The Amigo - Prop mini computer with Color BASIC

PropGuy2PropGuy2 Posts: 172
edited November 2015 in Propeller 1 Vote Up0Vote Down
I just got the December 2015 issue of Nuts & Volts magazine featuring a great article on the Aimgo mini computer with Color BASIC. I see from the forums that a lot of you have put a tremendous amount of time in developing this nice little computer - thanks all around. This is something that should generate lots of interest in the Propeller and Maker community. Where can I buy one?
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  • 33 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • I just checked in the Nuts & Volts online Store and they indicate that they will have the Amigo parts kit stocked shortly. How long shortly really is we'll see...
    Along with 'Antimatter' and 'Dark Matter' we've recently discovered the existence of
    `Doesn't Matter`, which appears to have no effect on the universe whatsoever.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,704
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I notice that the Amigo has a 32K SRAM chip. Anyone know what Color BASIC does with that RAM?
  • I just checked in the Nuts & Volts online Store and they indicate that they will have the Amigo parts kit stocked shortly. How long shortly really is we'll see...
    Let's hope they're not being held up by a shortage of Propeller P8X32A-D40 chips.
  • This board is based on one from our own Jeff Ledger aka OldBitCollector. Has anyone heard from Jeff lately?
  • Dane, who wrote the N&V article. Had done a lot of work with Jeff on the PropellerPowered PMC. He has written a book on color BASIC (reference to it in the article). Jeff and Dane were working on an updated PMC for the N&V article. In April or May, Jeff dropped out of our forum communities for the most part, even his own forums. He's been spotted here a few times but that's about it. Dane had been actively working with Jeff on the new board when he just stopped communicating.

    Dane kept working on the design and, obviously, followed through with project.

    Second hand, we hear Jeff is well but has disappeared for all practical Propeller purposes. A number of us from the PropellerPowered forums have tried to contact him without success. We still meet up on the PropellerPowered IRC chat on Saturday nights (9pm ET) talking Props and stuff and hoping for a Jeff sighting.

    That's all I know with any certainty.
    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: 12,704
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    mindrobots wrote: »
    Dane, who wrote the N&V article. Had done a lot of work with Jeff on the PropellerPowered PMC. He has written a book on color BASIC (reference to it in the article). Jeff and Dane were working on an updated PMC for the N&V article. In April or May, Jeff dropped out of our forum communities for the most part, even his own forums. He's been spotted here a few times but that's about it. Dane had been actively working with Jeff on the new board when he just stopped communicating.

    Dane kept working on the design and, obviously, followed through with project.

    Second hand, we hear Jeff is well but has disappeared for all practical Propeller purposes. A number of us from the PropellerPowered forums have tried to contact him without success. We still meet up on the PropellerPowered IRC chat on Saturday nights (9pm ET) talking Props and stuff and hoping for a Jeff sighting.

    That's all I know with any certainty.
    Thanks for the update. I'm glad to hear Jeff is well at least. I'm sorry he has dropped out of the Propeller community. He will be missed. I enjoyed putting together a number of his kits. I wish Dane well with his new board and series of articles in Nuts & Volts.

  • David, as far as the SRAM goes, I'd have to look on the old PMC and see if it had the SRAM -I think it did. I thought some support was add to color basic but my on board memory fails me. I saw my PMC in the cabinet today...since it is not MIA, I should be able to update on this over the weekend.
    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: 12,704
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    mindrobots wrote: »
    David, as far as the SRAM goes, I'd have to look on the old PMC and see if it had the SRAM -I think it did. I thought some support was add to color basic but my on board memory fails me. I saw my PMC in the cabinet today...since it is not MIA, I should be able to update on this over the weekend.
    I tried to talk Jeff into using a SPI flash chip instead of the SPI SRAM so he could use my compiled (to bytecodes) xbasic interpreter to gain more code space and also faster execution but I think that was about the time when he decided to experiment with the Micromite chip and lost interest in Color BASIC. I'm looking forward to building and playing with the Amigo once the kit becomes available. Maybe I can make another attempt at getting xbasic working on it. Maybe Dane will be more interested than Jeff! :-)

  • There's also an updated version of Jeff's MMC that has ICSP pins for the PIC32 chip. We talked Roadster into adding those when he redid the dedign. I don't have one yet but plan on ordering this weekend. I'll start a thread when I'm at a PC instead of a tablet with a link to the new site.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • mindrobots wrote: »
    There's also an updated version of Jeff's MMC that has ICSP pins for the PIC32 chip. We talked Roadster into adding those when he redid the dedign. I don't have one yet but plan on ordering this weekend. I'll start a thread when I'm at a PC instead of a tablet with a link to the new site.
    That's great news. I asked Jeff for those a ICSP header a while back so the PIC32 could be reprogrammed without having to remove it from the MMC. I'd love to get one of those new boards.

  • Back to the original topic. I am glad the PMC/PEB has been resurrected. Should be interesting to see how much functionality can be crammed into it and how the SRAM will end up being used. It would be nice if it could provide more program and data space.
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    This site might offer some inspiration.
    http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/

    Take a look at what is in their repository..
    http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/coco/
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • This site might offer some inspiration.
    http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/

    Take a look at what is in their repository..
    http://www.colorcomputerarchive.com/coco/
    That's interesting but I don't think that is what they mean by Color BASIC. They're talking about an offshoot from Femto BASIC for the Propeller which is much less capable than the CoCo version of BASIC.

  • Here's the Color BASIC sub-forum from Jeff's PropellerPowered website. It should have the latest information on the current state of Color BASIC. I'm sure Dane will be picking the ball up as he grows the Amigo.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • Pardon me. I just associate the term Color Basic with the CoCo computer. There are some code examples that might be ported over, like their blackjack game.
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • OK just put an order in for the Amigo. It is listed at $89.95 which is what I expected for a kit like this. Considering that it is a Prop mini computer it packs a lot of features and the Color BASIC is fairly complete. For the comments on memory and all, remember that it is a "simple, understandable and fun" self contained starter computer. 4K of token memory is plenty to all kinds of programs and experiments. The experimenter's breadboard should be great for all kinds of neat circuits to be added.
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,704
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    For what it's worth, I think you could probably buy the MMC and run Color BASIC on that if you want. Then, if you want to progress beyond Color BASIC, you could learn the Micromite BASIC that is on the PIC32 chip.

    http://www.electronicshobby.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=14

    An advantage is that the MMC only costs $60 including shipping. :-)
  • RoadsterRoadster Posts: 208
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I'm sure I can get color basic running on the MMC board, the AMIGO it is basically a simplified version of the PEB 2014 board that I designed for propellerpowered.com to sell, here is the link to the original design, but I will say the Micromite basic is more powerful
    http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=565.msg3421#msg3421

    Link to Micromite:
    http://geoffg.net/micromite.html
  • PropGuy2 wrote: »
    OK just put an order in for the Amigo.....it is a Prop mini computer it packs a lot of features and the Color BASIC is fairly complete.....remember that it is a "simple, understandable and fun" self contained starter computer

    "simple, understandable and fun"
    Yes, yes, yes....... That's why I like Parallax's Propeller.

    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Is there any more information available ? Like a schematic ?
    I'd like to try my PE-BASIC on this board. PE-BASIC is in PASM so it should be much faster.

    Bean
  • David BetzDavid Betz Posts: 12,704
    edited November 2015 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Roadster wrote: »
    I'm sure I can get color basic running on the MMC board, the AMIGO it is basically a simplified version of the PEB 2014 board that I designed for propellerpowered.com to sell, here is the link to the original design, but I will say the Micromite basic is more powerful
    http://propellerpowered.com/forum/index.php?topic=565.msg3421#msg3421

    Link to Micromite:
    http://geoffg.net/micromite.html
    I like the idea of a faster processor with more memory like the PIC32 but I would like to see it used to host a compiler that targets the Propeller. The "run" would load that code into a Propeller and execute it. This would allow multiple COGs to run BASIC code at the same time. So I would use the PIC32 to host an editor, compiler, and loader but not the target code. That would run on the Propeller itself.

  • Good news, one of the first (I presume) Amigo mini computer boards / kit arrived yesterday. Now all I have to do is find a few hours to solder it all together. The PCB and all the components look to be top quality. Stay tuned for first report on the Amigo...
  • I have one coming on Monday (or Tuesday) I think. N&V either needs to work on fulfillment or the kits were still being "kitted" when I ordered.
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • @mindrobots: Maybe it's just taking Humanoido a long time to desolder DIP Props from his tower of power.
    Platåberget
  • I hadn't thought of that! But by now, shouldn't they be desoldering themselves?
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • LOL. That kind of works on a couple of levels, doesn't it - a feverish whirling dervish combined with a benign self-awareness that extends to self-abnegation.
    Platåberget
  • The Amigo mini computer Prop kit took about 4 hours to build. No problems but with all the thru hole components you get a sticky mess from all the solder rosin. Alcohol and some Q-tips cleaned everything up.
    Most importantly the Amigo powered up the very first time power was applied. The SD-card *hard drive* worked as advertised: the included programs loaded and ran perfectly. More play time tomorrow!
  • I just finished building my Amigo.

    The build went well but when I powered it up, it acted like the EEPROM was blank. A quick side track into Propeller Tool with my handy Prop Plug fixed the problem but this does not bode well for anyone without Propeller experience and tools who gets a blank EEPROM.

    I need to put a comment on the N&V forum once I find the thread for the Amigo again. I'll drop Dane an email too.

    Once I reloaded its brains, it ran like a champ...a slow champ but still a champ! :)
    MOV OUTA, PEACE <div>Rick </div><div>"I've stopped using programming languages with Garbage Collection, they keep deleting my source code!!"</div>
  • I had the same problem with a blank EEPROM and also loaded it with the Spin objects using Prop Tool and Prop Plug.

    I did notify Dane. He said he was going to check with N&V.

    Since the N&V article was aming at the new user, I would not expect them to have Prop experience (or obviously a PropPlug). Not a good situation.

    Its a shame, since it is a fun little computer to use once the EEPROM is loaded.

    Tom
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