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BASIC Stamp Q & A

 

What is the BASIC Stamp microcontroller?

The BASIC Stamp module is a microcontroller developed by Parallax Inc. which is easily programmed using a form of the BASIC programming language called PBASIC. It is called a “Stamp” simply because it is close to the size of an average postage stamp, except for the BS2p40 which is much longer due to its additional I/O pins.

Does the BASIC Stamp module lose its program when I remove the battery or power supply?

No, your PBASIC code is stored inside a serial EEPROM on-board the BASIC Stamp module. EEPROMs provide non-volatile storage; they retain memory even without power. The EEPROM used in the BASIC Stamp 1 and 2 modules are guaranteed to function properly for 40 years and for 10,000,000 write cycles per memory location. The EEPROM used in the BASIC Stamp 2e, 2sx, 2p, 2pe and 2px modules are guaranteed for 100,000 write cycles per memory location.

Does the BASIC Stamp microcontroller come in different versions?

Yes. Currently there are eight functional versions of the BASIC Stamp module and ten physical versions. The BASIC Stamp line consists of the following: BASIC Stamp 1 module, BASIC Stamp 2 module, BASIC Stamp 2e module, BASIC Stamp 2sx module, BASIC Stamp 2p24 module, BASIC Stamp 2p40 module, BASIC Stamp 2pe module, and the BASIC Stamp 2px24 module. The BS1-IC is a 14-pin SIP with surface-mounted components. The BASIC Stamp 2 module, BASIC Stamp 2e module, BASIC Stamp 2sx module, BASIC Stamp 2p24, BASIC Stamp 2pe and the BASIC Stamp 2px24 modules are available in a 24-pin DIP, and we also have the BASIC Stamp 2p40 module with surface-mounted components. They are called the BS2-IC, BS2E-IC, BS2SX-IC, BS2P24-IC, BS2PE-IC, BS2PX24-IC and the BS2P40-IC, respectively. The BS2-IC and BS2sx are also available in an OEM version that is a 20-pin SIP package.

BASIC Stamp module pinout diagrams

How big is the BASIC Stamp microcontroller?

  • The BS1-IC measures: 1.41 x 0.4 x 0.13 inches (36 x 10 x 3 mm)
  • The BS1-OEM measures: 1.4 x 1.4 inches (36 x 36 mm)
  • The BS2-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2-OEM measures: 2.0 x 2.0 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • The BS2E-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2SX-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2SX-OEM measures: 2.0 x 2.0 inches (51 x 51 mm)
  • The BS2P24-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2P40-IC measures: 2.02 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (51 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2PE-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)
  • The BS2PX24-IC measures: 1.2 x 0.63 x 0.35 inches (31 x 16 x 9 mm)

How big are the BASIC Stamp Carrier Boards?

  • The BASIC Stamp 1 Carrier Board measures: 2.5 x 1.5 x 0.5 inches (65 x 38 x 13 mm)
  • The BASIC Stamp 2 Carrier Board measures: 2.5 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches (65 x 79 x 15 mm)
  • The Board of Education® programming board measures: 4.25 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches (107 x 77 x 15 mm)
  • The Super Carrier Board measures: 4.25 x 3.1 x 0.6 inches (107 x 77 x 15 mm) 
  • The Basic Stamp Activity Board measures: 4.25 x 3.0 x 0.5 inches (107 x 76 x 18 mm)

How do I power the BASIC Stamp module?

The BS1 and BS2 modules both require 5 volts DC (Vdd) or 5.5 to 15 volts DC (Vin). The BS2e, BS2sx, BS2p24, BS2p40, BS2pe and BS2px24 all require 5 volts DC (Vdd) or 5.5 to 12 volts DC (Vin). All Stamps feature an on-board 5-volt regulator which will convert an input of 5.5 to 12 volts (5.5 to 15 volts for the BS1 and BS2) on the Vin pin down to the 5 volts that its components require. If your power supply is 5.5 to 12 volts (15 volts for the BS1 and BS2), you should connect it directly to the Vin and GND pins or to the battery clips on the development board. The Vin and GND pins are pin number 1 and 2 on the BS1-IC or pin number 24 and 23 on the BS2-IC, BS2E-IC, BS2SX-IC, BS2P24-IC, BS2PE-IC and BS2PX24-IC (40 and 39 on the BS2P40-IC). If your power supply delivers a regulated 5 volts, you should connect it directly to the +5V (Vdd) and GND pins (2 and 12 on the BASIC Stamp Rev. Dx, 5 and 2 on the BS1-IC, and 21 and 23 on the BS2-IC, BS2E-IC, BS2SX-IC, BS2P24-IC, BS2PE-IC and BS2PX24-IC (37 and 39 on the BS2P40-IC). NOTE: When using battery or wall-pack power supplies, it is recommended to limit the voltage to 9 volts on the Stamp 1 and Stamp 2, and 7.5 volts on the Stamp 2e, Stamp 2sx, Stamp 2p, Stamp 2pe and Stamp 2px.

How much current does the BASIC Stamp microcontroller consume?

At 5 volts DC the BASIC Stamp 1 module consumes 1 mA in running mode and 2 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2-IC consumes 3 mA in running mode and 50 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2E-IC consumes 25 mA in running mode and 200 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2SX-IC consumes 60 mA in running mode and 500 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2P24-IC consumes 40 mA in running mode and 350 µA in sleep mode not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2P40-IC consumes 40 mA in running mode and 350 µA in sleep mode not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2PE-IC consumes 15 mA in running mode and 150 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins. The BS2PX24-IC consumes 55 mA in running mode and 450 µA in sleep mode, not including any circuitry on the I/O pins.

Is the BASIC Stamp microcontroller sensitive to static electricity?

While we have made every effort to ensure that the BASIC Stamp modules are less sensitive to static, we recommend taking the usual precautions when handling all BASIC Stamp modules. For instance, when transporting the BASIC Stamp modules, always place it in the conductive foam it came in. When handling BASIC Stamp modules, make sure you’ve grounded yourself by touching a grounded object, such as a metal computer case, or you could wear an anti-static wrist-strap

Are there any production possibilities with the BASIC Stamp modules?

Yes, we offer the major components of the Stamp circuit (the interpreter, the EEPROM and the resonator) separately at a discounted price for tight integration into your products. For initial development purposes, request the BS1 OEM, BS2 OEM, and BS2sx OEM product. These are “OEM” versions of the modules with an easy to follow circuit layout and all the components provided in through-hole format. The “OEM” versions provide a great “base” unit, which you can build yourself, to test the circuit and help in your own designs. Our web site includes information regarding details on pricing and availability.

What items do I need to get started with the BASIC Stamp microcontroller?

The items you need are: 1) the BASIC Stamp Windows Editor programming software; 2) the programming cable (a standard DB-9 serial cable or USB port with serial adapter) for all BASIC Stamp 2 modules and a BS1 serial adapter for BASIC Stamp 1 modules; 3) the BASIC Stamp User's Manual; 4) the BASIC Stamp module itself, and optionally 5) the appropriate development board or kit.

How can I make my own BASIC Stamp circuit?

Yes, Parallax sells the BASIC Stamp interpreter chip in two different package types: DIP, SSOP or both. Any of these can be used to create your own BASIC Stamp circuit for purposes of deeply embedding it within an application. For initial development purposes, we sell OEM versions of the BS1, BS2, assembled and unassembled, and the BS2SX assembled only. These are “OEM” versions of the modules with an easy to follow circuit layout and all the components provided in through-hole format. The “OEM” versions provide a great “base” unit, which you can build yourself, to test the circuit and help in your own designs.

What kind of microchips are used in the BASIC Stamp microcontroller?

The BASIC Stamp 1 module uses a PIC16C56a from Microchip Technology Inc. The BASIC Stamp 2 module uses a PIC16C57c Microchip Technology Inc. The BASIC Stamp 2e, and 2sx modules use an SX28AC from Ubicom. The BASIC Stamp 2p24, 2p40, 2pe and 2px24 modules use the SX48BD.