Propeller Platform (PCB layout), Nuts and Volts May 2009 page 70

yarisboyyarisboy Posts: 245
edited September 2009 in Propeller 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
I see Mr. Jon Williams beat me to press with a nifty Propeller mini-board from Express. Do we have a group buy set up for this board yet. If anyone out there has spent the $60 bucks it takes to buy three of these I'd like to buy one of the left-overs. In larger quantities we would have leverage for pricing.
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Comments

  • 31 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,283
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You can download the files for free from the Nuts&Volts website...

    This is a nice breakout board for beginners.· Plus, I'm glad to see someone else doing ExpressPCB....

    Here's a link to a page with the download on it:

    http://www.nutsvolts.com/index.php?/magazine/article/spinning_up_embedded_control_projects

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    My Prop Info&Apps: ·http://www.rayslogic.com/propeller/propeller.htm

    Post Edited (Rayman) : 6/9/2009 5:25:38 PM GMT
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • HollyMinkowskiHollyMinkowski Posts: 1,398
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I just scanned an image of the board from the magazine.
    http://i39.tinypic.com/j91120.jpg

    They have a nice 2nd socket for an extra eeprom on this board.

    I am going to use a 28pin zif on my dev boards when I make them.
    There are several of them here and I can wire them up to take
    several eeproms as needed.

    From the article (I can relate to this!)
    "The propellers program is stored in an off-board eeprom. This last point has stuck in the craw of some professional developers. This
    is being addressed in the next generation propeller by encoding the eeprom with an encryption key that is burned into the propeller (OTP)
    This encoding will look like gibberish to any propeller chip that does not contain the proper key. "

    My question is will this be any more secure than the scheme used to protect code in ARM and AVR chips? Because code has certainly
    been pulled out of those. And most importantly, will the eeprom be on the silicon with the propeller instead of external in the new design??
    [The Bug Stops Here]
  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,462
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    This has been discussed at length in the past in this forum. The Prop II's EEPROM will also be external because the manufacturing process doesn't support EEPROM structures. It looks like there will be a fusible ROM, probably 32 bits (one long) that could be used for a key or other purposes. As you mentioned it's not hard to open up a package and do a scan of any part of the structure to read out a ROM or EEPROM or trace the wiring on the chip. It's not quite in the hobbyist realm, but there are all sorts of companies that will do this for a reasonable fee.
  • HollyMinkowskiHollyMinkowski Posts: 1,398
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Mike Green

    Hi Mike smile.gif
    So sad the new propeller will still use external...but if it simply can't be done then there is nothing more to say.
    I guess it could be done but that the new chip would cost a bunch more?


    A person could be sneaky and use a surface mount eeprom and place it beneath the propeller chip, soldered to the board
    and superglued to the propeller so that it would maybe be damaged if you tried to pull off the prop. wink.gif
    Then have a second eeprom mounted nearby (a decoy) filled with buggy code that seems to work but not quite...LoL wink.gif
    It would probably be just as safe as encrypted code on an eeprom since the key would have to be there as well.

    I heard of a project that encrypted data that was stored in flash with a randomly generated key.
    I gathered that the idea was to keep snoopers out since no key was on the chip. But the only way
    I can see that the data could have been decoded was to somehow know the random key that was
    generated (that was not possible since they used noise from a diode to generate a truly random key)
    Or use a very short key that was then brute forced (seems unlikely because the key length I heard of
    seemed way too long) Or use an encryption algorithm that had a known secret weakness (unlikely since
    the algo is considered secure?) Or use a supercomputer to brute force the key (seems very wasteful of expensive
    computer time) --- I admit this still has me stumped how the data was useful!?

    BTW... You seem to be one of the brighter bulbs here on this board smile.gif
    [The Bug Stops Here]
  • dMajodMajo Posts: 718
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @HollyMinkowski

    I have solved this problem with the ramtron FM31L278 device in place of usual eeprom. It replaces the eeprom function, add a unique serial number to my products, have a RTC (if you not need it choose the FM32L278 device) and have counters working(counting) also in battery backed mode.

    The encryption key is stored as a counter preset value. The counter trigger pins are wired on enclosure switch, photodiode ... and similar, depends on the product. If anyone opens the box, even in absence of power, the counter value increases changing in this way the encryption key: program in fram(eeprom) unreadable! Of course you can upload a new software in propeller ram and with this get the current key and eeprom image: is up to you to prevent this - so easy.

    regards
    Propeller Object Exchange (last Publications / Updates) --- Oldbitcollector's guest map
    JustForMe
  • parts-man73parts-man73 Posts: 830
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    HollyMinkowski said...
    BTW... You seem to be one of the brighter bulbs here on this board smile.gif

    He certainly is - anyone remember this thread ? http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?p=627297

    It was even suggested that a Mike Green Action Figure be created.

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    Brian

    uController.com - home of SpinStudio - the modular Development system for the Propeller

    PropNIC - Add ethernet ability to your Propeller! PropJoy - Plug in a joystick and play some games!

    SD card Adapter - mass storage for the masses Audio/Video adapter add composite video and sound to your Proto Board
    ___________________________________________________________________________
  • ElectricAyeElectricAye Posts: 4,561
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    parts-man73 said...

    It was even suggested that a Mike Green Action Figure be created.

    Such an action figure would come on a marble pedastal dressed in a philosopher's tunic.· Mike is the ancient Greek's Delphic Oracle moved to Minnesota.· His usual technique is not to answer your questions outright but to give you just enough info to cause you to think until the little lightbulb goes off in your head, which, of course, makes you actually learn the stuff a lot better.· Like the inscription above the Delphic Oracle carved in stone, "Know Thyself."

    smile.gif

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    Watching the world pass me by, one photon at a time.
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,740
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You're right, Rayman, the Propeller Platform is not that impressive -- but I didn't design it to impress anyone, I designed it to to help myself and others learn Propeller Programming with a small, modular (hence reusable) platform. As I stated in my column, this [noparse][[/noparse]modular] approach as used by the Arduino is a good one. With BST the P/P goes head-to-head against the Arduino in the world where experimenters want a non-committed board and can program on the operating system of their choice.

    Before anyone goes through the effort to organize a group buy I have good news: our friend, Ken Gracey, has agreed to make the P/P available as a kit. It might be a one-time deal but it will be a deal. I've also had a conversation with Nick over at Gadget Gangster to make future project boards available as kits. Just to be fair to Nick, however, they have to be financially viable for him to commit to the number of boards that would make the price consumer-friendly. I'm hoping future projects in my column will be interesting enough to warrant kits (I tend to get a lot of email from the column asking to buy my spare boards). I'm also hoping that other experimenters will design plug-in modules (what the Arduino crowd calls "shields") for the Propeller Platform.

    I've attached a photo of my P/P that will appear in the July issue and is the basis for the kit that Parallax is building (@Rayman: I'll send you the files if you'd like to post them on your site with the other Propeller boards). BTW, my column is now re-titled: "The Spin Zone - Adventures in Propeller Programming." My goal is to provide sound programming guidance for those, like me, who crave something between the beginner's material that is in abundance and the hardcore stuff provided by gurus like Mike, Phil, Beau, and Chip. I think there's a lot of us in that middle ground.

    See you at the expo.

    Jon
    800 x 590 - 376K
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"
  • ElectricAyeElectricAye Posts: 4,561
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    JonnyMac said...
    ... "The Spin Zone - Adventures in Propeller Programming." My goal is to provide sound programming guidance for those, like me, who crave something between the beginner's material that is in abundance and the hardcore stuff provided by gurus like Mike, Phil, Beau, and Chip. I think there's a lot of us in that middle ground....

    Sounds like my kind of stuff. Nice looking board! Thanks for putting it together.


    smile.gif
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,283
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    JonnyMac: It looks very nice! Sorry about my initial reaction...· I've revised history.

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    My Prop Info&Apps: ·http://www.rayslogic.com/propeller/propeller.htm

    Post Edited (Rayman) : 6/9/2009 5:26:12 PM GMT
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • Toby SeckshundToby Seckshund Posts: 2,010
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    JonnyMac: I very much agree that a non commital board is great for those initial "I wonder if" s. One of my bd is Arduino + shield (ish), the AV and kbd and mouse bits or on a risered shield, so that the prop can becomes digital only for my Z80 bits.

    My first "demobd" had a small 30 way breadboard but now the Mk2 has one about 3 times the size and has been shoved into a Beta (SP) case with all the conections and regs. This is tough enough for the laptop bag.
  • Shawn LoweShawn Lowe Posts: 567
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I personally would love to see this kit! Good Idea Jon!

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    Shawn Lowe


    When all else fails.....procrastinate!
  • Bill HenningBill Henning Posts: 6,445
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Looks like a nice, small, useful board.
    JonnyMac said...
    You're right, Rayman, the Propeller Platform is not that impressive -- but I didn't design it to impress anyone, I designed it to to help myself and others learn Propeller Programming with a small, modular (hence reusable) platform. As I stated in my column, this [noparse][[/noparse]modular] approach as used by the Arduino is a good one. With BST the P/P goes head-to-head against the Arduino in the world where experimenters want a non-committed board and can program on the operating system of their choice.
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    Las - Large model assembler for the Propeller (alpha version this week)
    Largos - a feature full nano operating system for the Propeller
    www.mikronauts.com - a new blog about microcontrollers
    www.mikronauts.com / E-mail: mikronauts _at_ gmail _dot_ com / @Mikronauts on Twitter
    RoboPi: The most advanced Robot controller for the Raspberry Pi (Propeller based)
  • parts-man73parts-man73 Posts: 830
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Jon

    Ever consider SpinStudio as a base? As the kits are already readily available and affordable ($34.99 for the MainBoard, which includes a Propeller and EEPROM, and all the other parts needed to complete it) plus many other peripheral modules already available that are also priced reasonably.

    I know you already started your magazine series, and at this point, it'd be too late to say "hey, remember that PCB in the last issue.... well forget about that one...." But I see most of the parts that make up a SpinStudio are on that board, just a different PCB and headers, It'd be really simple for me to kit these as well, and offer them for a price identical to that of the SpinStudio Mainboard.

    As far as add-on boards. Most of the peripheral boards for SpinStudio could work with your design. This document ucontroller.com/spinsolderlessmod.pdf explains how. I illustrated plugging in to a Solderless Breadboard, but the same idea could work with your board, the 8 IO pins will plug in to the headers on that board, then an extension wire can plug into 3.3V, 5V and VSS as necessary. Just an idea to easily add peripheral devices until a proper IO shield is designed.(maybe I'll take you up on that challange)

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    Brian

    uController.com - home of SpinStudio - the modular Development system for the Propeller

    PropNIC - Add ethernet ability to your Propeller! PropJoy - Plug in a joystick and play some games!

    SD card Adapter - mass storage for the masses Audio/Video adapter add composite video and sound to your Proto Board
    ___________________________________________________________________________
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,283
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Jon: I would definitely like to add your board to the others on my website! I'll give it definite prominance due to the attention it's getting...

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    My Prop Info&Apps: ·http://www.rayslogic.com/propeller/propeller.htm
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,740
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Brian,

    I didn't because I'm a bit of a control freak over anything that goes into my column, and for specific reasons I wanted my board to be very Arduino-like (small, stackable) while fitting onto ExpressPCB's miniboard size requirement. I pointed out in my first column that there are a lot of good products I haven't personally used and at some future point I will provide a list of companies like yours.
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"
  • RaymanRayman Posts: 8,283
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I've added Jon's design to the top of my custom boards page:

    http://www.rayslogic.com/propeller/PropPCB/PCB_Boards.htm

    How's that for a change of heart?

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    My Prop Info&Apps: ·http://www.rayslogic.com/propeller/propeller.htm
    Prop Info and Apps: http://www.rayslogic.com/
  • yarisboyyarisboy Posts: 245
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'd already started an Express mini-board layout very similar to the one in the article. I've got the parts in stock and now I don't even have to finish it. I can move on to the application board to stack on top of (or below) the board by JonnyMac. My wages have declined by 40% in the last five years and I've arrived in this hobby as a cheaper alternative to the nifty(expensive) things I used to be able to do in other related areas. I have to meet four marks to consider any of my projects "impressive": 1) Get it running and optimized quickly. 2) Do it cheaply. 3) Screw the lid down on the box and use it daily. And 4) use the KSAs gained on a more challenging project soon.
    I work for the nations largest University. There are many professors there that can design rings around me. The difference is they don't use their own money. Any individual project is not a destination to impress, but is merely a stepping stone to whatever I can accomplish through continual striving. I sometimes design without doing a lot of research into how its been done in the past. You'd be surprised how entrenched thinking is in both circuit design and software design. AMD whopped Intel a decade ago by bringing in green horns and saying: "This is what the black box must do". When they turned them loose the race was on and, we the consumers, won. Is the competition between the Microchip camp and the Propeller newbies any different? I've done one successful layout. I took a couple of classes in EM theory and RF design way back in the '90s and am seeing the applied theories show up in my more experienced colleges layouts. As I transition from the slow BS2 to the Propeller the low-noise board designs will become even more important. I appreciate the open info environment allowed by these types of forums. Once hiring managers decide you are too old to be an engineer you may have to re-invent wheels on your own. Some times you discover a wheel works poorly but a mobius strip works perfectly. Yes, I had to look up "topology" lately. When I see the word bandied about in a technical paper I always suspect the author is a technical snob and the paper will be long and have a hard time making its point. Ditto for data sheets on chips.

    Post Edited (yarisboy) : 6/10/2009 1:25:52 AM GMT
  • hinvhinv Posts: 824
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I understand the excitement about the propeller, but what is so exciting about the Arduino? I have seen references to it all over the place as if it was something special. Maybe I am missing something?
  • parts-man73parts-man73 Posts: 830
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    @Jon - I certainly can relate to that. I've said it before but, your Nuts and Volts articles are great, The first column you wrote back right before the Propeller's release was the hook that brought me to the Parallax forums.

    Which leads me to hinv's statement...."but what is so exciting about the Arduino?" When I read about the Propeller I remember thinking "You mean with just a few resistors and a connector I can do Video????" I had to have one.

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    Brian

    uController.com - home of SpinStudio - the modular Development system for the Propeller

    PropNIC - Add ethernet ability to your Propeller! PropJoy - Plug in a joystick and play some games!

    SD card Adapter - mass storage for the masses Audio/Video adapter add composite video and sound to your Proto Board
    ___________________________________________________________________________
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,083
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    While Jon's board isn't perfect for me. (Even still I'll just have to have one. [noparse]:)[/noparse]
    I think it may build a bridge to our Arduino friends who think in terms of shields.

    I for one welcome new Arduino user traffic as a result.

    What I can't figure out is what they all find so exciting about the thing. ditto. ditto.

    OBC

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    New to the Propeller?

    Visit the: The Propeller Pages @ Warranty Void.
    <br>
  • dantakkdantakk Posts: 4
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'd love to see a Propeller board that is (mostly) pin compatible with Arduino shields. Dare I dream of 100% compatibility using an ADC chip? The layout would have to be slightly different to accommodate the Propeller's extra pins, but I'm sure it could be done in a way that still fits most shields. I have a couple of shields I'd like to connect to the propeller without redesigning a new breakout or wiring up a rats nest. And having the option to source 5V directly from the USB port would be handy too, it makes the board more accessible to microcontroller beginners.
  • Toby SeckshundToby Seckshund Posts: 2,010
    edited June 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I started back with microcontrollers with· a 8051 demo board that would also take a pin compatable AVR. The AVRs extra features soon grabbed my attention and eventually I tried the Arduino mainly because it was "C ish" with its IDE. A lunchtime play box was put together but then I wanted a TV/VGA output and the Ybox2 was noticed ... prop grabbed! Even though the sanguino variant gives 64Kb flash, 4Kb ram, the same IO pin count, UARTS, A-D ...

    I enjoy the dreaming, design, construction probably more than the use of any project. It is me trying to prove to myself "I could do that". Therefore a common base board with the ability to be changed by addons is more suitable. I seldom go from dream to final object.

    The ease of SPIN and 32 bits has done me a disservice in that I have turned away from C yet again, I really should learn it.
  • WhitWhit Posts: 3,690
    edited July 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The July, Nuts and Volts has another great article by Jon Williams using the Propeller Platform. The·column is the "Spin Zone, Adventures in Propeller Programming."

    He mentions, agian, that Parallax will make this board available - Does anyone know·when this might be?

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    Whit+


    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
    Whit+

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 5,740
    edited July 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    After some discussion with Ken Gracey and Nick McClanahan, the Propeller Platform will be produced by the Gadget Gangster (www.gadgetgangster.com). This actually makes better sense vis-a-vis the way the two companies do business. I made some tweaks to the layout to accommodate parts Nick already had in stock and he has ordered a couple prototypes. We'll build them up next week just to make sure everything is in order and I don't think it will be too long after that before you can get kits.
    Jon McPhalen
      *It's "Jon" or "JonnyMac" -- please don't call me "Jonny"
  • WhitWhit Posts: 3,690
    edited July 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Great! Thanks Jon!

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    Whit+


    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
    Whit+

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,083
    edited July 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ditto that!

    I'm looking forward to these and continued articles!
    Hope I can order one before next month's article!

    OBC

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    New to the Propeller?

    Visit the: The Propeller Pages @ Warranty Void.
    <br>
  • charleyshfcharleyshf Posts: 165
    edited September 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hi,



    I recently got this kit and built it, its pretty nice, easy to work on. Something I was wondering about is that I am only getting 4.92 VDC output on the regulated 5v side of this board. I had re-checked all my connections which are fine.· I also tried a different power suply, as well as a different meter. Is this normal for this board?



    Thank You










    Post Edited (charleyshf) : 9/24/2009 10:47:05 PM GMT
  • Nick McClickNick McClick Posts: 1,003
    edited September 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I don't think it's anything to worry about - it's within variance for that regulator (datasheet) and any 5V parts you have should work fine at 4.92V

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    Gadget Gangster - Share your Electronic Projects
  • charleyshfcharleyshf Posts: 165
    edited September 2009 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Thank you..
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