The new controller mentioned in Nuts & Volts

Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
edited 2006-02-27 - 10:24:37 in Propeller 1
In Jon's column in the Feb. Nuts and Volts, he mentioned a new controller coming from Parallax.· Any details on this yet??· Inquiring minds want to know!
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Comments

  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-15 - 20:55:19
    We have published information on the streets yet nobody has seemed to locate it. I just mentioned to Ken this morning that I'm surprised there has not been more questions raised.....

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • BeanBean Posts: 8,027
    edited 2006-02-15 - 20:58:51
    I saw some info in the 2006 catalog I downloaded.
    Bean.

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    "SX-Video·Module" Now available from Parallax for only $28.95

    http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=30012

    "SX-Video OSD module" Now available from Parallax for only·$49.95
    http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=30015

    Product web site: www.sxvm.com

    "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."
    ·
  • Mike CookMike Cook Posts: 829
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:02:21
    Could it be this?

    http://www.parallax.com/propeller/index.asp

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    "OEM NMEA GPS Module" Now available on ebay for only $17.49

    Product web site: http://www.allsurplus.net/Axiom/
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:24:12
    Hi Mike: What page did you find that link on? I poked around but couldn't find the parent page. Hoping to learn more about this.
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:24:23
    Could it be that we have gotten the message that no product will be discussed before it's time? (Likely not...)

    What about costs and development tool costs? When can we get some? Is this the party Gunther was speaking of in another thread on the SX forum? Is this the new product referred to when the new marketing goddess was hired?

    Inquring minds want to know!

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    John R.

    8 + 8 = 10
    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
  • Mike CookMike Cook Posts: 829
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:26:31
    The link is in the '06 catalog, and I know better than to ask when!

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    "OEM NMEA GPS Module" Now available on ebay for only $17.49

    Product web site: http://www.allsurplus.net/Axiom/
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:29:31
    Like the BASIC Stamp editor, the IDE (called Propeller Tool) is FREE. The connection to the device is through a USB2SER ($29). All in all, pretty cheap as far as development tools go to a multi-processsor powerful enough to generate video and audio on-the-fly using nothing more than resistor DACs to connect to the outputs.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:48:24
    Thanks for the data. Now... WHEN????
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2006-02-15 - 21:58:50
    Hey wait! This story sounds familiar.

    Something significant happens. The "official" channel of information is "mum". The news is given to a local paper for publishing. I don't think we'll hear from the parties directly involved until about 4 days latter or so.

    I think our role in this is to criticize and ask why there is no "official" comment, and why the news has been delayed. We also need to accuse them of being "secretive". I'm not sure, but I think that's how this works. smile.gif

    It looks neat, I can't wait to see Lauren's (Marketing Goddess) "Official" announcement!

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    John R.

    8 + 8 = 10
    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-15 - 22:44:40
    From our catalog: The Propeller chip and tools will be released in 2006. tongue.gif·

    Trust me, it's not that far out.· With a product this significant, there's a lot of details to attend to before release.
    Piper984 said...
    Thanks for the data. Now... WHEN????
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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-15 - 22:44:42
    Well, if we aren't going to get when, how about a sneak peep at what the Spin syntax looks like? And how about atleast a ball park for cost?? My head is spinning. [noparse]:)[/noparse]
  • Tim-MTim-M Posts: 522
    edited 2006-02-15 - 22:55:03
    Now it all comes clear as to why Beau was hired!· At the time, I did scratch my head a little bit and wonder what may be on the horizon.... if you notice, Beau is an IC Layout Engineer.· This is exciting to say the least.

    Tim
  • Mike CookMike Cook Posts: 829
    edited 2006-02-15 - 23:22:26
    That's why I'm just sitting tight, it will be here soon enough. Because it's a long way to 12-31-06! tongue.gif

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    "OEM NMEA GPS Module" Now available on ebay for only $17.49

    Product web site: http://www.allsurplus.net/Axiom/
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-15 - 23:47:13
    Okay, here's where we always start with new controllers: blinking an LED:

    CON
    · Pin = 0


    PUB BlinkLED···

    · dira[noparse][[/noparse]Pin] := 1

    · repeat
    ··· outa[noparse][[/noparse]Pin] := !outa[noparse][[/noparse]Pin]
    ··· waitcnt(cnt + 2_000_000)


    CNT is the system counter.· WAITCNT waits for the counter to reach a specific [noparse][[/noparse]32-bit] value.· So that WAITCNT line holds the pin in its current state for two million clock cycles.· BTW, DIRA and OUTA have to do with·the group A outputs, 0 - 31.

    Cost is not my game, since I don't have to pay for mine. tongue.gif· Lauren will make the appropriate announcements about pricing and availability.·

    Final comment before I sign off (so I can finish my April article) -- you can build your own system with a Propeller chip, a 24LC256 EEPROM (for your programs), and an appropriate 3.3 volt supply.· Use a USB2SER for programming and you're ready to rock.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax

    Post Edited (Jon Williams (Parallax)) : 2/15/2006 11:52:05 PM GMT
  • Eric REric R Posts: 225
    edited 2006-02-16 - 00:32:36
    Thanks for the insight Jon, I look forward to this along with the VF displays.
  • BeanBean Posts: 8,027
    edited 2006-02-16 - 00:56:07
    Cool, looks very Pascal-ish.
    Me like...
    Can't wait to see those VFD either...
    Bean.

    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    "SX-Video·Module" Now available from Parallax for only $28.95

    http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=30012

    "SX-Video OSD module" Now available from Parallax for only·$49.95
    http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=30015

    Product web site: www.sxvm.com

    "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there."
    ·
  • WhelzornWhelzorn Posts: 256
    edited 2006-02-16 - 01:02:20
    I have a quick question about these: What exactly are the advantage of these over the SX? I ask because I want a BASIC programmable controller in SMT and DIP formats, for which I do not have to pay a huge amount for the BASIC compiler (PIC's, PICbasic). At first I thought my only option was the SX, but now I see these and I wonder if I should wait and buy the programming/development equiptment for these, or just buy it all for the SX chips now. Opinions?
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 01:21:55
    The SX is really fast; the Propeller is faster. The SX has one eight-bit core; the Propeller has eight 32-bit cores (called cogs, each with its own 2K RAM space). The Propeller chip comes with high-level (Spin) and low-level (assembly) programming built right it (the Spin interpreter is store in the chips ROM space and loaded into any cog that needs high-level programming).

    Problems with interrupts? Not with the Propeller -- it doesn't have them! If you need two things to happen at once you use two cogs; there is common RAM and methods for communicating processor-to-processor. One of our standard demos, for example, is full-color video output; the video runs in its own cog and is commanded from another cog as to what to put on the display.

    In short, the Propeller chip is a very big leap and for many will take some getting used to. That said, it will be a fun journey and worth taking.

    Whether you wait for the Propeller or start with the SX, we'll support you either way. With the $29 SX-Blitz, getting started with the SX is cheaper than ever.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • WhelzornWhelzorn Posts: 256
    edited 2006-02-16 - 01:43:27
    oh wow... now I'm excited. I have a new question though: how are I/O pins dealt with? does each cog have it's own pins assigned to it, or can any cog control any pin? but then what if two cogs try to use the same pin at the same time? (obviously this was never a problem with single core(cog) controllers smile.gif ). Also, as far as the video thing goes, how complicated would it be to analyze video data coming into the chip for, say, object tracking? is the chip fast enough for this? Either way, I think I might wait for this, because I love playing with new stuff!

    Post Edited (Whelzorn) : 2/16/2006 1:46:18 AM GMT
  • Jerry ElyaJerry Elya Posts: 16
    edited 2006-02-16 - 01:55:28
    You people are introducing new stuff faster than I can learn (and afford) the old stuff!!
  • Michael ChadwickMichael Chadwick Posts: 80
    edited 2006-02-16 - 02:12:39
    Holy S**T!!!!!

    That thing looks awsome!· I love the logo too.......... I wonder if anyone at Parallax remembers Beenie and Cecil?

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    MRC
  • Eric REric R Posts: 225
    edited 2006-02-16 - 02:55:03
    Jon,

    Can we get a peek at the development board? I assume it will not be compatible with the pro board correct?
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 05:32:40
    Soon -- the first board is a fairly simple demo board; as with the BASIC Stamps, it's just a starting point and I expect we'll develop more develpment boards as customers get used to (and want to do more complex things with) the Propeller.

    And yes, I'm old enough to remember Beenie & Cecil; though I'm one of the older employees....

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 05:39:29
    Each cog has its own DIRs and OUTs registers and all of those get ORed together to control the final output.· What that means, then, is that if any cog makes the pin an output, that pin is an output.· If another cog defines the pin as an input (default state) and reads the pin, it will see the current output value from that other cog.

    I don't know about doing video analysis, but I'll ask.· With the abundant horsepower (each cog can run at 64 MHz and has a 32-bit data path, so lots of information is flying around) I'm betting with the right interfacing hardware it's possible to some degree.
    Whelzorn said...
    oh wow... now I'm excited. I have a new question though: how are I/O pins dealt with? does each cog have it's own pins assigned to it, or can any cog control any pin? but then what if two cogs try to use the same pin at the same time? (obviously this was never a problem with single core(cog) controllers smile.gif ). Also, as far as the video thing goes, how complicated would it be to analyze video data coming into the chip for, say, object tracking? is the chip fast enough for this? Either way, I think I might wait for this, because I love playing with new stuff!
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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Ryan ClarkeRyan Clarke Posts: 738
    edited 2006-02-16 - 06:20:01
    All of this making your head SPIN? Wait til you see some of the objects that have already been created for this. Simply amazing things and it's not even 'officially' released yet. The Propeller Tool will spoil you with all of the handy features -

    Ryan

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    Ryan Clarke
    Parallax Tech Support

    [url=mailto:RClarke@Parallax.com]RClarke@Parallax.com[/url]
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited 2006-02-16 - 09:08:42
    Hm...

    I'm a bit... uncertain about this one...

    It could be a VERY elaborate April Fools joke(but the claims aren't that... overboard, and Parallax certainly DO have the knowhow to make the chip), but I hope nok...

    Why 32bit processor-cores?

    Or are they using 32bit data, and a narrower instruction-set?
    (PICs use the opposite approach, 12bit instructions, 8bit data, if I remember correctly...)

    8 x 2KB RAM space and a 32KB ROM.
    Is that usable ROM, and if so, is it rigidly·segmented(Like the pages on a BS2p?), or are the programs for all the cores 'lumped together' so that some cores can have longer programs at the expense of other cores?

    In other words; DETAILS! Bring us DETAILS!

    BTW: Love the beanie...

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  • SteveWSteveW Posts: 246
    edited 2006-02-16 - 10:14:37
    Crumbs - like a little Cell... Any hints as to the architecture of the 32-bitters?
    It does look fascinating - always had a soft spot for message passing. Is the Hub able to sustain one read or write per clock?
    Hmm, guess I'll have to wait for the datasheet [noparse]:)[/noparse]

    Steve
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-16 - 14:21:44
    This sounds very cool, and I am looking forward to learning more about this new controller. Any chance of prereleasing a draft of a manual or whitepaper? I would also be keen on learning more about Spin. Any chance of a prelease of the manual for the Propellor Tool?
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 15:50:13
    This is not a joke -- it is the culmination of a lot of sweat and blood by our company's founder.

    Why 32 bits?· Why not?· We have customers asking for 32-bit operations in the BASIC Stamp every day.· Everything within the Propeller core is 32 bits wide (though it can still deal with Byte and Word variable types).· This product was designed from the ground up to be super efficient, hence it doesn't look like any existing microcontroller.

    The ROM holds the Spin language interpreter (for cogs that want to run Spin code), a character set for video use (we have a matching True Type set in the programming tool), a Sine table (2048 entries for 90 degrees), and Log and Anti-Log tables that assist in complex math operations.· The RAM is flat, no banking or segmenting.· Each cog has its own 512 register (long = 4 byte) RAM space, the rest is global and can be shared by processes running on independent cogs.

    The cool thing is that you can use one cog do some complex process while other cogs use the data from that process by grabbing it from the shared RAM space.· As I've previously mentioned, one of the pre-built objects we supply is a video driver (which requires just four pins a few resistors).· You can create a weather program that monitors sensors in one cog and uses the video driver (running in another) to display those values on a monitor or TV -- in COLOR!· With sound too if you want to fire up one more cog!!!

    Okay, that's probably about as much as I'm going to divulge until we actually release the thing.· We've got a lot of work to do yet so that we can get it released.· I promise it's going to be fun.· I'm lucky to have been on the inside and seen the development of this product from the very beginning.

    It's a new game, ladies and gentlemen, and it's going to be a blast.
    Gadgetman said...
    Hm...

    I'm a bit... uncertain about this one...

    It could be a VERY elaborate April Fools joke(but the claims aren't that... overboard, and Parallax certainly DO have the knowhow to make the chip), but I hope nok...

    Why 32bit processor-cores?

    Or are they using 32bit data, and a narrower instruction-set?
    (PICs use the opposite approach, 12bit instructions, 8bit data, if I remember correctly...)

    8 x 2KB RAM space and a 32KB ROM.
    Is that usable ROM, and if so, is it rigidly·segmented(Like the pages on a BS2p?), or are the programs for all the cores 'lumped together' so that some cores can have longer programs at the expense of other cores?

    In other words; DETAILS! Bring us DETAILS!

    BTW: Love the beanie...
    ▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔▔
    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2006-02-16 - 16:26:39
    Well you guys certainly know how to make an adventure out of electronics!

    I am afraid I might never catch up. Educate me!

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