Propeller 1

P8X32A 8-core Architecture

The block diagram in the Propeller P8X32A datasheet gives a visual overview of the Propeller chip’s unique architecture. 

Its eight cores each have access to all 32 I/O pins and internal shared memory for simplified system integration and data conveyance among processes. 

A central hub and common system clock preserve shared memory integrity by allowing one core at a time to access main RAM in a round-robin fashion, optionally augmented by eight lock bits. 

Each core has its own memory for independent code and data processing, and a pair of configurable counter modules, a video generator, and I/O registers that can be utilized as a variety of software peripherals.

Specifications

  • Languages: BlocklyProp (graphical), Spin (native, object-based), Assembly (native low-level), C/C++ (via open-source Propeller GCC toolchain)
  • Power Requirements: 3.3 VDC
  • Operating Temperature: -55 to +125 degrees C
  • Processor cores:  Eight 32-bit cores
  • I/O Pins: 32 GPIO 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/core

The Propeller P8X32A is available as a 40-pin DIP chip for prototyping, and a 44-pin QFP package for volume manufacturing.  

There are also a variety of evaluation and development boards designed with students, hobbyists, and professionals in mind. 

For high volume orders or information on price breaks, please Contact Sales.

When might you choose to use the Propeller?

Teachers who choose to use the Propeller chip find that its multi-core architecture actually simplifies learning.

Since timing-sensitive processes such as motor control or audio generation can run in their own cores, there are no interrupt-created programming bugs to cause confusion. Visual BlocklyProp programming introduces programming concepts at the beginner level with a high degree of engagement and success.  

From there, students can reveal the text-based code underlying BlocklyProp, and progress to C-language programming in a supported, relatable fashion.  Our open-format hardware using standard electronic components supports real-world skill-building.

The Propeller 1 community is very supportive, engaged and interactive. They can be found on the Parallax forums.  

Many developers who choose the Propeller find it becomes their go-to device for a quick, elegant solution to a variety of design needs.  It is an especially good choice when a rapid design-to-production cycle is essential.  

The Propeller chip’s software-defined peripherals, supported by extensive Community Libraries on GitHub,  can reduce power consumption and overall parts count in a design. This in turn can reduce the bill-of-materials cost, layout expense, and manufacturing run time. And, the developer can leverage modular design elements in successive projects, rather than shopping for specialized ICs for a single use.

Where is the Propeller 1 used?

Propeller multicore microcontrollers are useful wherever multiple sensors, user interface systems, and output devices such as motors and video displays must be managed simultaneously. 

Commercial applications include flight controllers in unmanned aerial vehicles, 3D printing, point-of-sale systems, solar monitoring systems, environmental data collection, prop and exhibit animation, theatrical lighting and sound control, security systems, autonomous robotics, and medical devices. Some of the largest customer applications are for interactive badges. 

The Propeller P8X32A is also an excellent microcontroller for educational platforms. Supported by both visual BlocklyProp and text-based C, Spin, and Assembly programming languages, it is used from middle school through university. 

The Parallax open-source hardware and software initiative allows advanced students to gain an in-depth understanding of the entire system, and reference the open-source files for their own research projects.  See our Propeller Software options.

The Propeller 1 Shop

Visit the Propeller 1 product family page for the complete selection of chips, boards, and modules.

"Love your microcontroller. It is the only microcontroller that I could get to work. Still reading forums. Lots of data that is very helpful. Thank you. If it was not for Parallax I might never have learned how to program a microcontroller at all. Still moving forward!"
Paul W.