The new controller mentioned in Nuts & Volts

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Comments

  • John AbshierJohn Abshier Posts: 1,102
    edited 2006-02-16 - 17:52:42
    Orc board from MIT, Qwerk board from CMU, Propeller from Parallax!· Even if money were not an issue, time is.· I hope I don't end up like the mule between 2 bales of hay.

    Re development boards.· Please have both 3.3 and 5 volt power.· Are the Propeller IO pins 5 volt tolerant?
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 18:10:01
    The demo boards will of course have 5v and 3.3v supplies on them; and yes, we have found that the Propeller pins are 5v tolerant.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2006-02-16 - 18:15:33
    Before we all get too excited for our "hobby" projects:

    Could someone offer the following as a "rough, don't hold me to this":

    Will single unit (processor only) pricing be:

    > $100.00 US
    < $100.00
    < $50.00
    < $25.00

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    John R.

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    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
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  • Shawn LoweShawn Lowe Posts: 601
    edited 2006-02-16 - 18:40:30
    Holy cow Batman!
    This sounds like one cool microcontroller. I can NOT wait to see the stuff that is going to be developed in the futurehop.gif !

    Parallax rules!

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    Shawn Lowe


    Remember - No matter where you go
    There you are.
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-16 - 18:53:40
    I have spoken with the Marketing Goddess (Lauren) and she wouldn't crack, as hard as I tried... pricing is one of those last minute details that have to work out and she's not talking until that's done.· But come on guys, we're Parallax, and I think we've always offered good pricing on our products.·

    And this one is unique -- it's not like you can go grab eight standard micros and gang them together cooperatively, run them off of one 5 MHz crystal and use a 16x PLL to crank up the internal clock to 80 MHz.·Did I mention that the Propeller can do that? It can.

    The big boss, Ken, said I could post a pic.· What I've attached is our basic starter/demo board that comes with the LQFP-44 package, a small breadboard, and A/V I/O ports (headphones, composite video, VGA, mouse [noparse][[/noparse]on back of board].· Yes, that little monitor is displaying a moving animation (we paused it for the photo) being generated by the Propeller chip.· The demo monitors the mouse as well and will move around the cross in the middle of the screen.

    Here's some more "cool" factor: by making a very small change to the video object, you can cause it to broadcast that video on a carrier to a nearby TV.· And yes, the video module supports both NTSC and PAL systems.

    And yes, we have a floating point module for the Propeller.· Okay, I've got to hit the road for a trade show -- those of you in the Los Angeles area can come by and see us at HauntX (at the LAX Hilton) this weekend.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
    800 x 691 - 129K
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-16 - 20:08:52
    I have a few very cool ideas for using a chip like this. Ballpark pricing would be very nice to hear, but if we have to wait, we have to.

    I assume serial I/O @ 31250bps would be available? Any issue with RS232 output and the IC being 3.3v? I've never used a controller that wasn't 5V.

    Also: How about the Spin code for the demo running on the development board? That is, can we take a peek?
  • KenLemKenLem Posts: 94
    edited 2006-02-16 - 21:37:20
    Just unreal... even broadcast video... <shaking head>unreal...

    So this is a Parallax custom designed ASIC and not a preprogrammed part?

    Ok, I don't care when it's ready. Release it when you're done, just take my money now so I can be first in line.

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  • Mike CookMike Cook Posts: 829
    edited 2006-02-16 - 21:52:46

    Most definitely EXTRA COOL, I'll have to get one, or several, when it comes out!

    Not to be anal & a wet blanket but 'broadcast video'? channel 2 to 4 I'm assuming.

    What about big brother? FCC

    I'm sure it's only a few feet but, I've already had my cable TV service disconnected and then reconnected, by my cable·TV service provider,·because, I was playing with some 433Mhz stuff (sparkfun TLP-434's), it was interfering with CATV channel 57 a few houses down the block. I ended up going with the 315 modules, no problems yet.

    What frequency are you talking about when your referring to 'broadcast'?

    Mike




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    Product web site: http://www.allsurplus.net/Axiom/

    Post Edited (Mike Cook) : 2/16/2006 10:06:59 PM GMT
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited 2006-02-16 - 22:20:01
    and I have yet to more than scratch the surface of what my BS2p can do, and then you introduce this... this...
  • Eric REric R Posts: 225
    edited 2006-02-16 - 22:26:46
    Sign me up

    Want one...yeah.gif
  • ElectronegativityElectronegativity Posts: 311
    edited 2006-02-16 - 23:15:42
    Truly a work of art.

    Does it require elaborate heat sinking?

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    I wonder if this wire is hot...
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-17 - 02:43:13
    The Propeller is custom silicon designed transistor-by-transistor by our company's founder.· Many of you have been wondering why we haven't·released any significant new BASIC Stamp updates in a while; well, now you know -- this dude has kept the boss pretty busy.
    KenLem said...
    Just unreal... even broadcast video... <shaking head>unreal...

    So this is a Parallax custom designed ASIC and not a preprogrammed part?

    Ok, I don't care when it's ready. Release it when you're done, just take my money now so I can be first in line.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-17 - 02:45:36
    Indeed it is a thing of beauty -- and man, have I been wanting to tell you guys about this for a very long time.

    Elaborate heat sinking is not required.
    Electronegativity said...
    Truly a work of art.

    Does it require elaborate heat sinking?

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-17 - 02:47:45
    Yep, the boys at Nurve are one of the first OEMs and have a cool new product in the works -- I saw a demo today that was very cool.· I'll let them tell you about their product, I don't want to steal any thunder.
    Gadgetman said...
    and I have yet to more than scratch the surface of what my BS2p can do, and then you introduce this... this... Über chip...

    I wonder if the guys working on the X-Station game-console will pick it up?

    And launch it as the XS3...
    (Either the 'X-Station 3' or 'Excess 3'... )

    Lets just hope that none of the Cell-chip designers take offense at the Propeller-beanie...

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-17 - 02:49:01
    Most of the broadcast experiments I've seen are in fact on channel 3; and yes, one has to be mindful of big brother when doing such experiments.· We're in an industrial complex and wouldn't be affecting any home TVs when we play....
    Mike Cook said...

    Most definitely EXTRA COOL, I'll have to get one, or several, when it comes out!

    Not to be anal & a wet blanket but 'broadcast video'? channel 2 to 4 I'm assuming.

    What about big brother? FCC

    I'm sure it's only a few feet but, I've already had my cable TV service disconnected and then reconnected, by my cable·TV service provider,·because, I was playing with some 433Mhz stuff (sparkfun TLP-434's), it was interfering with CATV channel 57 a few houses down the block. I ended up going with the 315 modules, no problems yet.

    What frequency are you talking about when your referring to 'broadcast'?

    Mike




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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • ElectronegativityElectronegativity Posts: 311
    edited 2006-02-17 - 02:53:39
    I'm already dreaming of ways to link these babies together into a massively parallel processor.

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    I wonder if this wire is hot...
  • John AbshierJohn Abshier Posts: 1,102
    edited 2006-02-17 - 04:29:37
    The Propeller web page says it can source/sink 50ma per IO.· What happens if one Cog takes an IO high and another takes it low?· Probably a programming error, but could happen.
  • Jon WilliamsJon Williams Posts: 6,491
    edited 2006-02-17 - 04:50:30
    Since it's the same pin there is no conflict (nothing will burn up), and the Propeller hardware does have a set of rules that handles this situation.· If any cog makes a pin an output, then it is an output; and if any cog makes a pin that it has set to an output high, that pin will go high.· The only way to have a low is for all cogs that made the pin an output to also make that pin low.

    If you look very closely the Propeller architecture graphic in the catalog you'll see that the DIRS and OUTS registers in each cog get OR'd before going to the actual pins.

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    Jon Williams
    Applications Engineer, Parallax
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2006-02-17 - 08:08:05
    Obviously, this is a big leap forward. But I really welcome it as I think many of us are seeing how the DIP technolgy keeps slipping more and more into packages.

    Others have already come out with 'Stamp-like' products that are a single 32-bit processor. But, that alone hasn't really made them significantly useful.

    On the other hand, when you mention direct interface to video, keyboards, and mice in one little board -- I drool.

    [noparse][[/noparse]Hopefully I am not too graphic about this]

    Additionally, I trust the software support will be superb, rather than the somewhat cryptic and terse exchanges provided by other vendors. If Guenther is involved, I just hope he negotiate two months vacation every years as we seem to be asking him for more and more.

    I guess I don't have to buy an oscilloscope. I just need to program my Propeller to be a 4 or 8 channel one.
    Ready, get set, go.

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    "When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.' - Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)

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  • Eric REric R Posts: 225
    edited 2006-02-17 - 11:29:39
    Jon Williams (Parallax) said...

    The Propeller is custom silicon designed transistor-by-transistor by our company's founder.·

    Thank you for devoting the last 7 years to bring us this awesome product. We will not let you down in finding creative ways to use it...
  • CariadCariad Posts: 13
    edited 2006-02-17 - 13:12:15
    John R. said...
    Before we all get too excited for our "hobby" projects:

    Could someone offer the following as a "rough, don't hold me to this":

    Will single unit (processor only) pricing be:

    > $100.00 US
    < $100.00
    < $50.00
    < $25.00

    From memory the sx52 Con Carne chip (A 40 pin version of the sx52) was about $80 so does this mean that we are looking around 8 x $80 , $640 for this chip. Any one want to guess ?·
    ·
    Either way I think it rocks I just hope I can afford it.
  • SteveWSteveW Posts: 246
    edited 2006-02-17 - 13:41:38
    Well, silicon's just sand, and there's only so much sand you can fit in a 9mm square QFN. Fabs, testing, packaging, sales, design time design tools are all free, right? Should be about 20 cents [noparse]:)[/noparse]
    I'd imagine there are long discussions going on, since it's such an unusual chip, they can't just pitch it at beating the competition - but I trust Parallax to guess roughly right... I hope it takes off, since it really does look pretty spiffy...
    (I wait with interest to see how best to use the timer without interrupts. It's a whole new world for me)

    Steve
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-17 - 14:08:16
    I hope it's closer to the SX prices. I am holding off purchasing any new controllers until I hear timing and price of this chip. Come on Parallax, don't leave us hanging! I won't tell anyone, I promise. [noparse]:)[/noparse]
  • LoopyBytelooseLoopyByteloose Posts: 12,537
    edited 2006-02-17 - 14:59:43
    Of course, it could be like the SX and the programmer is more expensive than the actual device.

    Seems the Propeller programmer has already been priced at $29.00. [noparse][[/noparse]see above in this thread to verify].

    Parallax seems to be better at pricing things so that the get into the market rather than stay out.

    One of the reasons we seem to be doing without C is that is makes the introduction of a new product only available to those who can afford such software. Bytecraft C is nearly $2000USD and other versions are still costly too. Such people want someone else to handle the details of driving the hardware while they flesh out higher level concepts. That doesn't seem to be the way microcontrollers want to be developed. It is a whole new frontier in computers and ironically it seems that Basic of some sort and Assembly once again led the way.

    I am still wondering about the Propeller's High level language - seems that it will be some kind of Object Oriented language to allow quick integration of numerous devices in a multi-tasking environment. Basic is just too much simplicity. It could only be a sub-set of a greater whole.

    And regarding costs, we know others often won't let you see much proprietary software documentation until you buy at least the book, if not the complete software. Of course, the processor may boost a windfall of peripheral sales too. Parallax may prefer to keep costs low as they might get more volume buyers, and sooner if they have a good look-see. After all, they shown it with a color LCD display. If that is a touch display, you are looking at roughly $400USD. Personally, I would just be happy to have a Video Monitor and Keyboard attached. And maybe a flash card for RAM. But a flat screen is not cheap either.

    Still, it has to be profitiable to be sucessful. My check book is open and waiting as it is substantially more than anything else in the market. This is big, very big. It will be a long wait until April.

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    "When all think alike, no one is thinking very much.' - Walter Lippmann (1889-1974)

    ······································································ Warm regards,····· G. Herzog [noparse][[/noparse]·黃鶴 ]·in Taiwan
    Hwang Xian Shen, Puddleby-on-the-Marsh.
    All things considered, I can live and thrive without Microsoft products. LINUX is just fine.
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,458
    edited 2006-02-17 - 19:34:49
    Hello,

    We can provide a few more bits of information.

    The first picture below shows the new Nurve "Hydra" Game Development Kit built around the Parallax Propeller. This kit has been in development for almost a year and it runs mid-80's Nintendo-style games very well. In fact, I've even attached a PowerPoint Presentation from Andre' LaMothe which was unveiled yesterday at a presentation in our office.

    The second picture was taken this morning. This audience is a group of Propeller users currently being trained in our office. You already know·many of them from these forums. Those raising their hands are asking questions about Propeller. Each of them has a Propeller kit to take away from Parallax.

    We're reading your inquiries and will answer those which we can reply to, but some will need to wait as we make more official documentation and product releases. Dates,·datasheets, specifications and prices will follow at some point.

    Thank you for your interest.·We think you'll like the·new Propeller.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.

    attachment.php?attachmentid=40506

    attachment.php?attachmentid=40507



    Post Edited (Ken Gracey (Parallax)) : 2/17/2006 7:38:08 PM GMT
  • KenLemKenLem Posts: 94
    edited 2006-02-17 - 20:40:57
    Interesting...

    I know Andre'. We hung out together at a couple of Game Developer conferences in the Mid 90's.

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    Speech & Video IC's for BasicStamps
  • Piper984Piper984 Posts: 74
    edited 2006-02-17 - 20:56:56
    Hello Ken,

    Could you arrange to sell one of those Propeller kits to an enthusiastic early adopter? I have an application in mind that I believe this controller would be perfect for.

    [noparse]:)[/noparse]
  • kb2hapkb2hap Posts: 218
    edited 2006-02-17 - 21:27:39
    When are you guys going to start the official "Propeller" forum?

    if that could possibly be set up soon then all of the questions and announcemnets
    could be posted there,·instead of being·mixed in the sandbox.



    just a thought.

    Also Thank you for the great support, customer service, and Products you have.

    It's great to see a company like Parallax develop the way it has since its inception.

    I've been around since the early BS1 days now your developing your own silicon...cool!!!

    I look forward to "playing" with the Propeller

    -Dan


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    DTQ
  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2006-02-17 - 22:39:54
    Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
    Hello,

    We're reading your inquiries and will answer those which we can reply to, but some will need to wait as we make more official documentation and product releases. Dates,·datasheets, specifications and prices will follow at some point.

    Thank you for your interest.·We think you'll like the·new Propeller.

    Sincerely,

    Ken Gracey
    Parallax, Inc.
    Ken;

    Not to be a pain, but my mother told me persistance pays off....

    I don't know if I'm just speaking for myself, or for a larger group.· The clammoring for a price isn't looking for a "price" per se, as opposed to a "magnitude" of price.

    This is really neat stuff, but for a hobbyist, if this thing is a few to several·hundred dollars, while it would probably still be a bargin, my interest level drops off, and I can pay less attention to what's going on.· On the other hand, if this looks "affordable", even if it's "overkill", I (we??) would still be very interested.· I'm sure we all have our own idea of what "affordable" is, but if there is a way you "leak" out the "magnitude" of the price, or compare it somehow to existing products, that would be great.



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    John R.

    8 + 8 = 10
    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
  • GadgetmanGadgetman Posts: 2,436
    edited 2006-02-18 - 01:33:51
    Agreed.

    Knowing whether or not it would come in at over or under $150 with the most basic of dev-kits, would be a great help.
    (That's about my limit as I'm permanently strapped for cash... )

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