Our Multicore Concept and Architecture

The Propeller is a unique multicore microcontroller consisting of eight symmetric 32-bit processors. Each processor core, called a cog, is united by shared memory, managed by a central "hub", and has common access to all 32 I/O pins. By developing your program to utilize separate cogs to perform individual tasks, the problem of implementing complex real-time systems is greatly simplified over using the traditional single-processor, multi-threaded approach. Instead of trying to implement all tasks in a single program running on a single processor, you can now break your application down into what should have been separate parts all along - main application, serial ports, video displays, and motor control loops - each being unique code running in a separate cog. Each cog has the ability to access the Propeller's full 32 KB main memory map, making status and data conveyance between cogs in your program no more complicated than citing a common variable. The hub maintains memory integrity by providing mutually exclusive access to the Propeller's RAM to one cog at time in a round-robin fashion.
A quick look at the block diagram in the Propeller datasheet will show you how it works and will get you thinking about how the eight 20 MIPS cogs in the Propeller can be leveraged in your product. The QuickStart board is a simple introductory platform to multi-processing on the Propeller.

Propeller chips



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 decidedly universal in applications with some of its many uses demonstrated by example. The most common applications include renewable energy, commercial robotics (UAVs, ROVs), user-interface systems with keypads and video displays, medical equipment, iPhone hardware and a long list of products designed by entrepreneurs and engineers alike. 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 microcontroller 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. 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.