Electronics > Microcontrollers

Parallax Propeller

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I've been reading these forums for a while but this is my first post. I've noticed that the parallax propeller rarely gets a mention and I'm interested to see who on these forums actually uses it and their opinion of it. I've been using it a couple of years, it's my first experience with microcontrollers and I've found it incredibly easy to learn and capable of pretty much any task I need.  I have had a play with PIC's and find the learning curve quite steep compared to the prop.  One of the big disadvantages with the prop however would be the cost when you need a micro for a simple task. This may be asking a bit much but it would be great if Dave could do a blog on this device if he has never used it and give his first impressions of it.

I've used them a bit.

Bottom line usually: too expensive, not enough peripherals. An interesting chip but not the best option for most things.

That seems to be the opinion of of most that have used many different micros. In their forums I find support is great however quite biased and i guess you find that with all micros, they have their fanboys. Does the Propeller have it's place in a commercial sense or is there always a better choice? Should it be used primarily for hobbyist use?

The impression I get of the Propeller is that it is a bit of an insult to someone that already has microcontroller development experience.  So much so that it seems like they have targeted the hobby market almost exclusively.

Propellers don't have interrupts, for example.  Parallax plays this up as a benefit.  Yes, it's easier for beginners to get things working but if you're comfortable with interrupts then it's a drawback.  You wind up having to poll for everything you would have otherwise used interrupts for.

The other problem is that the primary programming language is the proprietary (interpreted) language "Spin."  This doesn't sit will with a lot of people since they are likely already comfortable with C or C++ and have existing code bases that they wouldn't be able to leverage.  There is, however, a port of gcc for the Propeller which piques my interest.

propeller is interesting. prop2 is going to be kickass. but back to the prop1.. Whats the companies biggest seller? stamps! The prop is a step up from basic stamps. Increased ram, etc and need something more than basic to power it, hence spin (piece of shit it is).. I think they saw the writing on the wall of people wanting to go from basicstamps to something bigger, and back then you had pics and avrs and embedded c... full on embedded development with c, thats a big step from basic!

so they dedicate half the chips memory space to embedding the basic like spin interpreter and tv output control code + font and waste half the chips 64kb ram space. so they made an IDE for it and made it friendly (predates arduino release).

its great for what it is (and prop2 is very interesting!) but its not meant for pic32 people.


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