What is the SX, can you still get programming keys?

rwgast_logicdesignrwgast_logicdesign Posts: 1,464
edited 2012-12-13 - 11:41:49 in Microcontrollers
So I know the SX is EOL, but parallax still has tons in stock.. the javlin stamp has kind of interested me as a way of learning java. but im always on the lookout for cheap fast single core micros with decent i/o and the bare SX chip seems to fit the bill, kind of sucks im just now hearing about it at it EOL, parallax still has plenty in stock though..

I have three questions, Is the SX close to a PIC, is it 100% itws own IP like the propeller what is it. This question may seem vague obviously its a micro controller but i mean i figured out through some research that parallax only rebrands the chips. I gues what i want to know is why sx over PIC or AVR?

If I were to lay out an SX based board i.e. not javlin, or bs2sx. What are the main programming options available to me, that are free, other than asm? Does SX intruction set bear a resemblance to any other micros instruction set?

And lastly parallax never has SX keys in stock, im guessing because its EOL :/ is there another way to program SX chips?

Comments

  • PublisonPublison Posts: 10,787
    edited 2012-09-10 - 12:39:49
    So I know the SX is EOL, but parallax still has tons in stock.. the javlin stamp has kind of interested me as a way of learning java. but im always on the lookout for cheap fast single core micros with decent i/o and the bare SX chip seems to fit the bill, kind of sucks im just now hearing about it at it EOL, parallax still has plenty in stock though..

    I have three questions, Is the SX close to a PIC, is it 100% itws own IP like the propeller what is it. This question may seem vague obviously its a micro controller but i mean i figured out through some research that parallax only rebrands the chips. I gues what i want to know is why sx over PIC or AVR?

    If I were to lay out an SX based board i.e. not javlin, or bs2sx. What are the main programming options available to me, that are free, other than asm? Does SX intruction set bear a resemblance to any other micros instruction set?

    And lastly parallax never has SX keys in stock, im guessing because its EOL :/ is there another way to program SX chips?

    Don't worry about EOL. There is 10 years worth of supply.

    SX-Key Programmers here:

    http://www.xgamestation.com/view_product.php?id=25

    A weeks worth of reading here:

    http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?93427-Best-SX-Threads-index-and-Code-Examples

    A
    nother weeks worth of reading:

    http://www.sxlist.com/techref/ubicom/index.htm


    Infernal Machine
  • RobotWorkshopRobotWorkshop Posts: 2,300
    edited 2012-09-10 - 13:26:44
    I have three questions, Is the SX close to a PIC, is it 100% itws own IP like the propeller what is it. This question may seem vague obviously its a micro controller but i mean i figured out through some research that parallax only rebrands the chips. I gues what i want to know is why sx over PIC or AVR?

    If I were to lay out an SX based board i.e. not javlin, or bs2sx. What are the main programming options available to me, that are free, other than asm? Does SX intruction set bear a resemblance to any other micros instruction set?

    And lastly parallax never has SX keys in stock, im guessing because its EOL :/ is there another way to program SX chips?

    - The SX28 and SX48 chips are similar to the PIC chips but you can think of them like Super PIC chips. They are fast and versatile. If you have been using any of the SX series chips then while there is still a good supply there is no reason not to use them. With the price drop on them now they are hard to beat. However, since the EOL notice I don't think I would start developing new applications with these chips if you don't already own the development tools (SX-Key) or have long, long term goals for them. Instead you're probably better off looking at the Propeller (when appropriate), Atmel AVR's, TI 430's, or maybe the PIC chips.

    - For programming you can use the assembler but an easy way to start is with SX/B. It is a compiled BASIC language. Using SX/B you can access the hardware features of the chip like the timers and interrupts and get more speed than an Interpreted Stamp chip. There was also a free version of C for the SX chips but I never really used that.

    - You can use an SX-Key (Serial), SX-Key (USB), or the SX-Blitz to program the chips. There were also some plans online at one point to make a programmer but I don't know how well that works and never tried it. If you really want to try the SX chips you should put a watch list on ebay for the SX-key and SX-Blitz devices and also in the classified section here. Perhaps you can get a deal from someone moving from the SX to something else.
  • rwgast_logicdesignrwgast_logicdesign Posts: 1,464
    edited 2012-09-10 - 14:51:55
    Ok well the name of the game is cheap, easy to implement, easy to program! Has to have flash memmory, very little external parts required, and hopefully be fast enough to drive any hardware I throw at it, like buttons, displays, led matrix's that kind of stuff, doesnt have to communicate with sram at 20mhz or something. The SX running basic fits all of this, its just the EOL bugs me. Id hate to make something finally and sell it and not be able to get SX chips anymore. I mean i keep hearing this 10 year number but what if i sell a 1000 of something the first year and then 100 year after year till 10 years. The 41,000 listed on there page isnt a 10 year supply if there are a few people out there who do that plus other supporting SX devices in production. So is just putting basic on a newer PIC a better idea? How close to is the SX basic compiler to PBasic? Could I use a bs2 board to prototype then easily get that running on an sx?
  • wasswass Posts: 151
    edited 2012-09-10 - 16:02:31
    I love the SX and use it almost exclusively for my own projects, but if I were going to sell 1000 of something and more into the future I certainly would not select this processor.

    SX/B looks like PBasic on the surface but it's not really like it. It's just a small step above assembly language and you can see the simple translation of each command into assembly in the compiler listing. The exception to this are some of the built-in communications commands e.g., serial i/o). Also SX/B only does single operator 8 and 16 bit arithmetic which makes it a poor choice for mathematically oriented systems.

    So, yes, using a BASIC compiler on a current production PIC is probably a better way to go.
  • Jim FouchJim Fouch Posts: 395
    edited 2012-09-21 - 08:42:41
    wass wrote: »
    So, yes, using a BASIC compiler on a current production PIC is probably a better way to go.

    I second this. I have invested quite a bit of time & money to be able to develop on the PIC chips. I mostly leverage the 8-bit PICs. Understand, the PIC has it's limitations compared to the Propeller. It also has some good advantages. One of the down sides I see is the need to either learn assembly, or invest in a decent compiler. There are several good compilers to leverage against the PIC processors. They all seem to be in the $200-$350 price range. But once you have bought one of these, it opens you up to 100's of mostly cheap PIC processors.

    You also need to get a programmer for the PICs. These are not as cheap as for the SX or the Prop. And it is not a one size fits all. I think I have 3 different programmers to leverage all the different PICs I have in stock.

    I still use the Propeller on most all of my one off designs. It is just too easy to grab a $20 proto board and hit the ground running. But, for anything that I need to be cheap and dirty, then I consider the PIC chips.

    One of my new projects needs to track a ton of moving parts so to speak. There is no was I would dive into that with a PIC. The Prop just fits that kind of project so well.
  • edited 2012-12-13 - 08:25:09
    Has to have flash memory,

    It does not have any flash memory. Power it off and it forgets.
  • RobotWorkshopRobotWorkshop Posts: 2,300
    edited 2012-12-13 - 11:41:49
    It does not have any flash memory. Power it off and it forgets.

    Actually, both the SX28 and the SX48 have flash memory for the program code. They also have RAM to store variables, etc when the program is running. If you want to store runtime configuration settings, etc that you can alter on the fly to keep when the power is off then you could add an external memory chip to store those. For most of the projects where I useed the SX chips I didn't need to do that so just the processor itself handled everything.

    These are great chips but I would only really use them for existing projects or one off projects. With the EOL on these I wouldn't recommend using these on new designs.
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