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Thread: Switching to Propeller chip instead of using BS2 or Javlin?

  1. #1

    Default Switching to Propeller chip instead of using BS2 or Javlin?

    Ok, here's my dilemma:
    1. I have a BS2, Javlin, and a BOE for each.
    2. I haven't worked on a uP project in about 4-5 years, rusty
    3. I had no idea the Propeller was such a bad mamma jamma of a product, I don't remember reading about it until yesterday
    4. I have two project ideas at the moment
    --a. Digital Clock project - inspired by there not being any cool affordable digital clocks on the market and my girlfriend hating hearing an analog clock ticking in the bathroom. If I don't have a clock near the shower in the morning, I zone out, waste time and hot water, and end up late for work, lol!
    ----i. either LED dot matrix display or large cool looking LED segment modules (Sure 6432 board, Tim did some killer work on this)
    ----ii. use a cool RTC & calendar board http://www.futurlec.com/Mini_DS1307.shtml (thanks Sam)
    ----iii. assuming basic i/o routines for getters and setters for clock and calendar
    ----iv. assuming writing logic to scan dot matrix display or output to BCD-to-7-seg chips
    ----v. some cryolite and cement for enclosure (I always build the enclosure, you have to make it clear to show off the awesomeness of the components )

    --b. Aquarium Environment Monitor project
    ----i. A/D to interface with Temp, pH, and ORP probes
    ----ii. Ethernet interface to send probe data back to PC for logging
    ----iii. Maybe have RTC on board and storage to continue logging if link to PC lost
    ----iv. Assuming logic to write to storage, read from storage, getters/setters for RTC and Ethernet
    ----v. Assuming logic to calibrate the probes, you have to buy calibration solution to get them set up out of box
    ----vi. Inspired by this controller, it rocks but is expensive www.neptunesys.com/~clp/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemi d=40 If i put the $ into Propeller parts, kit/ide etc. then it can be used for other projects in the future.

    So... with all that background info, would you all scrap the BS2 and Javlin and climb the learning curve with the Propeller (seeing as that being the future) or just stick with the tried and true? I browsed around the OBEX, amazing how much code is in there already! Sticking with OOP is always a preference, kinda drift away from that playing with the BS2.

    For all you people out there in your teens and early twenties, YOU ARE SO LUCKY!!! I would have killed for this kind of stuff when I was 18 and had all the time in the world to mess with this. Being 33 sucks regarding not having free time!!! LOL
    My first uP project ever was with the Z80 and an 8255 PPI, reading two A/D chips for temperature and voltage and sending that formated data to a 2x16 Optrex LCD Dot Matrix display. That was in 1995 and I think the BS1 and BS2 were just coming out of the gate. Anyway, I'm digressing, any comments/suggestions would be great!

    Enthusiastically,
    Brian
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  2. #2
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    Parsec -- Being 33 sucks regarding not having free time!!! I'm 46, you'll excuse me if I have zero sympathy

    The clock project is going to be hard and uneconomical with just about any Parallax product, but probably easiest to do right with a prop and one of the serially interfaced clock chips that are around. I wouldn't waste my time with LED's; if you want to do an IMPRESSIVE CLOCK use the prop's video capability and an old TV. It's not like there's a shortage of those.

    For the aquarium monitor, well, if you want ethernet that's gonna get expensive with the other solutions (you'll need an add-on that can do the whole TCP stack). With the prop you can use a relatively cheap ethernet chip (check out the propNIC from ucontroller.com). It'll take about half the hub RAM to do a minimal stack but all you need is minimal and you should be able to fit the app in without heroic measures, meanwhile you have lots more control than you do with other solutions. And you can display the results on an old TV
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  3. #3

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    The clock will not be cheap. if you want large dot matrix expect to pay lots. if you want smaller LCD it will not be as bad. either way you will find one for sale for probably about 1/10th what it will cost you to make 1.

    The prop is a great product and if you want networking check out ucontroler.com there is a nice network interface module.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    propmod_us and propmod_1x1 are in stock. Only $30. PCB available for $5

    Want to make projects and have Gadget Gangster sell them for you? propmod-us_ps_sd and propmod-1x1 are now available for use in your Gadget Gangster Projects.

    Need to upload large images or movies for use in the forum. you can do so at uploader.propmodule.com for free.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  4. #4

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    Re "My first uP project ever was with the Z80 and an 8255 PPI"

    I think you will love the Propeller. It can do anything! Even emulate a Z80 and 8255 PPI (see the active TriBladeProp thread).

    But it can do so much more. Monitor multiple serial ports and a keyboard all at once. Drive a VGA display. Drive a LCD display. Talk to an SD card for mass cheap storage. Analog. Audio.

    I think the key is the ever growing library in the OBEX. There is so much brilliant code there, and sometimes a project becomes as simple as plugging together bits of code that are already written. Read a keyboard and printing it on a display is only a few lines of actual code.

    So re "would you all scrap the BS2 and Javlin and climb the learning curve with the Propeller", I'd have to say 'Yes'. (And that is coming from someone who deep down is really a Z80 programmer *grin*).

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    www.smarthome.viviti.com/build
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  5. #5

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    "would you all scrap the BS2 and Javlin and climb the learning curve with the Propeller" as with Dr_Acula .... I too say - YES (emphatically)

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    'Necessity is the mother of invention'

    'Those who can, do.Those who can’t, teach.'
    'Convince a man against his will, he's of the same opinion still.'

    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  6. #6

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    I appreciate all the great feedback, that pretty much settles it! Now to sell some of my other toys on Ebay and buy some Propeller dev gear
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  7. #7

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    Doing the same thing. Good luck with Ebay. I still haven't paid off my prop pro developement board which is still waiting for winter hibernation time.
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  8. #8

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    Hey Parsec,

    I've been a BASIC Stamp user for many years. Aside from some C-64 and Apple experience all of my programming efforts have been on the BASIC Stamp (the big gap in between was used for education, which apparently didn't foster any electronic interests). I've enjoyed using the Propeller more than anything we've ever made because it helps me compartmentalize, organize, and run tasks concurrently. Tucking away the code into modules or segments is nothing new in programming, but it was a huge breakthrough for a spaghetti programmer like myself. And to be able to choose whether or not the code runs alone in its own processor is nearly amazing. As for the learning curve, a few nights with Andy's PE Kit book will get you started. After that you'll be able to make use of many objects found in OBEX, not to mention the sample code we're publishing for the various Parallax products you already use. I don't envision myself programming in ASM, but I'm pretty certain I'll always get my project accomplished in Spin. For me it's a matter of personal education and familiarity with our product line - I'm not an embedded programmer or product designer by profession.

    As for the BS2 and Javelin hardware, these are still very popular products. But they're used for different reasons than the Propeller. The BS2, in particular, is really part of a whole educational/hobby package that goes with our courses, school curriculum, and contests. It's still a great controller for a first project, and I still use the BS2 quite often if I just need to "see it work, quick!". But once you hook up a VGA display to your Propeller it will become more difficult to find reasons to use the BASIC Stamp.

    Your BS2 would sell quickly on eBay since many students purchase them instead of books. But the Javelin - keep it for your museum. Fewer modules have been made and it is a specialty product of ours.

    Ken Gracey
    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

  9. #9

    Default

    As for the BS2 and Javelin hardware, these are still very popular products. But they're used for different reasons than the Propeller. The BS2, in particular, is really part of a whole educational/hobby package that goes with our courses, school curriculum, and contests. It's still a great controller for a first project, and I still use the BS2 quite often if I just need to "see it work, quick!". But once you hook up a VGA display to your Propeller it will become more difficult to find reasons to use the BASIC Stamp.
    I totally agree. The BS2 was a great way for me to stick my toes back into a pool I walked away from a few years back. I tried at that time to put together a 68HC11 system and that went badly. Not even being able to blink an LED and I lost interest. I saw the BS2 at Radio Shack a few months ago and thought... what the hey, shooting is too expensive these days (ha! little did I remember) so this might be fun to do in my down-time. 5 minutes after I unwrapped it I had a blinking LED!

    I stumbled into the Propeller by reading the forums and at first discounted it as overly complex. Then I started looking because... well the BS2 modules cost too much for what I was making. I found that spin was close enough to C++ to be readable by me and I loved the fact that objects existed even in a much reduced format. I dove in with the PE labs manual and my on homebuilt system on a breadboard and I loved it. Now whenever I start thinking about something to setup the BS2 for I usually get a few steps into it and decide it would be simpler to just setup a Propeller. Being able to background so many tasks makes creating user interfaces easy as well as peripheral systems.

    My only gripes are that you can't compile Spin into machine language, it would be nice to use the syntax and still get the speed of assembly. My other gripe is related in that anything you want to do in assembly you have to launch a separate cog to do it. That's the lay of the land though and I have yet to come across something I was interested in doing that couldn't get done in Spin anyway. The Propeller is a really neat product and it straddles that power/ease line quite nicely.

    Last edited by ForumTools; 10-02-2010 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Forum Migration

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