32-bit Multicore platform for developing exciting new DIY projects.Designed by Electronics Is Fun in United States of America
Propeller Charlie is a Hobbyist / Maker microcontroller board. It's like an Arduino but much more powerful. It is based on the Parallax Propeller™ microcontroller, a multicore RISC (Reduced Instruc...Read More…
Propeller Charlie is a Hobbyist / Maker microcontroller board. It's like an Arduino but much more powerful. It is based on the Parallax Propeller™ microcontroller, a multicore RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) microcontroller with 160 MIPS (Millions of Instructions Per Second) of performance. Imagine the type of DIY projects you will be able to create with this horsepower.
As an avid hobbyist and long time user of the Arduino, I was very impressed by the capabilities of the Parallax Propeller chip. I made this board as a high performance board to be used like an Arduino in Maker projects.
The Parallax Propeller is as major step up from the AVR microcontroller on the Arduino. With 8 - 32bit cores running at 80MHz each compared to the Arduino single 8bit core running at 16MHz. The Arduino platform offers a free simple IDE for C development and so does the Propeller platform. SimpleIDE allows users to develop code in PASM (Propeller Assembler), Spin (Propeller Interperter), and C.
The Charlie board provides 32 I/O pins that can be programmed for many different functions. A USB interface allows uploading of Propeller programs as well as communication to the host. The board can be powered by an external 6 to 12V DC power adapter and the board provides a regulated 5V and 3.3V rail for power.
The Charlie board is pin compatible with the Gadget Gangster Propeller Platform. Hence, any Gadget Gangster Platform Modules will work used with the Propeller Charlie. A few of them are:
More about the Propeller
Processing storage and I/O included are a solid mix for all your DIY projects. Each core known as a COG consists of a 32bit RISC processor, 2048 bytes of high-speed COG ram, two programmable 32bit counters, and video circuitry.
There are shared resources available to each COG on a round robin basis these resources are part of the HUB. The HUB contains 32K bytes of SRAM and 32K bytes of ROM. The ROM contains the boot loader code, character sets for video display, and SIN, LOG, Anti-LOG tables. Each COG is granted access to the shared resources in order to ensure that one COG does not conflict with another.
There are global resources available to all the COGs any time. These include a system counter and 32 I/O bits.
Build digital and analog circuits using up to 32 I/O bits. User developed program objects can be loaded in to one or more cores to control your circuits independently. Internal counter/timers (2-32bit counters per core) are provided to allow measuring or generation of timing and waveform signals.
Each core or COG contains circuitry to generate video. Objects can be loaded to support NTSC/PAL composite and VGA video with only a minimal amount of external circuitry required.
The OBEX (Parallax Object Exchange) contains many programs or objects that are free to download and use. All code provided on the OBEX is open source and covered by the MIT license.
Because the Parallax Propeller is capable of so much, you will find that any project you can think of can be easily created in just a short amount of time with few components.
Programming Charlie Programming the Charlie Board is very easy using any of a number of programming environments. Furthermore, the Propeller chip can be programmed in SPIN, PASM, Basic, Forth, C/C++, and many other languages.
The best part about programming the Charlie board is that all the tools are free. So you will not need to make a huge investment to get started with the Propeller Charlie.
For most projects, you can start with the Propeller Tool or the PropGCC tool. Both of these tools are available from the Parallax web site and are free to download.
The Propeller Tool will allow you to program the Propeller Charlie in either SPIN or PASM. SPIN is a interpreted language that supports structured programming and supports object oriented techniques. PASM is the Propeller Assembler Language. For the fastest programs users choose PASM. It is also the language of choice for developing virtual peripheral objects. With it, you can create objects to generate video, communicate over a serial port, interface to PS/2 mouse and keyboards along with many more advanced peripherals.
The PropGCC tool allows the user to program the Propeller Charlie in C or C++. The is a great environment for programmers that already have C/C++ experience or are not interested in learning SPIN. The PropGCC tool includes a SimpleIDE for building projects and is easy for beginners to learn. For more advanced users of Propeller based products, Parallax is planning a more advanced IDE and users can also select Eclipse or other GCC compatible IDE’s of their choice.
Make Your Own Peripherals The Charlie board opens the doors for a new line of projects that can span the gamut from simple LED blinking circuits to advanced robotics. With it’s 8 cores, multi-threaded applications can be developed and deployed with a minimum amount of effort and cost.
The Charlie board can be used as a complete dedicated embedded system (with the appropriate platform module). Or, it can be used as a component of a larger distributed embedded system.
With the Charlie board, virtual peripherals can be created in software and can be run independently from other functions and programs running simultaneously. For example, since there are 8 cores available, you can load objects to support a VGA monitor, PS/2 mouse and keyboard, and an SDCARD and still have (4) cores available to run an application or better yet, a BASIC interpreter.
Many different programs and virtual peripheral examples are available from the Parallax OBEX and other propeller users around the world.
With a Charlie board, you can create multi-threaded programs to perform simultaneous tasks without the need of loading a sophisticated operating system that will use-up valuable system resources.
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