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Thread: New Prop BOE?

  1. #1

    Default New Prop BOE?

    Hello everybody!

    Good news for all the robotic users!
    A new PropBOE is in the pipeline from Parallax!
    This BOE is expected to have similarities to the BoeBOT board, but also a lot of abilities as standard equipment!
    It is said that this new BOE includes XBee socket, composite TV, Wifi socket, SD card, 4-ch A/D, audio amplifier output, and many other extras!
    Parallax technicians are in the process to present this new board very soon!
    From a conversation I had with them, this new board probably looks like the following models.
    Does anybody know more details?
    Will it have a accompanying book with examples and activities?
    Is the same board that uses the new amazing “S2- Propeller controlled ROBOT”?http://www.parallax.com/Store/Robots...me,ProductName
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  2. #2

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Nikos,
    Most of the time Parallax doesn't talk about new products under design. They've been doing more talking recently, but you have to understand that these designs have to remain flexible until they're ready to manufacture in volume. There can be changes right up to the last moment. Features can be removed and occasionally features may be added until it's time to "get it out the door". I wouldn't be surprised if they're working on a Propeller BOE design. The list of features you mentioned is way too long for a BOE. Some of them might be planned add-ons, like the AppMods. The pictures you showed are nice concept layouts, but the two pictures are of slightly different layouts.

    I'm sure the "What's a Microcontroller?" tutorial will eventually be rewritten for the new board, whenever it's done. I'm sure the Propeller Education Kit tutorials will be modified or rewritten for whatever replaces the Stamp BOE. The BOE is the heart of Parallax's educational efforts and the educational market is a major piece of Parallax's business.

  3. #3

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    @Mike,

    We've been working with Nikos to develop some early models of this product for documentation, marketing and communication with distributors/customers who influence the design. I even asked him to put this board on the forums.

    As you pointed out, it's a bit out-of-process for us to share details so early. But times are changing. Our thoughts are that if we work with our customers to evolve this board before it is produced we can speed the discovery of problems and expedite the product evolution so that Revision A is made for a long time without changes. Even a board like this has tooling - test fixtures, test processes, assembly jigs, etc. that are very expensive to change once we're underway.

    There's more to this board than the hardware itself, as you know better than all of us. That's where the real investment lies - in the books and examples which give people a reason to use this board.

    Thanks Mike and Nikos,

    Ken Gracey

  4. #4

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Well in that case Ken and Nikos, thanks for the information.

    Some thoughts ...

    It's a nice selection of I/O devices on the board. I assume the phono jack supplies both TV video and audio output like the Propeller Backpack does.
    You might consider the store carrying a matching A/V cable with phono plugs for audio and for video to plug into a TV or video camera, possibly via a wireless link.

    It looks like there might be a built-in microphone. Nice if true. I'd let you do a whole variety of audio and speech projects

    BoeBot Basic ought to run on this with only some minor changes, mostly to I/O pin numbers. Obviously, it would be nice to explicitly support the ADC. It could use the xBee for a wireless console for control and data.

    It looks like a nice platform for future educational offerings.

  5. #5

  6. #6

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Will the board be available separately for current BoeBot users?

  7. #7

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    I don't know nothing more!
    They keep well their secrets!
    The only I know is, that this new Board has turned on my imagination, and it will be my "next step" on robotics!
    Last edited by NikosG; 11-18-2010 at 01:34 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    @blittled - The BOE is the board. BOEBOT is the board with the chassis, servos, sensors, etc. What they're describing is the BOE which would be sold by itself. It would also be sold as the BOEBOT with all the other pieces.

    @william chan - You really can't tell from the views shown of the board. I suspect not. You don't need level shifters for servos, maybe a series resistor. I've driven servos with just a 2.2K series resistor. That also works for 5V sensors.

    @NikosG - If you don't want to wait to start, you can always take an existing USB BOEBOT and replace the Stamp with a SpinStamp. Alternatively, you can use a Propeller Protoboard with the Accessory Kit and add a microSD card and xBee socket as I did a few years ago. The microSD card socket was from SparkFun. The xBee socket isn't available any more, but the one now from Parallax would work just fine.
    Last edited by Mike Green; 11-18-2010 at 01:47 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Green View Post
    I assume the phono jack supplies both TV video and audio output like the Propeller Backpack does.
    You might consider the store carrying a matching A/V cable with phono plugs for audio and for video to plug into a TV or video camera, possibly via a wireless link.
    I want to second the suggestion for having a compatible cable available. There are several versions of 3 and 4 conductor cables out there so it would be nice to offer one that is known to work (ideally with the correct colors on the plugs (i.e., yellow for video)).

  10. #10

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Notes for design:
    Please put pullups on both SDA and SCL.
    I am worried about how many free pins are available. Hopefully the devices (mic, audio/video out, and especially the VGA) can be unselected. If the 2x10 female header is an AppMod header, don't bother since hardly any boards are made using that format. If it is to link to VGA, SD, audio, etc., I would recommend male headers and one could just use a shorting plug. Looking at my Professional Development Board I see that the female header could be used with jumper wire to Prop IO pins. That would be good since it wouldn't force you to use specific pins like the Demoboard does.
    Servo headers need to be able to use both 5V and Vin.
    This is an interesting board. I will probably buy one to replace the BOE with SpinStamp that I am currently using on a BOE Bot.

    John Abshier

  11. #11

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Looks like there are 6 servo ports.
    If each servo eats 500mA under load, 6 servos will need 3A, which will overwhelm the 5v regulator and cause a brown-out of the processor.
    Even 3 servos will be a problem.

    That's why I designed the Pub Bot to only use Vin for servos and the 3.3v regulator takes its input directly from the battery.

  12. #12

    Exclamation Re: New Prop BOE?

    If the board design isn't finalized can I make a request?? It is a simple one that I would really like to see implemented on ALL the boards that Parallax sells.....

    Just add two pads spaced .100" apart. Connect one lead to ground and the other to the /RESET line. That's it! Just that one small change of adding a couple more holes with traces to ground and reset. That's all I'm asking for. It shouldn't add any cost to the board. Don't worry about supplying the 2-pin header. Just add the holes for it.

    Why?? Well with that small change I can easily just add a 2-pin header so I can connect a remote reset switch if I want to. Also, in some of my robots with multiple micros I want to be able to reset everything at once. If all of the boards had a 2-pin header like this I could easily wire everything up to handle it. In particular I have one large Propeller powered robot that I do this with. The actual reset switch on mine is going to some open collector buffers which will then in turn go to each of the devices I want to reset.

    If each of the boards already had a spot for a 2-pin header it would make life much easier!

    Robert

  13. #13

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    If it does include the appmod connector please keep it in. There may not be many boards that connect to it but the ones that do are expensive. I have an EB500 that I would like to use on it also the CMUCam will connect to it. Without it I wouldn't be interested in the new board since I don't want to lose the use of the EB500.

    BTW: The appmod on the BOE shares the pinouts and if nothing is connected to it it doesn't use them it just uses board real estate.

    Hopefully the Appmod connector will have level translators since most of the Appmod boards require 5V logic.

  14. #14

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Just a brief note to all of you who are pondering features without any details from Parallax. Soon we'll provide some detailed specifications to consider - they've all been written up and no less than 100 hours of internal effort has been given to the design. I think it would be helpful for us to share these details with everybody before we answer the questions.

    Give us a week or so and we'll share more details.

    Thanks, Ken Gracey

  15. #15

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Sounds good. Just think about adding the pads for an optional reset header. If it would help I'd be happy to explain over the phone why this would be a useful addition to this and other boards.

    Robert

  16. #16

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Green View Post
    @blittled - The BOE is the board. BOEBOT is the board with the chassis, servos, sensors, etc. What they're describing is the BOE which would be sold by itself. It would also be sold as the BOEBOT with all the other pieces.

    @william chan - You really can't tell from the views shown of the board. I suspect not. You don't need level shifters for servos, maybe a series resistor. I've driven servos with just a 2.2K series resistor. That also works for 5V sensors.

    @NikosG - If you don't want to wait to start, you can always take an existing USB BOEBOT and replace the Stamp with a SpinStamp. Alternatively, you can use a Propeller Protoboard with the Accessory Kit and add a microSD card and xBee socket as I did a few years ago. The microSD card socket was from SparkFun. The xBee socket isn't available any more, but the one now from Parallax would work just fine.
    Hello Mike,

    I'm very glad to see another Mathematician in this forum!
    You know, every time I plan a new project and then I order hardware from Parallax I worry if I have choosen all the necessary parts. I allways wonder " ...and if I need something else to complete my project?"
    I think that the best advantage of this new BOE is that it will have all these abilities as a standard!!! So the board will be more friendly for me! (and for many other users I suppose)
    And of course as a teacher I consider that a well-written accompanied book is essential!!!
    The activities and the examples are for me equaly valuable as the haldware!
    Nikos
    Last edited by NikosG; 11-18-2010 at 08:48 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Since the subject of the PropBOE is already public, I’m going to release some internal documentation right here in this forum thread. I’m attaching below the current design specification document for the PropBOE from the Education Department to our Engineering Department in Parallax Inc.

    We will use this board to start generating material for a new Propeller Educational Program. We will be releasing more material in open source format for this Propeller educational program, so I think it’s OK to open up our internal board specification/design process.

    Even though I said open source, we’re not looking at completing this design as an open source community effort. At this point this approach would take too long and we don’t have experience working this way yet. We will develop this board internally and release all finished and editable project files at the end, so we speed up the product release process and still leave the project open for future improvements or customer customization.

    The specs below were developed based on the feedback we received from current customers and comments we read in the forums (we can add the reset connection you asked Robert :-) or received by PM, or email or via phone conversations and educational trade show meetings. The specs also take into account minimizing manufacturing costs trying to use a single board to cover most educational kits and applications (each board we generate involves a lot of setup fees for manufacturing which increases the retail price of ALL board variations made).

    As you know, it’s not possible to deliver on all requests because sometimes the requests pull in opposite directions. For example, some people may ask for features that will price the board out of reach from many potential customers or could request adding a feature needed by a small group which will increase the retail price for everybody.

    Talking about pricing, we just have a figure in the specs but the price can vary widely from this point on, depending on many factors, mainly on the features and components that make it to the final design. Pricing could be half or twice of what is in the specs so don’t try to use this post to get a discount out of Jim or Ken if the board ends up costing $100. :-)

    And you can also forget about the mention of the PropHWB. Based on experience we’re just trying to leave the door open for a board that could come up later (like the HWB came after the BOE in Stamps in Class) once the PropBOE becomes very popular. This board may or may not happen depending on many variables.

    In education we need a stable platform that can stay in the market for a long period of time so educators can implement the hardware into their classes without having to redesign their curriculum (labs, Power Point presentations, etc) every year to catch up with revision changes. It takes time and effort to develop supporting documentation and a solid foundation allows that material to be useful for a longer period of time (as we did in Stamps in Class).

    This PropBOE and the Propeller Education Program is not intended to replace the Stamps in Class (SIC) program based on the BASIC Stamp 2 microcontroller. While we work on this Propeller program we’re actually releasing two more SIC books by the end of this year. You also know about them since we posted most of the material in the forums already: Understanding Signals with the PropScope and SIC Mini-Projects. The new Propeller Education Program will be developed in parallel with Stamps in Class and it will have its own style for support and documentation, based on the years of experience (and feedback) gained from the SIC program. This new program won’t involve porting SIC material into the Propeller, but generating brand new material that exploits the very unique and highly powerful features of the Propeller microcontroller.

    I think that all of you prefer to receive this information and previews from upcoming Parallax products and I will continue disclosing information as long as nobody gets frustrated by “too much information access.” As Ken mentioned last week, we’re changing our approach since times are changing and we’re willing to search for a comfortable openness level.

    As long as everybody understands the process and how reality and feedback will shape and change the project up to completion, we will be fine and I will continue sharing inside information all the way in our future hardware, software and documentation development process. If forum members get upset about this process, I’ll pull back to a more standard corporate model where the development process is kept internal and we’ll just bring the goodies out when they’re ready for prime time.

    I believe this forum community is very mature, more like an extended Parallax family and all of you would rather have full access to all information now so you have a chance to make some requests and then you’ll enjoy even more the goodies when they come out.

    Enjoy!
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Ari Alvarez
    President - SimplyTronics

  18. #18

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Thanks for the information Ari and thanks all for the trust and appreciation.

  19. #19

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    The PropBOE is simply a GREAT idea. I have longed for a board like this and think it will be a great addition to the Parallax product line.

    I also think it is a great idea to release the information early. It is very helpful to those that plan future projects around Parallax products.

    Is it to early to release a projected release date? I am personaly going to put a project on hold till this board is realesed.

    Thanks Ari and Ken

  20. #20

    Default Re: New Prop BOE?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony B. View Post
    The PropBOE is simply a GREAT idea. I have longed for a board like this and think it will be a great addition to the Parallax product line.

    I also think it is a great idea to release the information early. It is very helpful to those that plan future projects around Parallax products.

    Is it to early to release a projected release date? I am personaly going to put a project on hold till this board is realesed.

    Thanks Ari and Ken
    Hey Tony,

    I think we may have met at UPEC, right?

    We're starting the schematic design this week and I hope to have a prototype by early January. The manufacturing will be done in Rocklin, CA and the product will probably carry a lifetime guarantee from Parallax. I'm expecting to have these in stock no later than February.

    Ken Gracey

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