P2 Edge

13

Comments

  • TwyyxTwyyx Posts: 14
    edited 2020-09-30 - 08:56:58
    Here are some ideas I'm mulling about, or "things which I would like the P2 edge design to not prohibit in its final form", even if they aren't built directly in to the P2 edge.

    Caveat: After writing much of this, I realized I was describing something that was outside of the design intent of the P2 edge, but I'm going to post this anyway just for the ideas and discussion that might ensue. Beware, this is a *long* post.


    Wish list for a product-focused P2 module:

    Daisy-chaining 4 or 8 P2s in the same product, with little loss of signal integrity between modules. (More cycles for more audio texturing and modeling at higher quality)

    Supervisor module with 'net connectivity for software updates. It would be nice if there were an optional connector which could be used for this, which would be ignored when it is not asserting "give me priority on boot". Alternately, an in-built capability from a Parallax-sourced wifi module would be preferred. Please give me a reason to not build a dedicated ESP32 add-on for this. A P2 supervisor board would be preferable, but we need net.

    Clock sync between boards. Even if this isn't a socketed crystal, I want to be able to easily sync downstream clocks to an upstream PLL signal up to a reasonable rate, This is important in real-time audio processing algorithms, for example, where phase offsets need to be deterministically accurately to achieve certain harmonic effects throughout the audible spectrum.

    An easy way to measure voltage and/or current draw because these modules will need to fit within a power envelope that the user can manage. Some pads to solder probes and meters to would be nice. I could attach a cheap volt meter to each board.

    HyperRAM. HyperRAM will be necessary for everything I'm doing. Having an easy way to add it will be essential.

    Bigger flash options, even if this means socketed flash. The cost of the socket is negligible compared to the lack of adaptability. Imagine storing a high-quality sample library in flash to be buffered to HyperRAM as needed. High quality audio takes more space than the lower quality samples of the past. It needs to fit!

    "Micro Modular?"

    Maybe the other board becomes a slightly more modular board could be provided which supports some of the 8-way bus configurations like the P2 ES, but in a micro format which would easily fit within a confined space. I don't know if leaving the edge card pins unconnected on the back-plane would be sufficient for prioritizing direct-attached peripherals, but I wouldn't want to have to rely on that anyway.

    So, elaborating on this idea a bit, to solve for the persistent storage, I would be happy to be able to add a micro-sd card reader. If I could pay $10-20 for this and plug it into a header on one of the boards and go, that would be idea. If I wanted to pull the header bracket off and solder it directly, that would be even better. Maybe this means you can optionally order this thing (that doesn't exist) without the headers soldered on to the "4 direct-attach 8-pin peripheral ports". Then, I could build a flash or micro-sd, or USB, or whatever type of component to go there. Of course, I would prefer to buy a flash module of the right size from Parallax, but this is quite a small engineering investment to deal with, and a much smaller unit cost to both Parallax and the builder if they want to go down this path, as compared to "either your project works with P2 edge" or "you basically have to design your own PCB to have these things in your product."

    User Access

    Sorry for the very long post. I see the flexibility of the smart pins as a form of design modularity that brings "micro-modular" possibilities into focus. The fact that deeply integrated designs which employ the P2 right now will require custom PCBs .. this will be a limitation, AKA an opportunity to fill a modularity gap in a way that other vendors struggle with. I'm a big fan of things like the beaglebone black, ESP32, and so on, but if you've worked with these, you know that they are really a vertically integrated set of capabilities which either do what you want or they don't. You could argue that the dedicated real-time MCUs on the beaglebone black remove such limitations, but that would be ignoring the average skill level of most builders in the wide middle of the market right now. Such rabbit holes are avoided for good reason.

    Most of the MCUs and development boards on the market are quite limited as platforms compared to what the P2 can offer. It would be wonderful to see the P2 reach the level of peripheral flexibility at the board/application level that the internal design enables. There's just too much there to work with to leave interfacing as a harder problem. Electronic hobbyists and educators have been shifting more towards a lego-block approach for awhile. P2 "edge v3" or something with the P2 has the power to bring this full circle to something even more modular and even easier to assemble for a wide range of applications than any of the other boards that are popular now. There are a ton of them, but none of them really compares to what you can do with a P2 in its power envelope and bare-metal design features.

    Even if there is a basic wiring standard for P2 micro-modular designs, there probably needs to be a spin and p2 asm library that can set a standard for a hardware abstraction layer. This is inevitably going to appear in the P2 user space, and it would be nice if it worked with the signaling mechanisms that are employed by modules, including passive wiring and/or active CIB "a component identification block" or even negotiating encryption in the future for stored data. Defining a basic hardware + software HAL standard would open the door for ecosystem expansion as well as enable individual builders to assemble their own library of peripherals, for internal use or for sale into the ecosystem. Widening this ecosystem is good for Parallax and the rest of us too. I'd like to see a "P2MPISv1" - A P2 Modular Peripheral Interfacing Standard, version 1 someday.

    I know Chip, Ken, and crew are working on solving this, and it will take some time for these efforts to bear fruit. That's why I'm saying it all here ^^ in the hopes that it will help some with clarifying user wishes. I'm making up some things that don't exist yet, but if they did, I'd be telling all my friends in the hobby and cross-over in other industries about this amazing builder's toolbox from Parallax. One can wish! Thanks for reading all this.
  • cgraceycgracey Posts: 13,079
    edited 2020-09-30 - 13:54:43
    Wow! Lots of good ideas there, Twyyx. I will reread that a few times to try to absorb more of it.
  • Right now, I need something in between a Flip or a P1 ic for my current project.
    ...
    Yes, a P2 would be long (about 3 1/2" x 5/8" (89mm x 16)).
    That is longer than a 1/2 sized bread board. But it would
    be compact.
    ...
    All I wanted was a P2 at a reasonable cost. To me reasonable
    ends after ~$40.
    Please check my KISS board. Unfortunatelly, I can't promise that I can make it for $40. Even though it's fairly "bare bone" layout and assembly takes time and that costs money. And because the P2 is not available in China it can't be done by a cheap board house like JLC or PCBA. If you'd take 100 I could probably make it for $40 or less.
  • Will someone please post what Ken had to say about the Edge?

    My invite for yesterday's "Propeller 2 Live Forum" was a link for
    the for a previous live chat 2 weeks ago.


    Bill M.
  • Will someone please post what Ken had to say about the Edge?

    My invite for yesterday's "Propeller 2 Live Forum" was a link for
    the for a previous live chat 2 weeks ago.


    Bill M.

    I didn't see it either, but the video will be up soon - maybe later today.
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 848
    edited 2020-10-04 - 07:19:09
    Will a pinout for the edge connector be released before the Edge is available? ... Possibly a connector part# too, if the connectors are not yet available from Parallax.
    As for as the connector for the P2 Edge, it sounded to me like they are going ahead with the previously announced one. And Ken mentioned that they will stock the connector at a decent price, much lower than the earlier forum speculation. I forget if that will be a straight or a right-angle connector or both, but hopefully both (though I think that I'd prefer a right-angle one).

    And work is well underway on a version of the P2 Edge that will have dual HyperRAM chips. The board might even have the same dimensions as the more bare-bones version, as Chip said that they might be able to move things around to squeeze in the BGA chips (at the top on the right side). Most, if not all, of those lines wouldn't come out to the edge connector to keep the signals clean and fast (Update: But Chip mentioned possibly using mux'es to bring them out to the connector if the user didn't want to use HyperRAM). Chip said in the meeting that the HyperRAM chips could be used independently (simultaneously) or ganged together, something that was discussed recently in rogloh's HyperRAM driver thread, too.

    In the meeting, we also learned that JonnyMac's P2 Edge breakout board design idea is indeed coming to life (as "The JonnyMac"). And some other products were mentioned, but it was too early in the morning where I was during the meeting for me to wrap my head around the details, so perhaps others can chime in.

    As for a pinout for the connector and a connector part number, thanks for asking about those earlier. I'd like to see that information, too, once things are finalized enough. I imagine that the design efforts have been pretty intense lately. Also, the decision to go ahead with a P2 Edge with HyperRAM needed a lot of consideration, as well as the design itself. I think that they will post more connector information once the dust settles a bit. Of course, it's understandable that folks here want to get a head start with their own design efforts while waiting for the P2 Edge to become available. We're always chomping at the bit(s).
  • Are there already any speculations about the price? (Edge alone and Jons breakout board)
  • SuracSurac Posts: 79
    edited 2020-10-02 - 10:33:28
    How is the usability in automotive or industrial environment for the edge - connector? My customers always struggle with mechanical mounting boards in boxes and make the connectors not falling off. Will it be possible to directly solder wires to the edge without using a connector?
    This 90 degree angel abproach makes finding a good Mount not easier
  • Surac wrote: »
    How is the usability in automotive or industrial environment for the edge - connector? My customers always struggle with mechanical mounting boards in boxes and make the connectors not falling off. Will it be possible to directly solder wires to the edge without using a connector?
    This 90 degree angel abproach makes finding a good Mount not easier

    Card-edge connectors are everywhere in the automotive industry. It's common to find rack-mount servo-drives that lost their retaining screws and simply rely on the edge-connector to keep them in situ. I have come across more problems with ribbon-cable connectors where someone has managed to bend a pin. :smile:
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,008
    edited 2020-10-02 - 22:02:44
    Surac wrote: »
    How is the usability in automotive or industrial environment for the edge - connector? My customers always struggle with mechanical mounting boards in boxes and make the connectors not falling off. Will it be possible to directly solder wires to the edge without using a connector?
    This 90 degree angel approach makes finding a good Mount not easier
    The Edge may not be appropriate for all applications -- where it isn't, you can certainly follow Parallax and member guidance and layout your own board. I appreciate the Edge approach for the kinds of work that I do where the control box is not exposed to harsh environments (electrically or mechanically). One of my customers is already very excited because he only builds T/H boards, and there are T/H sockets available for the Edge.

  • Is there anyway to get a P2 Edge type board shorter than 50mm? I have an application in mind but it needs to be less than 50mm. Is there a [standard] connector dense enough to get this many pads within 50mm in width?
  • What's the maximum [clearance] height of the components on the top side of the board?
  • Rounding up, P2 Edge is 52mm wide by 37mm tall.
    The width here is the dimension that mates with the card edge socket.

    The max clearance is set by the tallest part, the inductor. That's the same as the one on the P2-EVAL board. (I don't have one to hand to measure, but from memory it's no more than 5mm)


    And from a previous question... There is a small hole near the edge connector so that a mounting post could be installed for orientation control, or some sort of fixing post for customers concerned that the module might "vibrate out" of the edge connector.
  • CJMJCJMJ Posts: 76
    edited 2020-10-04 - 03:08:24
    I like physical prototypes when I'm working on a concept. Here's a 3D print of a P2 Edge mock-up compared to a Basic Stamp. The .zip file contains the .stl and .gcode files if anyone wants to print their own.
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 848
    edited 2020-10-04 - 06:56:56
    Nice side-by-side comparison. I like how you printed the inductor, the tallest part.

    Update: Hmm, in the latest video, the "switcher" appears to be on the left side when viewing the top of the board. Guess they moved some things around.
  • You're right. I saw the Rev A board on one of the videos as well.
  • CJMJ wrote: »
    I like physical prototypes when I'm working on a concept. Here's a 3D print of a P2 Edge mock-up compared to a Basic Stamp. The .zip file contains the .stl and .gcode files if anyone wants to print their own.

    Ozprop 3d printed some of these and gave me one. They're smaller than I imagined, and somehow the aspect ratio makes them feel even smaller.

    Thanks for posting the 3d files Cjmj

  • JonnyMac wrote: »
    I think the Edge is going to be a great way to get the P2 into commercial projects; the key -- for me, anyway -- is helping developers develop with the Edge. I'd like to propose a P2 Edge Development Board that looks like the attached image. It's not a PDB, but it would help developers create circuits for the Edge while maintaining compatibility with P2 Eval accessories.

    I know it looks really big -- it's not, though; it's just a little bigger than two P2 Eval boards placed side-by-side.


    Not shown in idea graphic: 5v power supply components and USB interface components.

    I would definitely order this! Maybe a few of them.
  • I would definitely order this! Maybe a few of them.
    Sometimes dreams come true -- this link is from last Wednesday's early adopter meeting and joins in where the Edge is discussed.
    --

    Warning: Vertical video due to the orientation of Chip's monitor.
  • Sweet! Thanks JonnyMac!
  • In my mind there needs to be two types of P2 modules.

    Experimentation, and Product Development.

    Experimentation Module:
    USB programming built-in, also powers the board. Optional power inputs for high current experiments.
    Popular add-in either on-board, or dedicated sockets and I/O pins for them to make demo code compatible with all.
    Minimal breadboard space
    Small number of undedicated I/O pins for user (8-16 or so maybe).


    Product Development Module:
    USB programming via a plug in to be able to test without it.
    Must be powered by external supply (maybe a barrel jack and regulators on-board)
    Lots of breadboard space
    No add-ins, just boot memory.
    All P2 I/O pins via header sockets

    This is just my two cents, but that is what I would use.

    Bean
  • You've nearly described the P2 Eval board (except that it doesn't have a breadboard) and the P2 Edge + P2 Edge breakout board.
  • Jon, good point.
    I have the P2 Eval board Rev C and I am using it for product development and it's not easy.

    I would rather have a "Product Development" board for the P2 Edge instead of the "breakout" board.
    Something that the P2 Edge would plug into from the side laying flat, instead of vertically. and would have a breadboard and regulators on it.

    Bean
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 7,008
    edited 2020-10-06 - 17:35:00
    Agreed. I was going to build my own breadboard add-on for the Eval (based on something someone else had done), but then the Edge was announced, and I made the suggestion for a breakout board that Parallax ran with. I did in fact suggest horizontal orientation of the Edge, but Parallax really wanted it vertical. Given everything else was what I asked for, how could I argue? The Edge breakout is about to be turned very quickly because it minimizes parts and they're all through-hole (my original idea also included onboard 5v supply and USB interface), so there's pasting, pick-and-place, or reflow to deal with. They can load in the parts and run it across a solder wave.

    It's a start. We have to remember that we're really at the started end of the P2, and I suspect once people start trying it, other accessories will be available. I had an exchange with MicroElectronika the other day and suggested that they add P1 and P2 dev boards to their interesting product mix.
    I would rather have a "Product Development" board for the P2 Edge instead of the "breakout" board.
    I understand and even agree. I also know from conversations with Ken that there's just not enough margin in a PDB-type board to build one for the P2. A P2 Edge PDB would make me very happy. Maybe one will come later.
  • "...I also know from conversations with Ken that there's just not enough margin in a PDB-type board to build one for the P2....

    Surely, you do not mean Parallax would loose money on such a board, do you?

    The advantage of having a board so useful for the real product development might be worth much more than couple of bucks made on a more profitable one. I'm thinking of how such a board might actually increase interest in the P2 (and sales figures too). But I may be wrong as well.
  • MicksterMickster Posts: 1,762
    edited 2020-10-06 - 19:23:23
    @Bean
    Yeah but please no barrel jack power connector...ugh..that means wall-wart PSU.
    To be totally hip, go with screwless terminals. I am using these things more and more and, yeah, it's the way things should be 👍
  • Surely, you do not mean Parallax would loose money on such a board, do you?

    The advantage of having a board so useful for the real product development might be worth much more than couple of bucks made on a more profitable one. I'm thinking of how such a board might actually increase interest in the P2 (and sales figures too). But I may be wrong as well.
    Ken says that's the case if they sell it at a price-point that people are willing to buy it. Some of us will take the hit on expensive boards for their utility, but it's hard to a small company to justify low margin, low volume products.

    There is an opportunity for specialty vendor to produce such a board. This is why I made a request to MikroE; the build a lot of dev boards and have good marketing to customers looking for them. As Parallax has created a P2 adapter for MikroE Click boards, I'm hoping they'll take interest in the Propeller. Their other dev boards are quite nice.
  • Just like everyone under the sun makes microbit compatible boards or arduino sheilds or pi hats, we want everyone under the sun to make P2 Edge compatible boards. :)
  • Dave HeinDave Hein Posts: 6,161
    edited 2020-10-06 - 20:00:28
    The type of P2 board that I would like to see would be something like a P2 Edge, but with holes for pins instead of an edge connector. It would be an 80-pin board with 4 rows of 20 pins each. There will be many applications that will not require 64 I/O pins, and could get by with only 32 I/O pins. In those cases only two of the rows would need pins soldered in them. If the two inner rows are used the board would fit in a solderless breadboard, where the wiring and some components could be put under the board. The board would also have a 4-pin connector for a Prop Plug.

    The board would look something like this. It's sort of like a Prop Mini, but for the P2.
    p2quip.png
    1031 x 866 - 440K
  • MaciekMaciek Posts: 151
    edited 2020-10-06 - 20:16:03
    Hmm...
    small company, low volume, low margin and a niche product... It'll be really hard to build on such statements.

    Doesn't sound too good to me and I'm not the one to be convinced. The P2 is a great chip but without the right marketing strategy it might not survive on the market and I'd hate to see that happen.

    But this thread is about the P2 Edge...
Sign In or Register to comment.