MicroMite Companion: A new Propeller board in production..

Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
edited December 2014 in Propeller 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
Karl and I have been working on another Propeller project, which will soon become hardware reality.

The MicroMite Companion MMC


The board uses both the Propeller and the Micromite in concert providing a self-contained, MMBASIC enviroment. Full support has been maintained for the Propeller side, allowing reprogramming, and access to it's open I/O pins. In addition the Micromite's I/O is open as well. The software combines the strenghts of the two chips is a way to provide a stand-alone user experience that is exicting for the retro computer enthusist, the Propellerhead, or a beginner to intermediate microcontroller user.

You might say I'm pretty excited to see this move from prototype to production soon. (Expected in stock mid-August)

MMC.jpeg


Edit: Added from an additional post to explain the MicroMite Companion;

The hardware for this board is configured as follows:

* The Propeller handles Keyboard input, audio output, SD, and VGA (64/256 color selectable) output.
* The remaining, open Propeller I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
* The Wii and IR interfaces have default connections to the Micromite, but can be hardware selected to the Propeller using shunt jumpers.
* The remaining, open Micromite I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
* Propplug compatible connections are provided for direct connection to both the Micromite and the Propeller.

The software is configured as follows:

* Initially, the Propeller acts as a VT100 terminal for the Micromite on from it's console pins.
* Additionally, there are two more interconnections between the Micromite's I2C pins and the Propeller, with the Propeller acting as an I2C slave.
* The Micromite contains an onboard programming EDITOR and 22K of MMBASIC programming space.
* Files can be saved and loaded between the onboard EDITOR and SD using built-in Xmodem communication which happens between the Propeller and the Micromite.
* Because the Propeller has the ability to kickstart new binaries from the SD, we can launch additional video/audio modes, and/or start other Propeller programs.
* MMBASIC provides support for older BASIC programs as well as digital I/O support including SPI, I2C, Onewire, and two additional serial connections.
* MMBASIC also provides support for SERVOS, ADC, LCD, and RTC.
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Comments

  • 84 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • PublisonPublison Posts: 10,317
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Nice one Jeff!
    Infernal Machine
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Jeff,

    Will you be populating the Micromite? I ask only because the shipping on a chip is more than the chip. It might be an opportunity for you to earn a few extra shekels and save your customers a few shekels, too.

    BTW, I've really loved this combo (Micromite & Prop) ever since Rick explained how we could leverage the MMBASIC editor. I wish you success!
    Platåberget
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Yes, I have permission from the author of the Micromite to distribute and include the needed chip.

    Jeff
    <br>
  • TrapperBobTrapperBob Posts: 109
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Sign me up for a couple! Looks great.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Looks like yet another of your boards that I need to build! Nice job!
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just got an email from production... Boards are on their way.

    We'll do two different kits for these in this first run. With and without the Micromite since several have already purchased the chip to prototype from CircuitGizmos.

    The software side of this project is really starting to take some interesting turns as well.
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Nice to have the option to buy everything except the Micromite. I bought a couple already to play with and could use one for this board. Thanks for offering that option.
  • NWCCTVNWCCTV Posts: 3,629
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Please explain what the capabilities of this board are.
    Andy North

    My Index Page:
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    NWCCTV wrote: »
    Please explain what the capabilities of this board are.

    The hardware for this board is configured as follows:

    * The Propeller handles Keyboard input, audio output, SD, and VGA (64/256 color selectable) output.
    * The remaining, open Propeller I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
    * The Wii and IR interfaces have default connections to the Micromite, but can be hardware selected to the Propeller using shunt jumpers.
    * The remaining, open Micromite I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
    * Propplug compatible connections are provided for direct connection to both the Micromite and the Propeller.

    The software is configured as follows:

    * Initially, the Propeller acts as a VT100 terminal for the Micromite on from it's console pins.
    * Additionally, there are two more interconnections between the Micromite's I2C pins and the Propeller, with the Propeller acting as an I2C slave.
    * The Micromite contains an onboard programming EDITOR and 22K of MMBASIC programming space.
    * Files can be saved and loaded between the onboard EDITOR and SD using built-in Xmodem communication which happens between the Propeller and the Micromite.
    * Because the Propeller has the ability to kickstart new binaries from the SD, we can launch additional video/audio modes, and/or start other Propeller programs.
    * MMBASIC provides support for older BASIC programs as well as digital I/O support including SPI, I2C, Onewire, and two additional serial connections.
    * MMBASIC also provides support for SERVOS, ADC, LCD, and RTC.

    The software for this combination can be found here.

    Does this help? :)

    Jeff
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I hadn't noticed this before but it looks like you removed the sockets for the flash and SRAM chips that were in your Propeller Experimenter's Board. I guess the space was needed for the Micromite chip?
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    yes, the sockets for the FLASH ram and the SRAM were removed to create the required space in the footprint.

    I wanted a full-sized SD card on this unit to make it easier for a beginner (and us blind, old guys) to be able to solder.

    The SRAM really isn't required, as the Micromite gives us plenty of variable space we didn't have before. The FLASH is replicated by the SD.
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    yes, the sockets for the FLASH ram and the SRAM were removed to create the required space in the footprint.

    I wanted a full-sized SD card on this unit to make it easier for a beginner (and us blind, old guys) to be able to solder.

    The SRAM really isn't required, as the Micromite gives us plenty of variable space we didn't have before. The FLASH is replicated by the SD.
    Well, the flash chip was useful for those of us who might want to run largish PropGCC programs that don't fit in hub memory. While there is an SD card cache driver for PropGCC, its performance isn't very good because of the large page size of SD cards.
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Worse case scenerio, we've got open Propeller I/O lines,etc and a breadboard area on this board.

    The Micromite Companion is centered more around BASIC, while the PEB is centered more around the Propeller.
    That being said, there is a lot of overlap between the two board. :)
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    BTW, here's a quick video of the current video mode I'm working for this using the Propeller Gaming Engine.
    This product ISN'T exclusively designed to write video games, but it can certainly do them.

    Sprite control is painless and fast.

    [video=youtube_share;ohu3QUHVW_M]
    <br>
  • mklrobomklrobo Posts: 420
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The hardware for this board is configured as follows:

    * The Propeller handles Keyboard input, audio output, SD, and VGA (64/256 color selectable) output.
    * The remaining, open Propeller I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
    * The Wii and IR interfaces have default connections to the Micromite, but can be hardware selected to the Propeller using shunt jumpers.
    * The remaining, open Micromite I/O is accessable from connection points near the breadboard.
    * Propplug compatible connections are provided for direct connection to both the Micromite and the Propeller.

    The software is configured as follows:

    * Initially, the Propeller acts as a VT100 terminal for the Micromite on from it's console pins.
    * Additionally, there are two more interconnections between the Micromite's I2C pins and the Propeller, with the Propeller acting as an I2C slave.
    * The Micromite contains an onboard programming EDITOR and 22K of MMBASIC programming space.
    * Files can be saved and loaded between the onboard EDITOR and SD using built-in Xmodem communication which happens between the Propeller and the Micromite.
    * Because the Propeller has the ability to kickstart new binaries from the SD, we can launch additional video/audio modes, and/or start other Propeller programs.
    * MMBASIC provides support for older BASIC programs as well as digital I/O support including SPI, I2C, Onewire, and two additional serial connections.
    * MMBASIC also provides support for SERVOS, ADC, LCD, and RTC.

    The software for this combination can be found here.

    Does this help? :)

    Jeff
    :cool: Sounds like a very versitile board. What target consumers do you have in mind, besides the robot enthusiasts? I have a project in mind, that could encorporate your
    board. What support could this offer in robotics, scientific, and industrial categories? & Parallax products add on - quadcopter, boe bot, etc.? :innocent:
  • mklrobomklrobo Posts: 420
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    :nerd: I can see this being used as a standalone console to control industrial equipment, or a remote console to
    fly a quadcopter. Is this in your scope?
  • mklrobomklrobo Posts: 420
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    your description mentions xmodem communication between the propeller and micromite. Can I use the xmodem library in the chips to
    communicate to other devices, such as an HP calc? (had to ask):innocent:
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm not a quad-copter guy myself, but I can see this board being used in robotics very easily. The idea behind this board is to offer as much of both chips as possible in an easy-to-understand language (basic).

    Yes, the Xmodem can be made to work with other devices. We have someone working on an Xmodem control for the PC side which should allow us to very easily upload and download files and programs to this board without having to pull the card.
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited July 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Worse case scenerio, we've got open Propeller I/O lines,etc and a breadboard area on this board.

    The Micromite Companion is centered more around BASIC, while the PEB is centered more around the Propeller.
    That being said, there is a lot of overlap between the two board. :)
    That makes sense for your intended application. I may just stick with the PEB with a Micromite plugged into its breadboard for what I'm going to do.
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Another demo of the Sprite Mode running on the Propeller and a Propeller based Sprite Editor.

    Animation_Demo.jpg
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    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Is this board ready for purchase yet? I just ordered a PICkit 3 programmer so I'm ready to try writing some PIC32 code to talk to the Propeller! :-)

    Edit: I just started watching your video and it sounds like this will be available in a few weeks. Sorry for not checking that first.
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    We expect to have kits for sale by expo time. I'll setup pre-orders next week.

    Jeff
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I've opened this run to pre-order. This kit is everything except the Micromite chip.

    Thread here: http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=619.0
    Pre-order here: http://propellerpowered.com/shop/?page_id=1946

    If the missing Micromite is a problem and you really want to get into this run, let me know. We'll get it worked out for you.

    As of this post, there are four units left of this run.

    Jeff
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    More work on mode "styles" this week as the PET characters are added to Retrotext and a new surprise style.
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just another quick video update.. Thanks to some help from Roadster, I've pushed this demo to 10 animated sprites easily controllable via I2C

    Anyone else still playing with actual Propeller chips on this forum? :) :) :)
    <br>
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 929
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    You convinced me to order four of the micromites. The Sumobots are looking a little nervous ;-)
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Hey Keith,

    When you get your Micromites in, grab your Propeller and come join us with the Micromite Companion project. :)

    http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=574.0
    <br>
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 929
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Your stuff looks fun, but I'm quite busy right now. So small steps... Without having direct experience and relying on what you've shown, it would be neat if Parallax could find a way to turn these in a product or do something with similar capabilities. I guess there's a lot of material written for the Basic Stamps, so it could be a lot of work. Maybe they could crowd source documentation?
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,087
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The pre order has been a huge success! Kitting is in process right now and I'll start shipping pre-order kits as soon as we get them serialized. :)

    The pre order has helped us raise the funds required for a much larger PCB run, and I'll push that out this week as well. We should have plenty of MMC kits in stock for everyone within 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks to all who have participated in this product launch!

    Jeff
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,477
    edited August 2014 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The pre order has been a huge success! Kitting is in process right now and I'll start shipping pre-order kits as soon as we get them serialized. :)

    The pre order has helped us raise the funds required for a much larger PCB run, and I'll push that out this week as well. We should have plenty of MMC kits in stock for everyone within 2-3 weeks.

    Thanks to all who have participated in this product launch!

    Jeff
    No problem! It looks like a cool little board. Beyond just providing a platform for playing with the Micromite, it is the first Propeller board that mates a reasonably powerful standard processor with a Propeller. It should be good for all kinds of experiments. Andre' LaMothe's Chameleon boards did pair up the Propeller with another processor but it wasn't nearly as capable as the PIC32 used in your board. Thanks!
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