SX48BD-G Development

Can anyone list dev boards, programmers, and other tools that are still available for prototyping with this baby? I'm not familar with SX micros but have applications where I think I can possibly use the SX48. (These would be low-volume projects, and since there are quite a few SX48BD-Gs still around, the EOL shouldn't be an issue.)
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  • Might want to give Robert a shout:

    http://forums.parallax.com/discussion/94916/sx48-40-pin-dip-full-kit-and-pcb-available/p1

    Parallax say SX Programmers may be in stock soon:

    https://www.parallax.com/product/45214

    Infernal Machine
  • All the software and documentation is still available under "Downloads":

    https://www.parallax.com/product/sx48bd-g

    Infernal Machine
  • That's right about the supply side of things. It seems like these chips will be around for a long time still. I'd be happy to see them gone.

    Ken Gracey
  • Ken,

    Not trying to tell you how to run your business but I'm thinking that if you sold sx48s on a "breakout" type board would help sales to people like me that aren't able to solder the chips to a board. Maybe a few pads for a resonator and a a header for the sx-key. Don't solder them in but having all(most) of the pin pins available for use but include pads for things that need to be physically close to the chip. The boards would include NOTHING but a 48 soldered to it.

    Just thinking at my keyboard.
  • Thanks everyone for the replies (what Robert has/had might do the trick). I agree, something along the lines of a breakout board, sold by Parallax, would be helpful. As I said earlier, the SX48 still seems a viable option for low-volume applications. (Heck, if nothing else, I can buy extra to make sure I'm always covered.)
  • I've been using these breakout boards from adafruit.

    https://www.adafruit.com/products/1377

    They work pretty nicely and if you turn the chip one quarter you have pretty much the same layout (without the two caps) as Gunther's board so OSC1 and OSC2 are right on the edge. Last time I spoke with Robert and Gunther it sounded like both of them had boards. Robert's in particular is very nice since it is all inclusive and very well designed. It is a lot easier to solder than I would have thought.

    I just whipped up a bread board dev board for the breakout ones. You do still need a key or blitz. I got a bunch of the chips for the same reasons you point out and since I had a key from way back when.

    Enjoy them while they last. I've been getting my nephew and a couple of his friends here interested. All the books are still available in pdf form so there is no shortage of info. The key had said they would be available on the 15th of this month but perhaps they are slightly delayed. I wish they had some of the blitz's left for regular use. I'm always concerned about frying my key and that being the end of that.

    Really, those breakout boards are pretty easy to solder up are only 2 bucks a piece and if you have pin header's laying around you are off to the races.
  • Not seen those. Thanks for Sharing!
    Infernal Machine
  • 4x5n wrote: »
    Ken,

    Not trying to tell you how to run your business but I'm thinking that if you sold sx48s on a "breakout" type board would help sales to people like me that aren't able to solder the chips to a board. Maybe a few pads for a resonator and a a header for the sx-key. Don't solder them in but having all(most) of the pin pins available for use but include pads for things that need to be physically close to the chip. The boards would include NOTHING but a 48 soldered to it.

    Just thinking at my keyboard.

    I appreciate the thoughts about how to move these chips. I'm open to any ideas right now to clear out the inventory.

    Ken Gracey

  • CableGuy67 wrote: »
    I've been using these breakout boards from adafruit.

    https://www.adafruit.com/products/1377
    ...
    Really, those breakout boards are pretty easy to solder up are only 2 bucks a piece and if you have pin header's laying around you are off to the races.
    Thanks. I'll give those a look as well.

  • "I appreciate the thoughts about how to move these chips. I'm open to any ideas right now to clear out the inventory." - Ken

    As I have said before, no designer/manufacturer in their right mind would use a retired device in a new design, so your not going to sell a great deal of them.

    The only thing you can do that would be a sure thing is to design any of your (<-Parallax's) future PCB modules so that they will work dual tandem ...with an SX ...OR...some other micro as a PCB populated option. That way you can deplete your stock gracefully (or Gracey-fully), but when you are finally out of stock, then you just migrate to the other micro and you don't have to change anything except where the PCB components are populated because, hopefully you have already designed it into the PCB board of the product with comparable and compatible code.



    Beau Schwabe -- Submicron Forensic Engineer
    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

    Seriously at this point in the game the ship has sailed and "I have no expectations" <- said someone we know
  • As I have said before, no designer/manufacturer in their right mind would use a retired device in a new design, so your not going to sell a great deal of them.

    The only thing you can do that would be a sure thing is to design any of your (<-Parallax's) future PCB modules so that they will work dual tandem ...with an SX ...OR...some other micro as a PCB populated option. That way you can deplete your stock gracefully (or Gracey-fully), but when you are finally out of stock, then you just migrate to the other micro and you don't have to change anything except where the PCB components are populated because, hopefully you have already designed it into the PCB board of the product with comparable and compatible code.

    The kicker here is that "comparable and compatible code" - there is no 48 pin part, out there in the wild, with that comparable and compatible code.

    The closest part to '75MHz, 8 bit' banner, that I can think of, is Silabs EFM8LB1, which can do 72MHz and should give comparable performance, but compatible code, it is not.

    EFM8LB1 comes in QFP32 (& less) and 16/32/64k with 1-4k RAM and ADC I²C, SMBus, SPI, UART/USART, & 3.3Vdd, 5v tolerant IO.
    or, if you need 48 pin package to match IO, the EFM8UB2 is tqfp48, 48MHz, & that has 5V in and 5V tolerant IO.

    If the SX came with full Debug, it would be useful for education.
  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,285
    edited April 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    jmg ... nobody says you need to use all 48 pins on the SX ... the goal is to move them out. Yes, the SX's might be overkill for the future application, but at least they aren't collecting dust. ... for that you can write functional code that is both comparable and compatible. ... To minimize version control headaches, the "code" I speak of would not be changed by the average user, it's only applied during manufacturing on Parallax's side and maintained that way.



    Beau Schwabe -- Submicron Forensic Engineer
    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

    Seriously at this point in the game the ship has sailed and "I have no expectations" <- said someone we know
  • I don't see us making any real investment in hardware or firmware to sell these chips. It would slow down other efforts that keep us in business (revisions to PAB, BOE, sensors, etc.). It's the opportunity cost of working with these chips that'd be our real expense - not making progress on other more important plans.

    But, as Beau pointed out, if there's an application where they're just doing a job - maybe a product where nobody cares what processor is being used - that's the place to eat these chips up. There are still hidden problems, like programming. There is no high-volume programming solution and each board must be programmed one at a time using an SX-Key.

    What kinds of little product gizmos could we make with SX48s (or that you could make) to consume the inventory? I don't think the applications need to use all of the resources or speed - just think of these chips like any other general-purpose processor. I'd be happy to liquidate the remaining inventory at less than the for-sale price.

    Ken Gracey
  • jmg ... nobody says you need to use all 48 pins on the SX ... the goal is to move them out. Yes, the SX's might be overkill for the future application, but at least they aren't collecting dust. ... for that you can write functional code that is both comparable and compatible. ... To minimize version control headaches, the "code" I speak of would not be changed by the average user, it's only applied during manufacturing on Parallax's side and maintained that way.
    Ah, so you mean more like a Sx-Stamp ?

    Targeting something like BASIC could certainly work, and a MCU EFM8LB1 would be a very nice BASIC host, for longer term use.
    With 12b DACs and 14b ADC, it has some great Analog performance too.

    I think Parallax already have Sx Stamp development, but not in the large-stock package ?
    That sounds fairly simple to sort ?

    Of course price matters, and I see a BS2sx at $59, and SX key at $99, which is somewhat high.

    These days, any offering has to stand alongside the Single-board, USB Debug, MCU SDKs.

    A couple of topical examples are :

    http://www.mouser.com/new/Intel/intel-d2000-dev-kit/
    This is 3v Ardunio form, 32MHz, & uses a FT232H (HS USB) as the Debug link, and includes a Terminal window in Debug, sub $15
    (flash pgm specs seem long on this ~ 40s ?)

    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/Silicon-Labs/SLSTK2030A
    This has a Graphic LCD display included, 72MHz, 14b ADC and USB Debug and Terminal, sub $30

  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,285
    edited April 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    "What kinds of little product gizmos could we make with SX48s (or that you could make) to consume the inventory?" - Ken

    I could think of several, but I don't think you would want to entertain my contract fee and requirements.

    Currently you have 73,284 in stock at a unit price of $0.77 ... that's an invested $56k you can't do anything with. At least anything quickly. By placing the SX48 in just one item that sells for $25 with a BOM markup of 4x suddenly your $56k becomes an invested $1,374,075.00 that you would at least be able to move ... You just need a product to facilitate this movement and someone that knows how to program the SX. Ironically before I started at Parallax, I had entered in an SX design contest, and I thought the phone call I received from you was to tell me that I won something. ... Seems appropriate I could contribute something. PM me if you would like to entertain this further.



    Beau Schwabe -- Submicron Forensic Engineer
    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

    Seriously at this point in the game the ship has sailed and "I have no expectations" <- said someone we know
  • Ken Gracey wrote: »
    What kinds of little product gizmos could we make with SX48s (or that you could make) to consume the inventory? I don't think the applications need to use all of the resources or speed - just think of these chips like any other general-purpose processor.

    One generic use, is to program them as IO expanders / level shifters.

    There are frequent rumbles about more IO on a Prop, so a serial slave IO device is one way to use up devices, and provide that need :)

    Parallax would need to program them, and document the interface.

    It might be able to run a Serial LED bridge, but I think for simplicity of use, this needs to use the on-chip Osc, and that limits the MHz.

    What speed links ( UART / i2c / spi ? ) can a Sx48 manage, on the factory inbuilt 4MHz Osc


  • jmg wrote: »
    One generic use, is to program them as IO expanders / level shifters.

    That's an interesting idea, and something that's been looked at over-and-over. Always comes down to the whole picture though, which includes time, docs, software, manufacturing, test & programming, footprint, etc.. etc.. A whole manner of things once you scratch the surface.

    I do agree with the general sentiments here though; that this could be a great opportunity for someone (or some firm) out there to include the SX48 in a low-ish run gadget. Someone with the ideas and time to build and support it. I suppose the fact that it's still not happened might suggest there are more ideas than time in the world !


  • The problem with treating these like any other microprocessor is; if this part is designed in with an application written in assembly language, then you have no where to go to do a follow on product if you need more memory or IOs or peripherals. Or worse if your product is successful, then there is no source for more parts, and you have to redesign it from scratch.

    About the only entity with a reason to use these parts is Parallax. Is it worth their limited NRE to get the payback on whatever that inventory cost them? In standard accounting that inventory should have been depreciated to zero by now.
  • brucee wrote: »
    The problem with treating these like any other microprocessor is; if this part is designed in with an application written in assembly language...

    Of course, so do not target assembler :)

    A quick search finds something like this

    http://www.xpl0.org/
    from http://www.piclist.com/techref/language/xpl0.htm

    This apparently has a SX version,
    http://www.piclist.com/techref/scenix/xpl0/I2L.ASM here ?

    and it also has a RaspPi version (and a PC version, that might even port to intel D2000..)

    So it sounds compact, and portable, (ie no teaching dead end), and avoids assembler lock-in.




  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,285
    edited April 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Who cares what language the code under the hood is written it as long as it does what it is supposed to do?

    You might have to wear two different hats and write functionally equivalent code in two independent languages to back my earlier suggestion as far as having a populated PCB option for one micro or the other so that production moves in a forward direction. ... but heck multiple hats is what I do on a daily basis. I have one project right now that requires programming in at least four different programming languages. It's not that difficult with the correct tools and experience at your disposal.

    What you (Parallax) needs is a "Thneed" that uses the SXB .... Something unique, not too complex, but something everyone can use.




    Beau Schwabe -- Submicron Forensic Engineer
    www.Kit-Start.com - bschwabe@Kit-Start.com ෴෴ www.BScircuitDesigns.com - icbeau@bscircuitdesigns.com ෴෴

    Seriously at this point in the game the ship has sailed and "I have no expectations" <- said someone we know
  • User NameUser Name Posts: 1,451
    edited April 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    4x5n wrote: »
    ...I'm thinking that if you sold sx48s on a "breakout" type board would help sales to people like me...
    The boards would include NOTHING but a 48 soldered to it.

    AMEN! It's all I'm asking for.

    Commercial customers would shy away from an EOL part. Hobbyists don't mind the EOL status but are put-off by the fine pitch. No wonder they don't move fast. Who is the target customer?

    If someone with the proper equipment would place and solder an entire panel of these chips, I'd be a happy camper. :)
    Platåberget
  • User Name wrote: »
    4x5n wrote: »
    ...I'm thinking that if you sold sx48s on a "breakout" type board would help sales to people like me...
    The boards would include NOTHING but a 48 soldered to it.

    AMEN! It's all I'm asking for.

    Commercial customers would shy away from an EOL part. Hobbyists don't mind the EOL status but are put-off by the fine pitch. No wonder they don't move fast. Who is the target customer?

    If someone with the proper equipment would place and solder an entire panel of these chips, I'd be a happy camper. :)

    I agree but make them smaller. Put them in an 18 pin DIP to match the old SX-18 or in a 28 pin DIP to match the SX-28. You'll have a larger memory plus 16-bit timer(s) version of the original chips and you can sell them for $4 a pop. I'll buy plenty of them.



  • wass wrote: »
    User Name wrote: »
    4x5n wrote: »
    ...I'm thinking that if you sold sx48s on a "breakout" type board would help sales to people like me...
    The boards would include NOTHING but a 48 soldered to it.

    AMEN! It's all I'm asking for.

    Commercial customers would shy away from an EOL part. Hobbyists don't mind the EOL status but are put-off by the fine pitch. No wonder they don't move fast. Who is the target customer?

    If someone with the proper equipment would place and solder an entire panel of these chips, I'd be a happy camper. :)

    I agree but make them smaller. Put them in an 18 pin DIP to match the old SX-18 or in a 28 pin DIP to match the SX-28. You'll have a larger memory plus 16-bit timer(s) version of the original chips and you can sell them for $4 a pop. I'll buy plenty of them.



    I would love to be able to do something with the 48sx. Unfortunately they are WAY to small for me to do anything with. At my age I can't solder them onto a board, period!! If not Parallax maybe someone else could pick up the slack. I can see buying a bunch to play with and I have a few ideas that a 48 would be great for!!
  • wass wrote: »
    I agree but make them smaller. Put them in an 18 pin DIP to match the old SX-18 or in a 28 pin DIP to match the SX-28. You'll have a larger memory plus 16-bit timer(s) version of the original chips and you can sell them for $4 a pop. I'll buy plenty of them.
    The idea is good, but 0.3" would get quite tricky, 0.6" is more practical.

    I see Adafruit manage to sell USB breakouts for $1.50 at Digikey, with a reflow mounted connector & 5-pin hdr loose , and they also have 10-sets of another board (no reflow), for $4.95.

    Seems a SX48 breakout, with ?? pins and maybe reflow decoupling and resonator, in a group of 10, with loose headers, would be something Parallax could sell ?
    DIP48 is getting large, perhaps DIP40 or maybe DIP28, with extra rows ?


  • I am contacting Robert about his 40 Pin DIP boards. I can buy a lot of 40-50, ( if he has that much left), and I will populate them if there is enough demand.

    http://forums.parallax.com/discussion/94916/sx48-40-pin-dip-full-kit-and-pcb-available/p1

    I just talked to Ken, and he said there are 50 SX-Keys due in 1-2 weeks.
    Infernal Machine
  • Publison wrote: »
    I am contacting Robert about his 40 Pin DIP boards. I can buy a lot of 40-50, ( if he has that much left), and I will populate them if there is enough demand.

    http://forums.parallax.com/discussion/94916/sx48-40-pin-dip-full-kit-and-pcb-available/p1

    I just talked to Ken, and he said there are 50 SX-Keys due in 1-2 weeks.

    I've got enough keys to last a lifetime but would LOVE bunch of the 40 pin dip boards for the 48. My eyes leave a lot to be desired and I can't see well enough to solder them to anything
  • Peter JakackiPeter Jakacki Posts: 6,543
    edited June 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    In regards to soldering "fine pitch" I just have these comments to offer from experience. If you think soldering SMD is about having a microscope and a really really fine tip iron then that is probably the only problem. If you can see the chip then your eyesight is probably good enough. When I first designed with SMD parts in the 80's there just wasn't anything around, I would mostly use SMD chips for density and mix them with TH parts. I didn't know about solder paste and besides I probably would have had a really hard time tracking it down and getting it so I developed a tack and reflow method. The Internet these days makes it super easy to research and find stuff.

    To solder fine pitch chips just position them and tack down a corner pin with the iron but don't worry about the quality of the joint yet as long as it holds. Check the opposite corner and tack that down too while making sure the chip is pressed flush against the pcb. If you need to make corrections then you can reflow a corner while pivoting on the other. Now if you can turn your iron down a little so it melts solder gently then you can blob solder all along the other pins in one great big mess while avoiding the tacked pins until last to make sure it doesn't move. It may look horrible but the gently melted solder still has most of the flux intact (you could use flux in the first place too). Now turn up the iron and holding the pcb up at an angle you can run the iron down along each side to reflow the solder which will ball up on the tip as you run it along to the end of each row at which point you deftly flick off the ball safely (ouch).

    What you end up with even with this tack and flow method is a very clean looking soldered SMD chip. But if you happen to get some solder paste and a toaster oven then it is about one hundred times easier and without even having to worry about an iron.

    BTW, I looked at applications for the SX48 but there are so many chips to choose from that are cheaper and better suited (sorry)
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  • "It seems like these chips will be around for a long time still."

    Obviously there are no guarantees, but do you guys think Parallax will still have these a couple years from now?

    I am actually thinking about designing in this chip for a low volume project. The only alternative for me would be programmable logic.

    Also, can I program the SX48 with my old Blitz programmer?
    I am the Master, and technology my slave.
  • PublisonPublison Posts: 9,737
    edited June 2016 Vote Up0Vote Down
    The_Master wrote: »
    "It seems like these chips will be around for a long time still."

    Obviously there are no guarantees, but do you guys think Parallax will still have these a couple years from now?

    I am actually thinking about designing in this chip for a low volume project. The only alternative for me would be programmable logic.

    Also, can I program the SX48 with my old Blitz programmer?

    The Blitz programmer will program the SX-48, but you can not do any debugging, as you can with the SX-Key. It would be good to have at least one SX-Key on hand. Those may not be available in the near future. :

    https://www.parallax.com/product/45214

    All depends on what you mean by low volume, you can buy a hundred right now for $77.00US.

    Infernal Machine
  • (super low volume)

    At the website it says 69K in stock. So all someone has to do is monitor the website, wait till it gets down to 15K stock, and then buy what they 'for the road.' This way someone can minimize buying chips they may end up not needing, and yet make sure they don't get stuck without chips.

    I seem to remember (and I may be wrong about this) that I was watching the DIP stock, but then all of a sudden the product was just removed from the website before it went to zero. (although I might be wrong about this)

    But if the SX48 is such a slow seller that it will take several years to get rid of them, and this what was prolly meant by a "long time," one wouldn't have to worry about it.
    I am the Master, and technology my slave.
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