MicroMite Companion: A new Propeller board in production..

2

Comments

  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-08-25 - 17:31:33
    Here's a pic!

    MMC_ShotThumb.png


    I'll do my best to get the kitting process done and orders shipped by mid-week.
    400 x 375 - 305K
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-08-26 - 22:23:44
    We completed kitting tonight and pre-order kits which need to be mailed to customers not able to attend this weekend's Expo in Orrville should have them by this weekend or early next week.

    I'll push the larger order right after the Expo and we'll put some delivery "boogie" into it so we'll have them in stock early next month for everyone else.

    The software is developing out very nicely. I'm going to withhold this week's video demo till after the expo. ;)

    Jeff
    <br>
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 955
    edited 2014-08-27 - 12:31:02
    Jeff - where is the best place to watch for availability of new board sets and see the pricing? This might be a cool Christmas present for my nephew.

    I order preprogrammed micromites from circuitgizmos since I didn't want to buy the programming kit until I had the chance to try out a micromite. I was able to download beagle term on an otherwise stock HP chromebook and write programs using a prop plug. This would work well for schools since I've heard that they like chromebooks. Not the most powerful solution but setup is very quick - probably under a minute to download the emulator. (But I don't think this emulator would allow upload/download from google docs.) And their are quirks since I had to use alternate key combinations for the Fn keys.

    Edited to add:

    For OS X out of the box, this applescript can be used for basic programming - from MacWorld site submitter wcontello:

    set baudList to {1200, 2400, 4800, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200, 230400} set baudRate to (choose from list baudList default items {38400}) tell application "Terminal" set serialDevices to (do shell script "ls /dev/cu*") set theDeviceList to (paragraphs of serialDevices) as list set theDevice to (choose from list theDeviceList) do script "screen " & theDevice & " " & baudRate display dialog "To quit your terminal session type <ctrl-a> then <ctrl-\\>" end tell [\code] I think it's nice to have something you can get up right away. It's been a while so I can't remember if I had to install FTDI drivers or not.[code]
    set baudList to {1200, 2400, 4800, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600, 115200, 230400}

    set baudRate to (choose from list baudList default items {38400})

    tell application "Terminal"

    set serialDevices to (do shell script "ls /dev/cu*")

    set theDeviceList to (paragraphs of serialDevices) as list

    set theDevice to (choose from list theDeviceList)

    do script "screen " & theDevice & " " & baudRate

    display dialog "To quit your terminal session type <ctrl-a> then <ctrl-\\>"

    end tell
    [\code]

    I think it's nice to have something you can get up right away. It's been a while so I can't remember if I had to install FTDI drivers or not.
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-08-27 - 13:17:10
    Keith,

    I'm going to push our larger PCB order out either Monday or Tuesday after the Expo excitement has died down. (and I recover) :)

    We will have them in-stock, ready to ship within 15 days of our order. I'll open orders run of kits next week.

    I expect the price will be $59.00+shipping for a complete kit. We'll also offer an assembled version as well.


    I'm also planning to take this project to Kickstarter with the idea of funding a 90 day, full time window to create materials for this kit. I have a long list of projects and related materials which I'm working toward for this project. A successful Kickstarter would allow me the time to rocket this project ahead and present to a new community.

    BTW: All kits were mailed today (or held for pickup for those coming to the Expo)

    Jeff
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-04 - 17:00:00
    It's finally a READY-to-go product! http://propellerpowered.com/shop/?page_id=1946

    Many thanks again to go to all of our pre-order customers who helped us launch this into product form!

    Jeff
    <br>
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 955
    edited 2014-09-04 - 20:52:16
    Congratulations - I had my nephew building a simple video game with a micro mite plus switches and LEDs last weekend (he had the game idea), so if his interest level keeps up this could be in his future for the holidays. He forgot his laptop, so having everything on-board was pretty handy. I guess anyone could easily use game devices like the I2C Wii controller too right? Are you guys building up some sort of basic utilities for people as well as the prop side?

    This could be useful for other things as well - I imagine some simple lab equipment where building a GUI on top of your body of work would be easier than coding a prop from scratch.

    Edited to add: What's this imply "PIC32 installed with MMBASIC with 22k free memory. (Expandable this fall to 54k)." A new version of the PIC chip? (And you did mention things like the Nunchuck controller on your page - should have clicked before posting ;-)

    Now I see: PIC32MX170
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 955
    edited 2014-09-10 - 08:16:42
    OBC is o.k. with me saying that anyone with various Parallax boards lying around can join in on the fun. I was able to use Parallax Demo board + microsd adaptor that I had lying around, and put this on a small piece of wood alongside a protoboard stuffed with a servo, IR demodulator, hcsr04 ultrasonic sensor, PIR sensor, piezo, and the required blinky led. I had only one issue - to make wiring easy, I had to change the pinout and rebuild the bin/mde files. At first I forgot about the latter and wondered why some of the basic demos didn't work. And I did solder one wire to power the servo. But pretty quickly I had a system that I could use to see what OBC is up to, and to judge my nephew's interest. If there is interest, then OBC can provide a Heathkit-like experience for the holidays.

    diymmc.png


    My pinout changes were:

    SDA_pin = 4
    SCL_pin = 5
    TX_PIN = 7
    RX_PIN = 6
    845 x 335 - 496K
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-10 - 09:28:53
    @KeithE

    I am absolutely tickled pink when someone does a build like this to try out the project! My first "Hydra" was a Frankin-style circuit like this that taught me a lot about Propeller hardware.

    I'm going to write an Instructable over the weekend which will teach folks how to build their own "home brew" version from what they have.

    I love the idea of try-it-before you buy it. If your nephew gets excited about it, then we'll have a great kit for him.

    Jeff
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-13 - 18:29:06
    Added an Instructable today targetted at others who have a Propeller board and would like to join the fun.

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Building-your-own-Micromite-Companion-Minicomputer/
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 09:58:06
    I'm ready to power on my MMC and want to make sure I don't fry it. I didn't see anywhere in the assembly instructions that said what voltage the power supply should be. Is 6V enough or do I need to supply more? Is 9V too much?

    Edit: I found it in the manual. All I had read up to this point is the assembly instructions:

    A “center positive” 7.5v-9v, 1amp, DC power supply with 2.1mm barrel connection.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 10:30:41
    I got to the stage of needing to verify that the Propeller and SD card were working. I powered up the board and got to the "Ready" prompt on the VGA display. Unfortunately, when I pressed F8 I got nothing. Does that mean that the SD card isn't working? I would think I'd at least get some sort of error message if it wasn't able to access the card. It almost seems more likely that my PS2 keyboard isn't working. What should I see if I press F8 with or without a working SD card? Should I see anything if the SD card isn't working?
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-14 - 12:56:10
    The likeyhood is that the keyboard isn't working correctly.
    If the SD card isn't able to be mounted, then the symtom is generally a backscreen with lights flashing on the keyboard.
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 17:50:57
    The likeyhood is that the keyboard isn't working correctly.
    If the SD card isn't able to be mounted, then the symtom is generally a backscreen with lights flashing on the keyboard.
    That's sort of what I figured. I'm not sure what is wrong with the keyboard though. It's a Parallax PS2 keyboard that I got with my Hydra ages ago. I'll try to find another keyboard to test with and maybe I'll reheat the solder connections on the PS2 connector in case I have a bad solder joint.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 20:00:14
    Okay, I got my MMC working. I'm ashamed to admit that the PS2 keyboard wasn't working because I reversed two of the resistors on the PS2 connector. Duh!
    After fixing that, the F8 command brought up a list of files on the SD card so I went ahead and finished the build and now MMBasic seems to be working.

    So now I'm wondering what the other headers are for?

    J5 is marked "terminal". What sort of terminal can I connect there?

    What is J8?

    What is J4?

    What is J6?

    Is it possible to reprogram the PIC32 without removing it from the MMC board? There doesn't seem to be an obvious place to plug in the PICkit 3.

    Is there a schematic for the MMC somewhere? I didn't find it browsing the PropellerPowered site.

    Oh and by the way, the MMC is awesome! Can't wait to play with it more.
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-14 - 20:25:04
    David,

    Congratulations!

    I'll answer as best I can and then edit this if I get any wrong when Jeff responds.

    J5 - it is for the RX/TX lines on the micromite. I think you need to cut traces then install the header block at J8 to allow you to either have RX/TX on the micromite connected to the Propeller (normal MMC mode) or brought out to the terminal header where you could connect a USB/TTL type serial interface to talk directly to the micromite.

    J8 - see above. Jumpers for where the micromite RX/TX are connected.

    J4 - Same idea for the WII connector. Cut traces, install the header block and then you can connect WII directly to the micromite or the Propeller. Default is to connect it to the micromite pins.

    J6 - Same idea for the IR sensor. Cut trace, install header pins and you can select if the IR goes to the micromite (default) or the Propeller.

    It's not possible to program the PIC chip in circuit. The ICSP circuit was not built in (nice addition for rev 2 if possible). You need to pull the PIC and reprogram with with PICkit3 and breadboard ICSP (or some other board that has ICSP)

    I haven't seen a final schematic yet. I think Jeff would post it up soon.

    Yes, the MMC is a pretty awesome little board to play with.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 20:35:35
    mindrobots wrote: »
    David,

    Congratulations!

    I'll answer as best I can and then edit this if I get any wrong when Jeff responds.

    J5 - it is for the RX/TX lines on the micromite. I think you need to cut traces then install the header block at J8 to allow you to either have RX/TX on the micromite connected to the Propeller (normal MMC mode) or brought out to the terminal header where you could connect a USB/TTL type serial interface to talk directly to the micromite.

    J8 - see above. Jumpers for where the micromite RX/TX are connected.

    J4 - Same idea for the WII connector. Cut traces, install the header block and then you can connect WII directly to the micromite or the Propeller. Default is to connect it to the micromite pins.

    J6 - Same idea for the IR sensor. Cut trace, install header pins and you can select if the IR goes to the micromite (default) or the Propeller.

    It's not possible to program the PIC chip in circuit. The ICSP circuit was not built in (nice addition for rev 2 if possible). You need to pull the PIC and reprogram with with PICkit3 and breadboard ICSP (or some other board that has ICSP)

    I haven't seen a final schematic yet. I think Jeff would post it up soon.

    Yes, the MMC is a pretty awesome little board to play with.
    Thanks for your answers. It's very disappointing that there is no connector to reprogram the PIC32 chip without removing it from the board. I wouldn't have bought the MMC had I known that. My goal was to work on a C-like language whose compiler runs on the PIC32 but the generated code runs on the Propeller. I even bought a PICkit 3 to reprogram the PIC32 chip but I guess I'm going to have to find some other PIC32 board and move the chip back and forth every time I need to program it. I realize that being a general purpose Propeller+PIC32 development board was not a design goal of the MMC but I had hoped it could be used that way. I guess not at least for Rev 1. :-(
  • Roger LeeRoger Lee Posts: 339
    edited 2014-09-14 - 20:53:13
    mindrobots wrote:
    It's not possible to program the PIC chip in circuit.

    When you say not possible, do you really mean not possible? Or do you mean not easy?
    You have much more experience than I on this subject.
    (you have reprogrammed 6 of them for me, some of them more than once :smile:)

    What is really missing?


    MicroMite (PIC) pins 4 and 5 are brought out to the headers, power and gnd are avaliable.
    Is it the MCLR (reset) pin?

    just asking.

    Roger.

  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-14 - 21:06:10
    I think the target audience is more people wanting a retro PC than people like us that are twisting it into strange shapes. :lol:

    Let me try something with one of the MuP boards I get from Australia. If I can find a long pinned 28 pin DIP socket, it could be plugged into the MMC in place of the PIC32MX chip and provide the platform you want. The MuP has ICSP built into it so you can reprogram the PIC. I have a feeling I won't find any sockets like that.

    A MuP could of course be connected onto the MMC (sort of a graft) in place of the onboard PIC. The Propeller pins it needs to talk are all brought out on J10 (P12-P15). That solution is pretty easy...and pretty ugly!

    MMBASIC just recently became available for the PIC32MX170 chips which have more memory - MMBASIC goes from having 22K of usable FLASH and 22K of RAM on the MX150 to having 54K of FLASH and 52K of RAM on the MX170. It sounds like the MX170 would also benefit your project but you may already have been looking at those.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-14 - 21:09:43
    Roger Lee wrote: »
    When you say not possible, do you really mean not possible? Or do you mean not easy?
    You have much more experience than I on this subject.
    (you have reprogrammed 6 of them for me, some of them more than once :smile:)

    What is really missing?


    MicroMite (PIC) pins 4 and 5 are brought out to the headers, power and gnd are avaliable.
    Is it the MCLR (reset) pin?

    just asking.

    Roger.

    Good point, MCLR is pin 1 on the PIC - I think it gets pulled high via 10K in the ICSP circuit. I'll look at that tomorrow (ok. it's already tomorrow, how about after some sleep!), that may be an easy(er) solution.

    Glad you are thinking Roger....and thanks for pointing out the "extra" programming effort!
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-14 - 21:18:18
    mindrobots wrote: »
    MMBASIC just recently became available for the PIC32MX170 chips which have more memory - MMBASIC goes from having 22K of usable FLASH and 22K of RAM on the MX150 to having 54K of FLASH and 52K of RAM on the MX170. It sounds like the MX170 would also benefit your project but you may already have been looking at those.
    I don't really need more memory than is on the MX150. I can already run my compiler directly on the Propeller but I'd like to have a bit more space so I can extend the language a little. Nice to know more space is available if I find I need it though.
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-14 - 21:55:19
    @Rick,

    Thanks for grabbing those questions... We'll look at what can be done to program "in-board" in future revisions. It simply wasn't something we expected that would be done frequently. :)

    @David,

    Yeah! Good to hear you are up and running! I agree. I've yet to go over the 22k mark even with the new MX170 installed. That being said, there is a new MX170 update (in beta) that could allow us to write small C/Machine Language programs on our MMC from inside the MMBASIC for small routines that need the extra speed. There's a couple threads about it on my forums.

    Jeff
    <br>
  • Oldbitcollector (Jeff)Oldbitcollector (Jeff) Posts: 8,090
    edited 2014-09-14 - 22:03:48
    About that "on-board" programming... We did break out all of the Micromite pins to the breadboard area. Surely this would help?
    <br>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-15 - 04:35:58
    About that "on-board" programming... We did break out all of the Micromite pins to the breadboard area. Surely this would help?
    This is my fault. I didn't read the product description well enough or look at schematic well enough to notice this before I ordered. I realize that my application is different from what you intended for this board so I'm not saying this is a fault with your board. It seems to work fine. I just made a mistake. Anyone want an MMC?
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-15 - 06:36:09
    I think we can fix it with some minor surgery. The pins are all accessible, we just need to get the 10k pull-up onto pin 1. Jeff and I are going to talk about it "face to face" tonight and see what can be done for the first batch of boards. Would you mind a 5 wire ribbon cable and connector dangling someplace?

    Hang onto your board. Worse case, I'll do surgery on mine and if it survives, I'll swap with you.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-15 - 07:11:44
    mindrobots wrote: »
    I think we can fix it with some minor surgery. The pins are all accessible, we just need to get the 10k pull-up onto pin 1. Jeff and I are going to talk about it "face to face" tonight and see what can be done for the first batch of boards. Would you mind a 5 wire ribbon cable and connector dangling someplace?

    Hang onto your board. Worse case, I'll do surgery on mine and if it survives, I'll swap with you.
    Don't worry about it. My application wasn't in line with the intended use of this board anyway. It works quite well for what it was intended for. I'm not even sure I have enough time to complete my project anyway and this has pushed me over the edge. I had a good time assembling the board and maybe I'll play with MMBasic a bit at some point. Another possiblity would be to just buy this board:

    http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,892,1174&Prod=CHIPKIT-DP32

    It can program PIC32 PDIP chips. While I appreciate the offer, please don't do any additional work to support my use of the MMC.
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-15 - 07:25:00
    I have kits for these available. (t's the board I "import" from Australia) I use one of them to program my PICs. The kits give you an ICSP programmer plus a breakout of the micromite pins for experimenting. I was thinking you could wire this onto your MMC (using the same pin to pin connections the MMC and micromite use.

    I had offered to send you one of these earlier, the offer still stands.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-15 - 07:33:41
    mindrobots wrote: »
    I have kits for these available. (t's the board I "import" from Australia) I use one of them to program my PICs. The kits give you an ICSP programmer plus a breakout of the micromite pins for experimenting. I was thinking you could wire this onto your MMC (using the same pin to pin connections the MMC and micromite use.

    I had offered to send you one of these earlier, the offer still stands.
    That looks like a nice board. Since it's a kit do you think it would be possible to put a ZIF socket in for the PIC32 chip? Might be a tight fit though. Anyway, I don't really mind moving the chip back and forth from the "programmer" board to the MMC if I have to. I just need some way to program the PIC32 chip. I have a few unprogrammed chips and two Micromite chips. I'm not really interested in running retro games but I am interested in an interactive programming environment targeting the Propeller. I like the idea of running a compiler/editor on the PIC32 and running the generated code on the Propeller and maybe also on the PIC32 with some standard means of communicating between programs running on Propeller COGs and programs running on the PIC32 itself.
  • KeithEKeithE Posts: 955
    edited 2014-09-15 - 08:06:13
    Rick - that does look like a convenient board. Do you buy them from http://micromite.org?
  • mindrobotsmindrobots Posts: 6,506
    edited 2014-09-15 - 08:08:04
    David Betz wrote: »
    That looks like a nice board. Since it's a kit do you think it would be possible to put a ZIF socket in for the PIC32 chip? Might be a tight fit though. Anyway, I don't really mind moving the chip back and forth from the "programmer" board to the MMC if I have to. I just need some way to program the PIC32 chip. I have a few unprogrammed chips and two Micromite chips. I'm not really interested in running retro games but I am interested in an interactive programming environment targeting the Propeller. I like the idea of running a compiler/editor on the PIC32 and running the generated code on the Propeller and maybe also on the PIC32 with some standard means of communicating between programs running on Propeller COGs and programs running on the PIC32 itself.

    My first thought was to put a ZIF in place of the IC socket. It's a bit longer and fatter (both of which could probably be worked around). The BIG problem is the pins on a ZIF are significantly fatter than the pins on a standard IC socket. The board was drilled to accommodate the standard pins and would need to have the 28 holes redrilled (if possible) large enough to fit the ZIF pins. That was way more rework than I wanted to do so I took my ZIF and some protoboard and in about an hour build a dedicated programming board with the ICSP connection point and a place to plug in a USB/TTL Serial plug to provide power to the PIC and serial access for initial testing after loading.

    The Protoboard programmer works just fine and was fun to build since I hadn't done anything on protoboard in ages. In fact, it works so well Jeff ended up with it for his programmer and it was so much fun, now I need to build another for myself! (Proto-Programmer Rev 2)

    ZIF-PIC Programmer.jpg


    This is the Rev 1 board - Rev 2 will have a power switch and LED (Doh!) so you don't need to disconnect the USB each time you change a chip!
    1024 x 768 - 128K
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 13,541
    edited 2014-09-15 - 08:16:56
    mindrobots wrote: »
    My first thought was to put a ZIF in place of the IC socket. It's a bit longer and fatter (both of which could probably be worked around). The BIG problem is the pins on a ZIF are significantly fatter than the pins on a standard IC socket. The board was drilled to accommodate the standard pins and would need to have the 28 holes redrilled (if possible) large enough to fit the ZIF pins. That was way more rework than I wanted to do so I took my ZIF and some protoboard and in about an hour build a dedicated programming board with the ICSP connection point and a place to plug in a USB/TTL Serial plug to provide power to the PIC and serial access for initial testing after loading.

    The Protoboard programmer works just fine and was fun to build since I hadn't done anything on protoboard in ages. In fact, it works so well Jeff ended up with it for his programmer and it was so much fun, now I need to build another for myself! (Proto-Programmer Rev 2)

    ZIF-PIC Programmer.jpg


    This is the Rev 1 board - Rev 2 will have a power switch and LED (Doh!) so you don't need to disconnect the USB each time you change a chip!
    Looks like a good solution but I already have a PICkit 3 so I suspect I could get away with something simpler.
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