.biz/tribladeprop.htm )

    Also, on this page: http://bluemagic.biz/sixbladeprop.htm , you have some fine looking 3D renderings. Is the rendering derived from a PCB file, or have you replicated it manually into a CAD?
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 16,661
    edited 2015-12-15 - 07:38:55
    Peter J kindly did the rendering on the sixblade. I presume he derived it from the pcb file (protel 95).
    I have spent too much time trying to get decent rendering. It is necessary to use specific pcb layout packages that have restrictions if they are free, or else the pcb software costs heaps. And I know the ins and outs of Protel95 even tho its quite old, and I own a license.

    Links to the Schematics for the TriBlade are under the first pic on this page http://bluemagic.biz/tribladeprop.htm
    I designed the SixBlade (my first prop design) and while the pcb was being made I improved my design and made the TriBlade. I never assembled the SixBlade. The TriBlade was made on a panel of 5 pcbs, so I could have 15 props on panel. The RamBlade is on a panel of 10, and the P8XBlade2 is also on a panel of 10.

    Below is a pic of my commercial 3 prop solution. One prop has 512KB SRAM and SD and runs a large Catalina C program which uses large databases on the SD card. The second prop handles an RS232 device and another interface, plus a link to the third prop (separate boards) that handle a keypad and LCD. Sorry I cannot give any more details.
    281 x 346 - 49K
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