Who do you think will buy the Prop2 ?

cgraceycgracey Posts: 8,321
edited May 21 in Propeller 2 Vote Up0Vote Down
Before we spend a lot of money to push Prop2 to completion, could you please help us identify likely markets for it and explain your rationale? Just a few sentences, or even one, would be appreciated.

This matter came up at a Parallax board-of-directors meeting and I offered to poll the Prop2 forum about it, as I don't want the other board members to be in the position of having my suppositions, only, to consider. For better or for worse, we want to know what you think.

As you know, this project has taken eleven years and the world has changed a lot over time. Every new $8 microcontroller is built in a small process and boasts lots of everything. Can the Prop2 provide some unique and valuable capabilities amid all this?

Who do you think is going to buy the Prop2 and what will they use it for, and maybe what quantities might they use it in? Do you see it filling any unique market need? Do you think any particular industry will find it valuable?

Thanks for any comments!
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  • In the Hackaday chat we had about the Prop2 on May 5, RoGeorge left this comment:

    "RoGeorge says:1:30 PM
    These days everybody goes crazy with ARM based SoC, and when timing control is needed, there is not much choice, if none"

    He was asking lots of questions about the Prop2's smart pins during the chat. He got the idea that the Prop2 is about timing control.
  • I think that the answer to this will be influenced a lot by what development tools are available at launch. If it has C/C++ and other standard languages available cross platform at launch, the answer will be very different from if it only has Spin/PASM on windows (like P1 had).

    My personal feelings are that it's going to be awesome for robotics stuff (that I love doing), and potentially very interesting for music/sound synthesis. The mix of features should also work pretty nicely for doing CNC/3D printer like control boards.

    I'm a little sad that the graphics stuff didn't make it into this version, but it's less important if modern display types can't really be used without external hardware (HDMI, DisplayPort, LVDS, etc.) since the external hardware can often include that stuff if needed. I also wish we could get a LOT more hub memory. The memory size plays a big factor in comparisons and also in what you can do without needing external chips and different software to utilize it.
  • Thanks, Roy. If Prop2 is a success at 180nm, we can make the same thing at 28nm or 40nm and get many megabytes of hub RAM. At 180nm, we are quite limited.
  • Yeah, I'm hoping things go well, and we can get a 40 or 28nm version that has lots more hub ram and likely runs faster clock rates.
    I also think the small variants (less cogs) will cater to certain markets if they can be made significantly cheaper.
  • We hope to buy at least 20 units of Prop2 per month, hopefully more.
    There is no such thing as bad news.
  • For success in any embedded industrial application it should be a one chip solution. Right now any NVRAM is off chip, making the current embodiment a minimal two chip solution.

    I also agree with Roy in that the software tool is also going to play a key role. That said, I think to much emphasis on for example "Blockly" could be harmful in the Prop II efforts. C and Assembly and that's all. That should be the standard moving forward.

    It's easy to get caught-up in the perception of what really happens under the hood and not being able to express adequately to the board of directors the necessary working components because you assume they understand it the way you do ... Remember the board directors just know how to drive the car, and maybe put their own gas in the car. Beyond that they can only take your word for it.

    Best of luck



    Beau Schwabe -- Submicron Forensic Engineer
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    Seriously at this point in the game the ship has sailed and "I have no expectations" <- said someone we know
  • I can't speak for anyone else but I have and always have had big plans for the P2's unique features (cores, smart-pins) but will probably require that I design and develop and produce some before directly or preferably indirectly launching a startup that can sell to the big boys who have the ability to market this product real volume world-wide in a much smaller time-frame (who would have been competition anyway). I try to stay out of the big stuff these days as I hate "politics" but that's also why I'm happy to hand it over, let them put their name on it, that's normal.

    It is a possibility that an ARM could do it but deterministic operation is much easier and simpler with multicore and besides I'd have more fun developing with the P2. Otherwise I can use a smaller P2 for many other areas, perhaps in the smaller 10k+ quantities. I can only evaluate P2 to a limited degree at present as a lot of this depends upon analog functions which only real silicon can satisfy and only then can I put it to the test.

    btw, from my pov I'm not limited by the "tools" although I see that important for the education and "just evaluating" market, but the volume market will make it work even if it only had an assembler (think 4-bit tools and volume).

    No guarantees on any of this, but if my circumstances are favorable at the time then these options are open.
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  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    cgracey wrote: »
    Every new $8 microcontroller is built in a small process and boasts lots of everything. Can the Prop2 provide some unique and valuable capabilities amid all this?
    It's true that $8 micros pack ever-more in, but as they get larger, they get more operating system loading, and that makes them less real-time.

    A P2 makes a good complement to the RaspPi type modules, allowing sub microsecond real time, when the typical OS-MPU measures 'real time' in some-milliseconds.

    That makes a Pi-Zero compatible (& same size 65 mm by 30 mm) development board important.
    cgracey wrote: »
    Who do you think is going to buy the Prop2 and what will they use it for, and maybe what quantities might they use it in? Do you see it filling any unique market need? Do you think any particular industry will find it valuable?

    Test and measuring and production automated tester guys should love P2.

    Sensor and Bridge and IO interfacing are also significant markets - look at how many UARTS a P2 can deliver!

    USB is looking like it will be practical too, and that greatly expands the bridge-uses.
    Maybe Ethernet will also be possible ? (not yet proven)

    Small (bare) LCD Displays handlers, like the EVE series from FTDI, is also a significant niche.

    P2 will somewhat sit in the space between Processors and FPGA, overlapping more with processors, but able to displace some FPGAs, where they were used as 'fix-ups' to add peripherals or features the MCU/MPU lacked.
    For tasks where a processor was not real-time enough, designers had little choice but to add FPGAs.
    Now, a P2 can manage most? of the real-time operations, and off-load the crunching to a Linux-module.

    cgracey wrote: »
    "RoGeorge says:1:30 PM
    These days everybody goes crazy with ARM based SoC, and when timing control is needed, there is not much choice, if none"
    TI does Digital Signal Controllers, and Microchip have the dsPICs , but the industry focus does tend/trend to be ARM centric at the 32b plane.
    That's one reason Microchip bought Atmel, to get the ARM families, including their highest MHz ones, where Microchip had nothing.
    Microchip have DRAM MCUs coming, in a single package, along the lines of the first RaspPi.


    All that said, as mentioned above, cool hardware alone is not enough these days.

    Not just compilers, but also good debug, is pretty much expected by MCU developers.

    It is becoming standard for Debug-bridge devices to include a COM port.
    Vanilla ones are single baud choice, better ones have baud granularity as good as FTDI.
    Also appearing, are current-plotting tools, for those designs that push into battery operation - that's a little less P2-space, but a Logic-Analyzer as part of the debug suite would be more natural.

    Some vendors have Simulators, allowing the bulk of code development sans-silicon.
  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 12,981
    edited May 21 Vote Up0Vote Down
    I don't specifically have a P2 project in mind. But these are my thoughts...

    Micros have moved at a fast pace over the past couple of years. ARMs now seem to be the choice of micro for all sorts of projects. Even the 3D printers have ARM code. This was one of the projects I thought would have been a suitable choice for a P2.

    Most micros have internal Flash, and many have <1% internal oscillators. For the P2, IMHO both of these should now be a required target for the P2. I know the oscillator has been discussed, but the Flash/Eeprom/OTP question hasn't even been asked of OnSemi.

    I think many users of P1 that required just an expanded P1+ have moved on due to the P2 delay. IMHO many of those markets have been lost.

    Robotics is another field that P2 could be well suited for.

    Presuming similar pricing to P1, then depending on power consumption, P2 might be an upgrade path for P1 users, including education, by ignoring some of the complex features of the P2.

    Software Tools will be an important part of P2 to gain quick traction. For this, I see PASM and C/C++ a requirement. Spin2 with a somewhat more "BASIC" like source frontend might prove more beneficial. We may see some good 3rd party software here due to the powerful interpreter features just added into the P2.
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
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  • Hey Chip,

    Literally, just around the corner from Parallax, 1.3 miles, to be precise, is Galil Motion Control. As it happens, tomorrow, I am placing yet another $2,500 order with them. Even back in 1989, I was spending around $130,000/year with them. I was their first ever machine-tool manufacturing customer.

    What does my $2,500 get? Basically, 5 X 16bit PWM channels, 10 quadrature encoder interfaces, 16 DI, 16 DO, some analog ins, etc., BUT some very capable motion control firmware.

    You have unwittingly created, potentially, THE most powerful motion control microcontroller in the world!!!!

    Wayne (Galil VP), recently stated that motion control is a $10B industry and growing. I need to hook up with Heater and go for a slice of that pie :lol:
    PropBASIC ROCKS!
  • cgraceycgracey Posts: 8,321
    edited May 21 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Yeah, Mickster. I would think that with some software objects, we could do similar things, and allow lots of user code to run in parallel.
  • I use the Prop1 for my automatic door systems as the main controller. Options that connect to the main board also use the Prop1( LCD touch panel and a specialized motion sensor). The Prop works well for LCD graphics and touch screens, and really well for motion control where PID, sensor monitoring. USB and other serial IO etc really deserve a dedicated core. I am not an expert on on other micros but I cannot imagine accomplishing all the multiple tasks so easily on anything other than the Prop with ability to run 8 processes simultaneously.

    For the P2 I'd enjoy expanding the graphics capabilities for LCD control and expand into some home automation products. My projects are high ticket, low volume, in the hundreds of P1's a year. I would switch out to the P2 for some modules to get more memory.

    I am positive that home automation will only expand. Apple was trying to buy my systems for some experimental spaces they were building and they were insisting on getting the source code for the Prop for door control so they have the option to make changes. I told them it was not in any language they were familiar with and they didn't care. I declined to allow them to have the code and we parted ways. But, the point is they are interested in motion.
  • Initially, the P2 users will be the same people that are currently using the P1. I have seen several P1 projects and products that required using two P1s for one reason or another. A second P1 was required to provide more cogs, more pins and/or more memory. A single P2 will easily provide more capability than two P1s.

    Later on there will be more new users of the P2 after the word gets around about all the great P2 projects that will be done.
  • Original equipment manufacturers. An example could be 3D printers, mills, and other devices being made today. There is a rapidly growing niche in small to mid-sized manufacturing.

    This looks an awful lot like where Parallax is right now. Rather than become huge and make bazillions of things, it's possible, profitable, sustainable to just nail it for smaller niches, who then continue to do business with a competitive advantage.

    P2 is well aligned with this. The higher potential BOM line item cost isn't such a big deal in these markets. They are lean, and again, it's about just nailing it for people who will pay for that being available to them.

    One example I can give is a 3D printer manufacturer currently building on some of the better control boards out there. BOM cost is not a consideration, given their niche. There is plenty of room in the product for a better control system. To them, it's about features, ease of their own development, robust functionality, ability to offer features and compete in larger markets at disruptive pricing.

    Disruptive pricing is typically a match or exceed in capability / features with a 5 to 10x cost differential.

    I've looked around at the field of possibilities in this space, and a few others. A P2 based board would offer a TON of functionality potential for very similar pricing.

    Which leads me to the next observation:

    Those OEM's, niche ones doing a good, but not huge business, need to source sub-systems they can count on, and that really deliver. I expect P2 to enable a field of sub-systems based on it that can pack a real punch compared to a lot of what is out there today.

    This time, we will have C and the tools needed to assist in development, ports, and all that required to enter those markets properly.

    Others have spoken to markets they know, so I'll just stop with these.

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?123709-Commented-Graphics_Demo.spin<br>
  • Oh, and please tell me this isn't a "do it or not" type scenario! Many of us have plans. :D

    Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball! @opengeekorg ---> Be Excellent To One Another SKYPE = acuity_doug
    Parallax colors simplified: http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?123709-Commented-Graphics_Demo.spin<br>
  • After all the time and effort that Parallax has put into the P2 it's hard to believe that they would consider terminating the project at this point. That money and time is already spent. The incremental amount of money and effort to bring the P2 to market is small compared to the past expenditures. I think Parallax will recoup their expenses in just a couple of years once the P2 starts selling.
  • I am an apprentice electrician, studying at school right now. I can confirm to you right now that the curriculum has changed allot over the last couple of years and there is a very big emphasis on the (DC/Low AC) side of things now. Things like automation, smart power grids, and IOT is now a part of all training. There is a huge need for educational embedded systems to train people on, for all the reasons I mentioned. When designing these educational systems, make certain the boards are large and have Punch down tool compatible connectors. These boards need to fit inside patch panels and must meet all the ANSI standards. You need to develop a system of interoperating with (alarm/security systems, DAS, VOIP, wireless networking, server side programmable, and data storage).

    All of this probably has more to do with educational products and less to do with P2. My guess is the real market for P2 is how your company uses it to build educational products and services. One thing to note, the schools in this field have big budgets, $500-$1000 spent per system in some cases.
  • Dave Hein wrote: »
    After all the time and effort that Parallax has put into the P2 it's hard to believe that they would consider terminating the project at this point. That money and time is already spent.


    But isn't now the time that the big bucks start to get spent? When two or three cheques need to be written with big numbers on them?
  • The organization I work for may adopt the Propeller 2 as our goto microcontroller for use in embedded controllers and test equipment where its smart pins, and increased RAM/cogs/performance would address the capability limits we are running into with the Propeller 1. Quantity wise our work is low volume (needing maybe 50-100 microcontrollers a year) but long term (decades), with system upgrades as required to address supportability and evolving capability needs.

    For personal use, I have two large projects where I may use a Propeller 2: garden automation, and a fully automated home brewing setup. In both of these applications individual microcontrollers will interface with the sensors/actuators/heaters/etc required to control the specific portion of the system the microcontroller is responsible for, with a central controller providing the user interface for directing the system as a whole and monitoring its status.

    The real driver for whether I end up using the Propeller 2 for professional and personal work is the availability of C and C++. No matter how interesting and capable Spin may be, it has neither the portability that C and C++ offer, nor the plethora of testing and analysis tools that are available for C and C++, and thus is a nogo for me.
  • I guess my thought when it comes to the apparent weakness of not having built-in flash, is that this can be a positive.
    -memory storage is always increasing, so instead of the P2 chip becoming obsolete because of a specific flash size, it has longevity (customers can use the newer, larger, chip for probably the same old price).
    -the customers fearing wearing out the flash, can be confident they can replace the cheaper 8-pin memory chip instead of the huge P2.
    -the external flash memory chips can be pre-programmed, instead of requiring assembly line programming.
    -future proofing when Xpoint or Mram becomes more common.


    Evil questions I'd ask if I was on the board:

    What provisions does a P2 have for monitoring its own battery levels, and potentially even controlling the charge of its own battery?

    How accommodating is the design to board layout issues where a signal pin on the other side of the chip needs to be used instead of one nearby where the software programmer wished it would be?

    What is your expected yield per wafer, and what have you done to make sure yields are high?

    What communications are supported? (USB, ethernet, wifi, LCD panel signaling, i2s, other buzzwords) etc?

    The era of sending a technician on an airplane for a software change is over. What will you provide in terms of facilitating remote program changes?
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    For success in any embedded industrial application it should be a one chip solution. Right now any NVRAM is off chip, making the current embodiment a minimal two chip solution.

    Hmm.... I guess it's lucky FTDI and the hugely successful ESP8266 / ESP32 failed to get that memo then !!
    "should be a one chip solution" claims only hold water in the sub $1 region.
    External Flash parts of 2M Bytes are sub 20c
    Cluso99 wrote: »
    Most micros have internal Flash, and many have <1% internal oscillators. For the P2, IMHO both of these should now be a required target for the P2. I know the oscillator has been discussed, but the Flash/Eeprom/OTP question hasn't even been asked of OnSemi.
    I'm not sure if internal flash is vital (see above examples), but it is worth asking about two-chip options at the layout stage.
    ie even if the first part has external flash, just like the ESP8266/ESP32 do, being able to offer a version with a stacked flash die, is a useful sales card to have.
    Cluso99 wrote: »
    ... and many have <1% internal oscillators...
    That's a good point, but none are fab'd with < 1% values. They are calibrated to those values later.
    IIRC Chip did some work on significantly lowering the tempco of both the internal Oscillators.
    That allows the test-time option of including a calibrate byte, in the user 127 fuse bits.
    Combined with the better M/N PLL, that should allow quite good frequency control, and the NCO can do final baud correction.

    Even without calibration, whilst the P1 Crystal has proven less than ideal at 5MHz(large), the P2 supports much cheaper and smaller crystals, plus many use MEMS oscillators now.
    (See the new P1 FLiP, no Xtal present).

    Or, you can AC connect a sub $1 (~64c) clipped sine TCXO to the Xtal buffer, which is what I'd do if I were Parallax doing a P2 module.
    Forget worrying about <1%, or even 50ppm Crystals, jump straight to a 0.5 ppm spec

  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    Dave Hein wrote: »
    After all the time and effort that Parallax has put into the P2 it's hard to believe that they would consider terminating the project at this point. ...

    True, but any Board worth their salt, should at least be asking the question.

  • Cluso99Cluso99 Posts: 12,981
    edited May 21 Vote Up0Vote Down
    FWIW, the internal flash:eeprom/OTP I refer to is small, just enough to allow for various external memory options.

    For instance, there is no need for an external Flash chip if there is always an SD Card.

    Similarly, if P2 controls I/O for an ARM chip, the code can be downloaded from the ARM. A small boot loader in internal flash might be ideal - enough to say preconfigured the I/O pull-ups/pulldowns and then load code.

    IMHO the option needs to be explored. The answers may be surprising!
    My Prop boards: P8XBlade2, RamBlade, CpuBlade, TriBlade
    Prop OS (also see Sphinx, PropDos, PropCmd, Spinix)
    Website: www.clusos.com
    Prop Tools (Index) , Emulators (Index) , ZiCog (Z80)
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    edited May 21 Vote Up0Vote Down
    whicker wrote: »
    Evil questions I'd ask if I was on the board:

    What provisions does a P2 have for monitoring its own battery levels, and potentially even controlling the charge of its own battery?
    I'm not sure P2 chases Battery apps, more will be known when actual Static icc values are measured.
    A more relevant variant on this question would be :
    "What provisions does a P2 have for monitoring its own Supply levels" - and I think the answer is none, there is no Brown out detector, so external voltage monitor reset will be needed.
    Given the P2 needs dual-regulator, it's likely a P-GOOD regulator version will solve the BOD.
    whicker wrote: »
    How accommodating is the design to board layout issues where a signal pin on the other side of the chip needs to be used instead of one nearby where the software programmer wished it would be?
    P2 is more flexible than most MCUs, even allowing passing Pin indexes as parameters !!
    However, there will always be cases where pins need to be paired or grouped, so totally random PCB designs are off the table.
    whicker wrote: »
    What is your expected yield per wafer, and what have you done to make sure yields are high?
    No-one designs for poor yields, but OnSemi should have representative defect/mm2 values for the FAB process
    whicker wrote: »
    What communications are supported? (USB, ethernet, wifi, LCD panel signaling, i2s, other buzzwords) etc?
    UART, SPI, i2c are the base serial standards. i2s is a variant of SPI, & should be no problem.
    USB has some support, and is currently a work-in-progress - Host to Slave is operating.
    Ethernet ? - maybe, using streamer ?
    LCD panels ? - streamer should manage all common parallel cases.
    WiFi / Bluetooth - done using external modules.
    CAN/LIN/DALI etc, should all be possible, and in large numbers.

    A useful sales metric would be 'Largest Number of...'

    There are still some open questions around Double-edge (DTR/DDR) support.

    Another Board question could be :
    What support is there for modern small package memories, and XIP-like designs ? ( eg QuadSPI, QuadSPI-DTR, and HyperRAM/HyperFLASH)

    whicker wrote: »
    The era of sending a technician on an airplane for a software change is over. What will you provide in terms of facilitating remote program changes?
    That's outside P2 core scope, but certainly a system design can include wireless updates.
  • I'm of a mixed opinion on this one. Here are some thoughts:

    Supporting popular programming languages is important. However, this has little to do with being able to port code. Instead, it's about lowering the barriers to adoption by allowing programmers, designers, etc. to apply the knowledge they already have. Put another way, there has to be a very compelling reason to learn something entirely new instead of going with what you already have experience with.

    I do not see P2 being targeted by SoC/single-chip designs, even if it had non-volatile storage. For large volume applications, the SoC is often tailored to the need of the product (hence the myriad of PIC variants sold by Microchip). The problem with P2 isn't that it's not capable of doing the same thing, but that it's capable of doing so much more. This is at odds with the mentality of several (not all) hardware designers I've worked with, who are looking for a chip that does precisely what they want and nothing more.

    I do see the P2 being used for higher-end industrial equipment. A lot of these designs are likely to be low-volume, though there's potential for some high-volume stuff. The advantage of this group is that designs are not necessarily focused on the lowest cost or power, but will take other factors into consideration, such as reliability and reduced maintenance costs. Convincing designers of the unique advantages of the P2 for addressing these concerns would likely be a worthwhile effort.

    I do see the P2 being popular in the hobbyist/maker community. Unfortunately, these are all relatively low volume sales, individually. Unless you end up with something that has the popularity of an Arduino or ESP8266, which are more than just a chip, it will be difficult to leverage makers as a group. In other words, this isn't so much about making the P2 available, but making a great general-purpose board available that uses the P2.

    Robotics might very well be a good fit for the P2. However, this is still a wild frontier and there are a LOT of other companies that want to get in on it. The P2 will not (necessarily) be able to compete in the AI/autonomy areas, but it should be really well suited for I/O and low-level control. In fact, I thin this is one of those places where being a swiss-army MCU might be an advantage over the PICs and AVRs, as it will allow a single chip be be used in a variety of interfacing tasks, thereby simplifying overall design and development. In this case, I think it will be important to ensure the P2 can easily interact with higher-end CPUs (the ones that will be responsible for high-level processing). Does it mean that the P2 can't be used for high-level operations? No, but using the P2 for that purpose will require a different approach that the current industry is used to. As a result, the P2 is not what they will be expecting to target for such work.

    A couple times, we have discussed whether the P2 can compete with FPGAs. While I certainly thing this is possible, the problem is that this isn't a market, per se. In other words, the P2 can compete only in a few specific ways (for instance, ease of peripheral integration), and I have no idea how you can identify what markets the equivalent FPGAs are being used in. FPGAs are in much the same category as the P2 itself, in that it is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none chip. The advantage that FPGAs have over the P2 is that everyone knows what they are generally. The disadvantage, of course, is cost and complexity. But unless those that are looking for an "FPGA solution" know that the P2 is a viable alternative, the P2 will not be able to compete against them.

    Of course, there's the educational community. Education is obviously very important to Parallax. But, there's a more selfish reason for keeping focus on this group: people tend to keep using the things they like. If people are educated with the P2, then they are more likely to keep using the P2. However, this alone is not a recipe for success. There are many competing pressures that new designers will face, making it harder to use Propellers in their work. Of course, that's doubly true if those designers don't know about the P2 in the first place.

    All of this leads me to the feeling that the P2 will be a low-volume chip (at least initially). As a result, I suspect that the unit prices will be higher than Chip has been suggesting. I know this is a balancing act, as higher prices can also suppress potential sales. But unless Parallax is willing to risk taking a loss to get the P2 established, there is only so low the price can go.


    I don't suppose there's an entirely new area market that the P2 could create due to it's uniqueness?
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    Cluso99 wrote: »
    FWIW, the internal flash:eeprom/OTP I refer to is small, just enough to allow for various external memory options.

    For instance, there is no need for an external Flash chip if there is always an SD Card.

    Similarly, if P2 controls I/O for an ARM chip, the code can be downloaded from the ARM. A small boot loader in internal flash might be ideal - enough to say preconfigured the I/O pull-ups/pulldowns and then load code.

    IMHO the option needs to be explored. The answers may be surprising!
    I think what is in there now is 256 Fuses of Parallax custom design, plus 16k of Library ROM from OnSemi.

    It's certainly worth asking about Library ROM -> OTP or MTP memory, and asking about ROM changes / mask charges for even pure ROM.
    Some OTP claims say no added layers, and no size penalty, but those are marketing claims & there may be yield issues involved aka no free lunch.

    Internal flash means internal Flash and ROM, and my understanding is flash needs Charge Pumps and more process layers, so in real terms, that means less RAM, and more cost.

    A stacked chip is probably more practical, if you want FLASH type convenience.
    I see this : AT24C08D-XHM-T IC EEPROM 8KBIT 1MHZ 8TSSOP $0.03452 @ 5k, certainly cheap if small, but is that less bonding than a (sub 20c) SPI memory ?

    Cluso99 wrote: »
    For instance, there is no need for an external Flash chip if there is always an SD Card.
    Perhaps, but is a SD card really going to be a common P2-Connect ? RaspPi, yes, because of the sheer code bulk needed, they have no choice.
    The smallest/cheapest FLASH I can find is ~ 22c, 512kb, for 2x3mm package, which seems minimal on PCB and BOM impact & that covers all your use cases.

  • Just food for thought on what was behind my one chip solution suggestion. Many of the companies that we deal with will not buy a product if it contains an SD card or any kind of removable memory component. It's for security reasons, but not from the angle you might think. The machine itself with the SD card in it is not the problem, most people could care less with the amount of R&D going into the machine any copying or duplication from the software end is of the least concern, but the SD card within the machine itself can be a problem. The concern is that information can be copied to the SD card from within the company allowing data to leave the facility. ... With a one chip solution, you avoid this issue and open the doors to a market that would otherwise not be interested at all.



    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
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    edited May 22 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just food for thought on what was behind my one chip solution suggestion. Many of the companies that we deal with will not buy a product if it contains an SD card or any kind of removable memory component. It's for security reasons, but not from the angle you might think. The machine itself with the SD card in it is not the problem, most people could care less with the amount of R&D going into the machine any copying or duplication from the software end is of the least concern, but the SD card within the machine itself can be a problem. The concern is that information can be copied to the SD card from within the company allowing data to leave the facility. ... With a one chip solution, you avoid this issue and open the doors to a market that would otherwise not be interested at all.

    I'm not following this....
    First you mention any kind of removable memory component, but Serial FLASH SMD mounted, is not what most consider removable.

    Then you say "The concern is that information can be copied to the SD card from within the company allowing data to leave the facility. ... With a one chip solution, you avoid this issue" ? - is the concern that the SD card can be used to carry data in a cloaked manner ?
    How does a single chip solution prevent that, besides reducing the size of the data - I can copy info into any flash part, SD alone is not a risk point, surely ALL Flash is a risk point.

    I've also seen MicroSD cards directly surface mounted. Is that still called any kind of removable memory component then ?
  • Beau SchwabeBeau Schwabe Posts: 6,301
    edited May 22 Vote Up0Vote Down
    jmg,

    "is the concern that the SD card can be used to carry data in a cloaked manner ?" ... not cloaked, but if an SD card or CF-card can be removed, you now have a medium in which anybody can copy data and remove it from the facility.... hey, this is not my rule. There are big companies with deep pockets that I deal with that have blanket restrictions where any kind of memory devices on a machine or person are not allowed, and you are checked at the door. I believe entering is more strictly enforced that exiting but it is still enforced. Ironically some of these companies are big chip manufacturers.

    A single chip solution simply has all of the program internal to the micro controller. Since it's a micro controller you can't exactly use it like a thumb drive (well you could, but that's another topic ...it's just not as likely and obscure)

    I suppose if the SD card is soldered to the board then it can't be removed. The blanket rule is any SD card, and a soldered card would be an exception. Again not my rule, but the blanket rule would still apply. They wouldn't bother with taking the time to check if the SD card is soldered or not. That's the way things are sometimes which comes back to "board directors" ... if there isn't a full understanding then sometimes common sense goes out the window, and the "SAFE" blanket rule applies soldered SD card or not



    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
  • jmgjmg Posts: 10,622
    edited May 22 Vote Up0Vote Down
    .... The blanket rule is any SD card, and a soldered card would be an exception. Again not my rule, but the blanket rule would still apply. They wouldn't bother with taking the time to check if the SD card is soldered or not. That's the way things are sometimes which comes back to "board directors" ... if there isn't a full understanding then sometimes common sense goes out the window, and the "SAFE" blanket rule applies soldered SD card or not
    Of course there are many 'rules' that fail simple litmus tests, but even taking all the issues around SD cards (such removal and unreliable sockets), that does not affect a surface mounted flash device, which the policy you mention seems to not consider removable - so 'single chip' is not the requirement you claimed ? - I think you really meant 'No SD'.
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