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Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip
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Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by randomvibe on Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:54 am

Arduino is more than a business, it's a worldwide movement dedicated to education, electronics, programming, making... for everyone. In doing so, Arduino has proven that it's not married to a single chip manufacturer. Mainly ATMEL but now Atheros and TI. Why not design a board for Parallax semiconductors, specifically the upcoming Propeller 2, a multi-processor chip (16 cores) with onboard 13-bit ADC, up to 64! The specs are impressive (subject to change) - chip due later this year hopefully. If you think this is a good idea, chime in here:

http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?PHPSE ... c=234655.0

Propeller-2 Specs:
* 32-bit Multi-Processor (16 Core) Module
* HD 1080p Video
* Programmable in GCC
* 200 Mhz Clock Speed
* 512 KB RAM
* TBD KB RAM for Program Storage
* 64 I/O Pins
* Up to 64 ADC (13-bit Resolution)
* USART, PWM, I2C, SPI done in Software enabling numerous peripherals beyond traditional hardware approach.

This is an excellent opportunity to educate Maker's in multi-processor devices and the manufacturing process behind microcontrollers! Arguably, Parallax started this Maker movement. Arguably without Parallax, there would not have been Arduino. And without Arduino, Parallax would not have implement C programming. I think an Arduino board with a Propeller-2 chip would make an excellent product. Frankly, I'd prefer this over the Arduino Tre.

Propeller-2 Thread:
http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.p ... eller-Chip
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:26 am

Re: Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by thefatmoop on Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:36 am

parallax is a small company that designed the hobby grade propeller ic. I don't think they ever produced a data sheet for the propeller which is why it will never be used by a large corporation -- Not much of an interest for this community, but corporations do drive huge cash flow which would give parallax funding.

The propeller 2 was supposed to be released years ago and parallax keeps saying "it's going to be soon!!!" I don't think anything on the propeller is open source software/hardware wise. The compiler isn't great, and it seems like all cool projects done with the prop forget the compiler and jump to the assembly level.

I'd say you're talking about two completely different platforms/ideologies. I played around with propeller a few years ago and wasn't impressed. Don't get me wrong cool stuff can be done with it! I hear they now have a C compiler.

This would sure stir up flames at the parallax forum ;p
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Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:36 pm

Re: Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by reltham on Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:28 pm

Your data is out of date and/or simply wrong.

1. There has been a datasheet available for the Propeller since at least since 2007-8 timeframe when I started using one.

2. The Spin/PASM compiler is now open source, look up OpenSpin.

3. The Propeller version of GCC, allowing C and C++ programming, has been available for a couple years now. There is also a separate C compiler called Catalina that has been available longer.

Parallax has been very open with their source code and board designs for quite some time. The Propeller 2 design process has been the most open process I have every seen with a company designing chips. You should check it out again.
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Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 4:39 pm

Re: Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by Cluso99 on Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:34 am

The Parallax Propeller P8X32A is the first propeller and has been available for years. It has...
8 x 32-bit CPU Cores, each with their own 2KB Ram (usable for private registers/program), Counters, Video hardware
80MHz (overclocking to 104MHz)
Most instructions take 4 clocks giving 20MIPs per core
32 x I/O pins all accessible from all cpu cores
32KB common RAM (accessible from all cpu cores)
32KB common ROM (accessible from all cpu cores)
All peripherals (except the video/counters) are soft and drivers are available for the standard UARTs, I2C, SPI, etc.
There are virtually no restrictions on what pins, or the number of devices, the same chip can support
(eg you could have 16 tx/rx uarts)
No Interrupts - means you can have intelligent software devices running in separate cores, and not impacting on the timing of the main code routine(s).
ADC via sigma-delta can be performed with any I/O pin(s)
Available in DIP40, QFP44 & QFN44.
Two versions of C compilers available, assembler for time critical drivers (many already available), basic, forth, etc.
Most software available is MIT licensed (~any use)
And, the forum is one of the best I have seen for helpful advice...
http://forums.parallax.com/forumdisplay ... controller

BTW Just because many hobbyists use the propeller chip, doesn't mean it is not used commercially. I have a commercial product (not a hobby board) that uses 3 propeller chips!
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Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:19 am

Re: Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by swimdude0614 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:01 pm

Well, I feel like if ever there was a good place to talk about PropWare, here it is.


I think the concept and philosophy of Arduino is FANTASTIC. Arduino makes programming basic stuff for embedded systems EASY. It means you can buy an Arduino and some LEDs and some buttons and an LCD and have a simple program running in no time! Awesome! Parallax offered something similar with Spin and its OBEX... but I didn't like Spin. I know lots of people love it... but it wasn't for me. And no one wants to program everything in assembly. When PropGCC (the GCC compiler for the Propeller) came out, I jumped with joy!!! I started porting old programs and fell in love. Then I started a new project with some new peripherals and QUICKLY realized, I had a serious problem. At that point in time, there were almost no open-source peripherals in C or C++ - I was going to have to write everything from scratch.

Enter PropWare. I began writing my own peripheral library to support a configurable SPI module. This was expanded to lots of other devices. Then I found out about the Simple Library (written by Parallax) and libpropeller (written by forum member SRLM) and imported them into PropWare. This is all brought together with an easy-to-use build system and instructions for getting it working in Eclipse (GASP! A real IDE???).

I think (hope), with some more work, PropWare can help a lot of people use the Propeller. The biggest problem still is setup... it's a bit involved for someone who isn't yet familiar with Eclipse or Make. I'd like to develop an Eclipse plugin (or even better, a plugin for JetBrains upcoming release of their C++ IDE) to make the process easy.

I have this thing called PropWare. I hope it will encourage users that are just getting started to try the Propeller. And I hope it will empower experienced programmers with a proper IDE and build system.

PropWare can be found here:

David Zemon

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Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:42 am

Re: Arduino Board with Parallax Multi-Processor Chip

by randomvibe on Tue Jun 30, 2015 4:55 am

Looks like Parallax missed an unofficial milestone in Spring, 2015. They were supposed to release the FPGA image for the Propeller-2.

I'm troubled by the lack of communication though, especially since Parallax decided to open up the project to the community. Every new endeavor has its challenges that impacts cost and schedule. This is normal and this is not a problem.

What is problematic is this lack of communication, especially for a company such as Parallax who values education and makes money on it. Communication is a core element in education. Is keeping the community in the dark the lesson they want to convey?

For myself, a succinct 1 or 2 sentence status would be sufficient. At this point, I'm not even sure the Prop-2 is moving forward.

Clearly, Parallax values feedback too. There is plenty of it in the following thread. I'm confident they'll do the right thing and report something soon.

http://forums.parallax.com/discussion/1 ... -price/p11
Posts: 57
Joined: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:26 am

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.