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SimpleIDE WiFi

I just noticed that at the Learn site there is an intro for the WiFi component on the Activity WX Board. But, the updated SimpleIDE version is still not available.

I am starting to reach for my wallet...

This Learn intro is for early adopters, and it just gives you a quick glance at getting access to the WiFi module, and using html for some very simple stuff.

I will now have to make a decision, for my robot(s) project, whether to use an XBee centric or WiFi centric control of the robot. Anyway, this looks to be very interesting, although you will have to learn some new stuff. Anybody else have an interesting use for Parallax WiFi?



  • Coming soon.
  • I just noticed that SimpleIDE 1.1.0 version is now available, which I guess is the latest offering. I installed it, and wanted to see what was new in the library offerings.

    The new libs that were added: datetime, display, light, social, and time, but did not see anything that was WiFi. I find it kind of strange, that it has datetime and time, which both contain the same libdatetime. Not sure where they are going with that. The social lib is for working with the Hackable Badge, while the light lib, not sure what that is for. I believe the display lib is for working with the OLED display.

    I am still a little disappointed that the IR Tx/Rx functions were not broken out from the Hackable Badge lib. It would be kind of nice if you had the IR setup on the Activity Bot, and you could have a couple of Bots or many Bots passing information between them. So, you would have a cluster of Bots talking to each other via the IR, and then you would be able to pick up some information on your browser program via the WiFi. Something like that could get me interested in working with a cluster of Activity Bots.

    So far, the new SimpleIDE 1.1.0, seems like it runs just like the previous version, no new major things to learn. Still not sure why WiFi lib was not made available from within SimpleIDE, but it took quite awhile before they added the badge lib.

  • If I'm not mistaken, the new SimpleIDE has proploader in place of propeller-load so it can load over a wi-fi connection.
  • No Linux offering? Also coming soon? Or was there a problem during compilation/packaging?
  • DavidZemon wrote: »
    No Linux offering? Also coming soon? Or was there a problem during compilation/packaging?
    I don't know. Certainly, proploader will compile for Linux and SimpleIDE has in the past. I'm not sure why there wouldn't be a Linux version.

  • What’s New?
    If you have used a previous version of SimpleIDE, this section explains what differences to expect with
    the new version of the software.
    SimpleIDE v1-0-0 to v1-1-0
     Replaced loader subsystem (Propeller-Load) with new loader subsystem (PropLoader).
     Added wireless (Wi-Fi) support for programming/debugging via Parallax Wi-Fi Module (#32420).
    Wireless Propellers appear in port field when available; re-namable via Tools > Rename Port.
     Enhanced download speed (by 6x) for both wired (USB) and wireless (Wi-Fi) connections
    (requires on-board 5 MHz crystal).
     Mac installer now includes FTDI Driver and requires system restart as needed for proper FTDI
    driver operation.
     SimpleIDE relies on persistent storage of properties in all OSes. Updated SimpleIDE packages
    replace these properties during the SimpleIDE Library Install Workspace update.
     Improved terminal performance.
     Adjusted terminal to wrap to page by default.
     Fixed Find/Replace to include the first character of the search term it finds.
     Sets focus to editor after closing Find/Replace dialog to enable quicker manual replacements.
     Increased contrast on "found" item (in Find/Replace operations).
     Allows .spin object to be added to projects for library creation.
     Simplified memory model list to exclude XMM. Existing XMM applications may be compiled and
    downloaded with previous versions of SimpleIDE and Propeller GCC.
    I copied this as a direct quote that describes the differences between this version of SimpleIDE and the previous version. I find the last two items very interesting.

    A .spin object to be added to a project, I will have to read or investigate further as to how that is accomplished.

    The last item, I guess there is no more support for using memory beyond 32K. Which kind of makes sense, since Parallax does not have any boards with that capacity, since they discontinued the C3.

    It has been mentioned that there is no Linux version, I also noticed that there is no Raspberry Pi version either.

    I am still trying to make an evaluation as to whether I will be using the WiFi capabilities or stick with the XBee; in either case I will be using the new SimpleIDE version.

  • I gave the evaluation process some more thought, maybe I will have to reallocate my budget for this, and spend the ~$100 to purchase the AB WX and Parallax WiFi. If I go any deeper into this, I will probably have the "defenders" asking questions like, do I really have the product that I speak of.

    I was going to wait a little longer until the Learn site had some better coverage and instructions as to how too best use the AB WX+Parallax WiFi, but I do have my own time line on this. I hope I am not making a big mistake, but what is $100, these days? By the time the package gets here, I will have played around with the new SimpleIDE, and become more familiar with its new stuff, so I will be able to make better informed comments about it.

  • VonSzarvasVonSzarvas Posts: 3,275
    edited 2017-02-06 15:50
    Sounds like a good plan Ray. Great news to start the day!

    I feel certain your budget will be well spent, as you'll be doing it "the easy way".

    Well- OK, maybe you'll still have a path of discovery to enjoy (or endure?)... but what I mean is that at least you won't be starting the adventure having to deal with hardware mismatches from what the published examples are based on. And hopefully a larger crowd with the same boards will be able to relate (even learn from) your development reports. Fantastic!

    ps. If you don't have spare male-to-male jumpers, it would be worth getting some of those also, for hooking the WiFi and AB-WX together. You need 4 or 5 as I recall. This sort of thing:

    Edit: Apologies- seems you won't need jumpers for wifi programming, although they are still jolly useful things!

  • I just did a "Hello World" with SimpleIDE 1.1.0 on the AB-WX with Wi-Fi programed over Wi-Fi. It's pretty cool. Plug the Wi-Fi module in. No jumpers needed. You need to connect to the Parallax Wi-Fi network first on your PC, then it shows up in the COM Port list in Simple IDE, it's that simple!

    Highly recommend it.

    Note: I am using Windows 10 tablet.

  • No jumpers? Crikey! That's even cooler! Love the integration!

    Thanks Jim- I've corrected my post.
  • Jumpers may be needed for an XBEE installation, order up! You can't have too many around. I can't find those little critters most of the time.

  • We will no longer be providing pre-compiled installation downloads for Linux or Raspberry Pi.

    Users who wish to use SimpleIDE versions 1.1+ on these platforms can compile from the source of our Github Repository.

    View our Github Releases page for relevant links and version information.
  • I went ahead and pressed the buy button, so I should have my AB WX and Parallax WiFi by the end of this week, hopefully.

    I was also thinking about switching over to Linux, but I guess I will have to stick with Windows. I am not going to get into compiling from source. Now that we have the Parallax WiFi, who needs a Raspberry Pi. Interesting times, interesting times indeed.

  • I will go ahead and add SimpleIDE to my build server. I am sad to hear Parallax no longer plan to support this :(
  • For anyone waiting on a Linux build, it will take some time. I'm going to be submitting some merge requests to change the linux build script to be a bit more flexible - I don't like the way it requires that your system be configured in exactly such a way.
  • Thanks David Z, for handling the build(s).

    I was doing some look-see in the Learn site for the support of the WiFi for PropC, and the conclusion, the stuff is very scattered.

    You definitely must download the WiFi module firmware zip file, that contains the libwifi folder which is necessary to do things. It also contains some example files such as html, side, sh. Since Parallax is no longer offering pre-compiled installation downloads for Linux, I am not sure why the .sh stuff is in there. I think it will just confuse some people, like myself as to what you are supposed to do with them. Maybe a separate package would be a better attempt. As to the libwifi folder maybe some instruction as to how to get global access to it from within SimpleIDE would be nice.

    Some of the examples of the PropC variety, like using the IR, have some instructions as to where to go to find further instructions gets, a little confusing; not sure if I am ready for an Easter egg hunt type of instruction.

    Now I will probably have to find a good pdf tutorial for working with the html end of things. Plus, I have to start looking into some kind of tablet for using some of the html files, and/or control of the project(s) that the new AB WX will contain. I sure hope that the Learn site starts to get a little easier to use.

  • You don't actually have to use libwifi to interact with the WX module. The WX module has a simple text-based interface that is described in its manual. Any program that can read/write text strings from a serial driver on pins 31/30 can interact with the WX module. The libwifi code is just an example of how to do that.
  • Ray,

    Perhaps you were looking in the wrong place on Learn. There is currently only one location for Prop C wifi tutorials:

    It is all available in one book, accessible from the front page of Learn or by accessing the Propeller C tutorial list.
  • One of the first examples in the Learn site is the code below, is the "wifi.h" support code part of "simpletools.h", or am I missing something that is right in front of my eyes?

    #include "simpletools.h"
    #include "wifi.h"
    int main()
      wifi_start(9, 8, 115200, USB_PGM_TERM);
      print("Leave a Network\r");
      // Leaves network where it was a station and sets
      // the Wi-Fi module's mode to AP.
      // Verify mode after leaving the network.
      int mode = wifi_mode(CHECK);
        case STA:    //0xf4:
        case AP:     //0xf3  
        case STA_AP: //0xf2
  • Place holder.
  • Hi Ray,

    Sounds like you're expecting more polish, maybe like a Boe-Bot kit? When we first released that product, its documentation and support was very different from what is today.

    We are still uploading tutorial pages with step-by-step instructions. There are nineteen pages so far. A 20th should come online today, and there's more in the queue. After the first group is posted, they'll receive lots of corrections, additions, adjustments, and enhancements. If you have any questions, edits, or suggestions, please send them to

    The Wi-Fi module's documentation, firmware, examples and library are all designed to evolve with input from Parallax and the community. That is one of the reasons we are not bundling it with SimpleIDE yet. Instead, the firmware, examples and library are bundled together so that if firmware changes necessitate library and/or example changes, it's all in sync. If it were in the Simple Libraries, the examples might be out of sync with a newer firmware revision.

    "Documentation wifi Libary.html" lives in the libwifi folder. Perhaps it would be better to bring it up to Examples when it's not bundled with SimpleIDE.

  • Hmm, maybe I am looking in the wrong place.

    First item at the bottom of the page, WiFi Module Firmware, then once you click on that, you get the following page:
    Wi-Fi Module Firmware

    Download the Latest Before You Start

    Always use the latest versions of the module firmware and an up-to-date example code set.

    Follow the checkmarks below to obtain the latest files and make note of where you unzip them. We will be updating your firmware a bit later on in these tutorials.
    ##Go directly to the Parallax Wi-Fi Module Firmware and Example Files download page, or
    ##Go to the Wi-Fi module’s page (search for 32420D) and click the Documents and Downloads section.
    ##Download the most recent (highest version number) 32420-Parallax-ESP…zip.
    ##Unzip to a folder and make sure the words Parallax ESP and the version number are in the folder name.

    NOTE: Google’s Chrome web browser is recommended for these Module + Propeller C tutorial activities. It can be downloaded and installed from

    Parallax WX Wi-Fi Module for Prop C

    Connect WX Wi-Fi Module to Your Propeller

    So once you download and unzip the file, there is an examples folder, I guess that is not part tutorial, OK I will not read that, who needs examples anyway.:-) Need I go any further?

  • edited 2017-02-07 19:21
    The tutorials generally guide the reader through trying and understanding programs in the Examples folder. Not all of the examples have been documented yet. As I mentioned earlier there are still tutorials in the queue.
  • I just got my package from Parallax, yippee.

    I used the USPS delivery system, and I did notice that my package was squashed. It looks like the items were still in one piece, but I will not be sure if they work until I use them. I think you need more bubble stuff on the inside, just too make sure.

    Since I got an AB WX, WiFi dip and sip, I am not sure which one to start with, the dip or the sip. I was thinking since I have an original AB, maybe I should do a test run with that and the sip WiFi, just in case I mess something up.

    With that train of thought, if the WiFi module gets corrupted, is there a way to burn replacement firmware, or is it SOL? I know that when I was working with my ESP8266 module something did go wrong, but luckily there are readily available ways to burn the firmware again.

    A general note about the Learn tutorial, you may want to consider isolating and simplifying the instructions for first time users. I was looking for a simple plug and play method. On the second page of the tutorial you list about five different ways of connecting. That would be useful after you figure what you are doing, but a total distraction for somebody that is expecting a plug and play.

    Now to figure out what my next step will be.

  • Thanks for the feedback. As you go through the tutorials, you will see how to do an over the air (OTA) firmware upgrade. There is also a way to load firmware through the Activity Board, but it doesn't have a tutorial yet.
  • About the settings, I usually start by wiring it with P9 to DO, P8 to DI, and SEL to GND, and wifi_start(9, 8, 115200, USB_PGM_TERM).

    When I want to switch to all Wi-Fi (programming, debugging and Wi-Fi app data), I just switch the SEL jumper to 3.3 V, and change the wifi_start to wifi_start(31, 30, 115200, WX_ALL_COM);

    Even when I'm routine everything through Wi-Fi, I leave the P9-DO and P8-DI jumpers in place for when I want to switch back. Just make sure your program isn't setting either P9 or P8 high or low.
  • I just started up my AB WX and using SimpleIDE, ran the "Hello" program. Seems that the board is working. Now is there someway to do a quick test on the WiFi modules, both sip and dip?

    I know that with the ESP8266 NodeMCU module that I have, you plug into the USB port, and access it with a terminal program, you know very quickly if everything is in order. With the Parallax WiFi, does it have an LED that turns on or flashes when give it some power. While I am thinking about it, is the WiFi sip module a 5V or 3.3V unit?

  • Rsadeika wrote: »
    With the Parallax WiFi, does it have an LED that turns on or flashes when give it some power. While I am thinking about it, is the WiFi sip module a 5V or 3.3V unit?

    Yes, on your Activity Board WX, look straight down on the top of the WX module and you'll see power, assoc, and do/di lights. The Activity Board, also has di, do, and assoc lights.

    With the WX module, there is a web page you go to. Keep going through the tutorials and you'll see it.

  • The SIP module is either 3.3 or 5 V. On an Activity Board, use 3.3 V because that sets the I/O level, and we want to send 3.3 V signals to the Propeller.

    We currently have documentation for the SIP module on a Board of Education + BS2. We didn't expect anybody trying to use the SIP module with an Activity Board since there's already a socket. There is a schematic in the BS2 tutorials. You can probably use that.
  • Here is a link to a page with the schematic. Where it says Vdd, use 3.3 V. For compatibility with the Propeller tutorials, connect P9 to DO and P8 to DI.
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