The Multicore Propeller Microcontroller

Propeller chipsDo you remember when programming was actually fun?  With eight 32-bit processors in one chip, integrating peripheral devices is suddenly simplified with the Propeller. A Parallax creation from the silicon on up, the Propeller chip’s unique architecture and languages will change the way you think about embedded system design. The Propeller chip gives programmers both the power of true multi-processing and deterministic control over the entire system.  Simplify!
Each of the Propeller chip’s processors, called cogs, can operate simultaneously, both independently and cooperatively with other cogs, sharing access to global memory and the system clock in a round-robin fashion through a central hub. Each cog has access to all 32 I/O pins, with pin states being tracked in its own input, output and direction registers.  Each cog also has its own memory, 2 counter modules, and a video generator module capable of producing NTSC, PAL & VGA signals.

Propeller Specifications:

  • Lanuages: Spin (native, object-based), Assembly (native low-level), C/C++ (via PropGCC)
  • Power Requirements: 3.3 VDC
  • Operating Temperature: -55 to +125 degrees C
  • Processors (Cogs): 8
  • I/O Pins: 32 CMOS
  • External Clock Speed: DC to 80 MHz
  • Internal RC Oscillator: ~12 MHz or ~20 kHz
  • Execution Speed: 0 to 160 MIPS (20 MIPS/cog)
  • Global ROM/RAM: 32768/32768 bytes
  • Cog RAM: 512 x 32 bits/cog
Where is the Propeller used?
  • The Propeller is used in many industries including manufacturing, process control, robotics, automotive and communications. Hobbyists and engineers alike are finding new uses for this powerful microcontroller every day.
When might you choose to use the Propeller instead of another product?
  • The Propeller is a good choice over other microcontrollers when a low system part count is desirable due to its ability to provide direct video output and an easy interface to external peripherals such as keyboard, mouse and VGA monitor. Pre-written objects to support many types of hardware also make it an attractive option. All of this plus low cost and a powerful, yet easy language are hard to beat in a world where microcontrollers come in so many flavors that it’s hard to make a choice. The Propeller really is an easy choice.
Why should you use the Propeller?
  • The Propeller Chip can free system designers from the constraints of many modern microcontroller systems in both hardware and software. The Propeller puts the fun back into design and programming while providing the power and flexibility required in today’s microcontroller-powered applications.

Propeller Tools

Propeller Tool Software

  • The Propeller Tool Software is the primary development environment for Propeller programming in Spin and Assembly Language. It includes many features to facilitate organized development of object-based applications: multi-file editing, code and document comments, color-coded blocks, keyword highlighting, and multiple window and monitor support aid in rapid code development. Optional view modes allow you to quickly drill down to the information you need—by hiding comment lines, method bodies, or by showing the object’s compiled documentation only. Example objects, such as keyboard, mouse, and graphics drivers, come standard with the free Propeller Tool software

Propellent Library and Executable 

  • The Parallax Propellent software is a Windows-based tool for compiling and downloading to the Parallax Propeller chip—without using the Propeller Tool development software. The Propellent Executable provides the ability to do things like compile Spin source, save it as a binary or EEPROM image, identify a connected Propeller chip, and download to the Propeller chip, all via simple command-line switches or drag-and-drop operations.

Propeller GCC

  • The Propeller GCC Compiler tool-chain is an open-source, multi-OS, and multi-lingual compiler that targets the Parallax Propeller's unique multicore architecture.  Parallax has collaborated with industry experts to develop all aspects of the toolchain, including the creation of a new development environment that simplifies writing code, compilation, and downloading to a Propeller board. Using the Large Memory Model (LMM) and Extended Memory Model (XMM) gives the developer the ability to write C or C++ programs that run faster than Spin or exceed Spin's 32 KB program size limit, respectively. Example objects, including C objects, are available through the Propeller Object Exchange.

Quantity Ordering

Propeller Chips in Quantity - Available as a DIP chip for prototyping, and two different package types for volume manufacturing. With its 8 cogs and 16 configurable counter modules, the Propeller chip can reduce component count and power consumption in your design, improving overall economy in high-volume production. For high volume orders or information on price breaks, please Contact Sales.

Propeller Block Diagram