Parallax’s P2: Early Adopters Share Their Work in Weekly Presentations

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Hello Community,

We’ve got something new for those seeking an “early adopter technical adventure.” Most know Parallax for our educational programs, but we’ve been developing something entirely new with the involvement of our community: the Propeller 2 Multicore Microcontroller (the P2). We’re currently in the early-adopter phase and plan for product release late in Q4 2020.

I invite you to take a look, lurk, or even participate.

What is the P2? The P2 is a microcontroller with eight parallel 32-bit processors, called cogs, which connect to a common hub. The hub provides 512KB of shared RAM, a CORDIC math solver, and housekeeping facilities. The P2 has 64 smart I/O pins which are each individually capable of many autonomous analog and digital functions. The P2 can drive a 1080p display in analog format and 720p display at 24 Hz in digital format.

What’s the P2 for? It’s a powerful controller for applications of all kinds: CNC machines, robots, medical, science, IoT, and entertainment. Some people will create products, while others will solve problems or simply learn something new with it. While software tools and examples are only just maturing and hardware choices are limited, customers can already start coding on a P2. Just like the Propeller 1 can be programmed in BlocklyProp by students, the P2 will also find its way into our educational programs — likely with Python.

Customers ask how we got to the point of designing our own microcontrollers. Those who go “way back” know that our founder’s efforts started in the early ’80s in a “learn by doing” style with cross-platform 6502 development systems, the ISEPIC for the C64, EPROM emulators, PIC microcontroller tools, BASIC Stamps, SX chips, the Propeller 1, and now the P2.

The P2 is an American-made, boot-strapped effort. Most chips are designed by big companies or funded start-ups for specific applications, but not by a small businesses like Parallax. We’ve heard “you’re in a race to the bottom” and that “there’s already a $1 chip for everything,” but we kept going, knowing that in 30 years people will still need chips that are understandable and easy to harness. The P2 silicon design is now done and we have inventory, thanks to a very supportive community of early adopters who are now helping to get the propellers flying.

If you’d like to get a closer look, start with JonnyMac’s article below. Next, consider registering for the “Propeller 2 Live Forum – Early Adopter Series” meetings on Zoom, also listed below. In today’s meeting, Chip will show his new graphing tools for debugging and development on the P2. Past meetings are already on Parallax’s YouTube and our current location for early release resources is at https://propeller.parallax.com/.

The early adopter and developer community is of tremendous assistance to all future Propeller programmers and we are thankful for their support!

Sincerely,

Ken Gracey

"An Introduction to the Parallax Propeller 2"
by Jon McPhalen Published in Nuts and Volts Magazine

An Introduction to the Parallax Propeller 2 by Jon McPhalen

Nuts and Volts recently published Jon McPhalen’s introductory article to the Propeller 2. The article accurately presents the state of tools, languages and features – along with his own conversational style of writing.

Graphical Debugging with Spin 2 from Chip Gracey Wednesday, August 12th at 3:00 pm Pacific

Graphical Debugging with Spin 2 from Chip Gracey

Chip will introduce the graphical debugger for PNut which turns debug commands into graphs. The system is currently set up for eight channels and 16 displays. The tool has been prototyped and developed in PNut and will eventually be brought into the Propeller Tool for Windows. Chip will post a version of PNut before the presentation (provided he resolves the malware threats/solution he’s currently experiencing with Windows).

Smart Pins on the Propeller 2

Each pin on the Propeller 2 can perform complex tasks independent of the cogs. There are 32 base modes including DAC/ADC, PWM, quadrature, measurements, triggering scope, USB, and serial. Cogs only need to interact with smart pins when transacting high-level state information. Groups of smart I/O pins can be run in unison to simplify cog interactions. This presentation from Chip should answer the community’s need for examples. Jon Titus will join to show the current state of the documentation, too. 

Jon McPhalen programming tips for the Parallax Propeller 2

Meet JonnyMac: the author, actor, coder, and inventor. JonnyMac has been a Parallax programmer for over 25 years and is the creator of almost all of the Spin2 code objects in the Parallax GitHub. Jon has developed numerous commercial products using the Propeller 1 in the areas of laser tag, camera control, animatronics, and entertainment. He’s well-respected among his peers for producing professional, tested, consistent code examples and a useful code template. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to improve your programming practices and speed your own efforts, this is a Zoom meeting you won’t want to miss!  

Propeller Tool and Wireless programming with the WX Module for windows

Prepare yourself for a full hour-and-half of education and QnA from Jeff and Michael! The first part of the presentation shows how to use the Propeller Tool for Windows, including where to get source code, specifying top files and managing directories and different compilation methods (plus a few little known tricks!). The second portion of the presentation introduces the WX Adapter for the Propeller 2 Evaluation Board, and how to configure the WX Module for wireless programming of the Propeller 2. The WX Module is in stock and shipping already; we hope to have the WX Adapter for the Propeller 2 Evaluation Board ready for shipment at least a week before this presentation so others may try the setup on their own systems.  

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