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Spin a Propeller - and smile!

Spin a Propeller - and smile!

Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
Hi.

Imagine an embedded controller that clocks up to about 100 MHz, executes one 32 bit instruction in four clocks and has two 32 bit counters that have 32 opmodes. Including PWM, frequency and interval timing as well as two input pins with selectable logic. The processor also has NTSC/PAL capabilities (with the addition of three resistors).

IRstuff pointed me to this one and I want to thank him for that. Read about it here: http://forums.parallax.com/forums/attach.aspx?a=11813

Things like these don't happen very often. It is one man's dream and ambitions coming true. And it is a very nice chip and a nice language.

Wait, I forgot to tell you that there are eight of these processors on each chip. Plus shared memory that can be accessed from any processor. It is done round robin. So, there is no bus arbitration. It is a clean an efficient design.

I am no salesman for the Parallax people. Just very glad to have found the chip. It isn't directly mainstream and probably sneezed at by some puritans. Let them sneeze and let us other once again enjoy embedded programming - at its best.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
There's a 160 MHz version coming up. It will have 64 I/O pins.

Needs a C compiler? It depends a lot. I have used the native SPIN language. It is quite elegant. I am more productive with this little chip than I ever have been. (Using PICs and 8051 derivatives before).

I use it for little hand-held applications. Not much memory needed there. I guess that's why I find it attractive.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

Just tried to go to their website for the first time... no answer.  That's not a good sign for me.  Nor is only one person  being involved in 80% of a chip's design, since anything happening to him means it's a good bet there won't be many more like it coming along in the future.  I'd love to look at it, been meaning to for a while now, but this isn't the best first impression...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

Hiya-

Not to throw a fly in the ointment, but NTSC (never the same color) is being phased out in the US.  What is the migration path to the "new" digital formats that are coming out?  Has there been any talk on their forums about that?

Is there a hardware codec planned for it?  THAT would be cool as I could think of all sorts of mixed video feeds for that.

Neat architecture in any event.

  Cheers,

   Rich S.

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
Dan,

No activity on their website?

You bet. Perhaps even more than Eng-Tips. The Parallax fora are extremely active.

Try again! "Not a good sign to me"... Huh?

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

By "no activity" I meant the site came back with a "Site is not responding error"... it happens, but it certainly doesn't get a first-time looker like me excited about a company.

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
Is this the address you tried?

http://www.parallax.com/

It has worked everytime. I tested it less than a minute ago - it worked then.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

It looks like all the bits used to address data are used.  The instruction set would need to change if more memory was added.   It also looks like some bits are wasted..    There is no mulitply or divide and the zero flag doesn't seem to be used often.

I see this is as more of a curiosity.    I am sure the propeller chip will find its uses but I will stick to DSPs and risc CPUs for now.  I would need a 32x32 to 64 bit mulitply so I can follow oit up with a 64 /32 = 32 rem 32 divide before I would consider this chip.    More memory is needed too.


RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
Yeah. As I said. Mostly sneezing.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

It looks like great fun to me.  Wish I had a need for it now.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

(OP)
"When there's a chip - there's a need"  smile

Actually. I can understand some of the reactions. If you do heavy stuff and need the safety that intel, TI, Moto (or whatever they put on their door-mat now) and their brethren offer (if real or not can be discussed).

But. For a large percentage of those who design in a less stringent environment (no SIL, no large team, modest standardization requirements, mostly bit-banging and control and not so much signal processing), there are other things that count.

Things like real parallel processing, eight processors sharing memory. Very exact timing. No problem with interrupts, their priorities and possible interaction that takes days to nail down. A novel (that's perhaps the problem?) language that is easily mastered. Low current consumption and a low price. Plus 16 very able 32 bit counters with more operational modes than you could imagine. Peripherals? No. None of them, except a VGA (or PAL or NTSC) generator attached to every processor. But, since there are objects in the library that turn any of the processors into a full duplex UART, an SPI interface or almost anything you may need, that doesn't hurt a bit.

It is a fun and able chip. I can understand the sneezing - I even anticipated it. But it isn't a very constructive way to look at things.

Gunnar Englund
www.gke.org
--------------------------------------
100 % recycled posting: Electrons, ideas, finger-tips have been used over and over again...

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

What surprised me about these Parallax processors is the low power requriements.  The smallest uses just 1 milliwatt.

I've been looking at the robot hobby and single board computers lately and find there seems to be something at every level, all the way from these microcontrollers to full blown PCs.

For industrial use, I think the PLCs and PACs are great because of the convienence and choices of IO add on's available.  In that environment, engineers are very pressed for time and need ready made solutions.

Eric
http://www.icpdas-usa.com

RE: Spin a Propeller - and smile!

Oops!  I meant 1 mA above.  Power is 5V * 1 mA = 5 milliwatts

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