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Some thoughts about new boards and customer cost. — Parallax Forums

Some thoughts about new boards and customer cost.

Hi, as I will not participate this night, some thoughts about new Parallax boards here.
Reason that I write, is that the forum is dominated by people, who even were willing to spend 150$ for the first P2 prototype board. Ken had asked before, if they would pay it, nobody complained and so P2 had and has no students, who would tinker with it.

When we speak about cost we speak about cost for a complete system to work with, USB-Serial, plugs into breadboard, power supply, so whatever you do, think about the complete cost!!! My personal preference would be to have SD-card slot (because SD cards give a big boost of possibilities), VGA (because this is the specific strength of the propellers) and PS2 to self-solder. Probably some places for servo plugs. A place to self-solder PS-Ram? 5V and 3.3V rails. I have bought several P1 project boards, because I liked their design!

P1: Here the situation is, that P1's Ram is very limited. When I was doing stuff with it, I very often run into storage space problems, when I tried to use compiled C. Unfortunately P1 does use 32bits per instruction, so other controllers with the same amount of memory can hold programs twice the size. So while you have nice 8 cores, you have only Ram for limited projects. So the cost of the system has to fit to this!!! I cannot imagine, that you can reach an attractive cost target, if you split a USB project board into several sub-boards!!!!

P2, here the situation is: The P2 fits into a niche between the Linux systems and the simpler Arduinos. It has about the same performance level as the ARM M7 Arduinos. P2 has a big deficit of libraries and incomplete documentation and the very special one-controller-language Spin2. Arm M7 have floating point math, more Ram and need only 16bits per instruction, can directly run cached code from flash, as far as I know, and have optimised C++. With a threads library you can do nearly everything, that you can do with multiple cores. So do not think, P2 has more power than M7. Why did I write niche? - If you google about maker projects, than 90% of the projects of makers can be done with a raspi pico on one end or need internet or need huge libraries and/or linux. Only if you want VGA output then P2 is hard to match.

So for P2 2 low cost boards are necessary:
One to plug directly into breadboards with SD-cards slot and with usb-serial. As the P2 ADC has rather limited possibilities, it is not necessary to have low noise power for all pins, perhaps for one group would be good for audio DAC., also from CA, gives an indication for price for example.

And a projectboard, that has the same plus to self solder VGA, PS2, servo-plugs, PS-Ram. 5V + 3.3V rails. Once again, I don't really think, that you can reach attractive price, if you split this up into subboards.

One additional thought: I do not like the P2 pin group plug very much. I would prefer inline contacts and I would keep 5V separate to not confuse it accidently with the other pins.
Cheers, Christof


  • Christof Eb.,

    Something similar to the Propeller Demo Board for the P2 would be nice, except it should include Mounting Holes.

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