Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rudimentary benchmarks for the Parallax Propeller.

I'm in the early stages of a big new, ambitious project, that I've wanted to do for a long time. I've got some Propeller chips from Parallax that I've had sitting around for quite a while, so I thought I'd try to incorporate the 'Prop' as one of the many microcontrollers this project will have.

The Propeller is quite a unique processor, I'd even so far as to say it's design is exotic. What it lacks in specialized hardware found in most other MCU's it makes up for with having 8, that's eight, cores. You want I2C, you just dedicate a core to doing it in software. One of the few exceptions is something not found on many other MCU, it's has dedicated video generation circuitry.

A custom language, "Spin" has historically been the primary high level language used on the chip. Parallax has designed into the ROM a byte-code interpreter. You can also use assembly, especially for performance-critical code. C/C++ had for years been an experimental language on the chip, but that has changed in the past year or so. There is a full fledged GCC port for it. I decided I'd give it a try.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seeeduino Stalker Waterproof Solar kit review PART 2

In my last post, I covered the Seeeduino Stalker board itself, I wanted to get into some of the other aspects of the kit.

The hardware (continued)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bench Power Supply

I decided to mothball my power supply project. I may come back to it one day, I may not. I sort of had a rage-quit moment this week-end, when I blew one of the channel's regulator circuits. The thing is, I didn't do anything I didn't think it could handle. Now, the voltage output is always 2 volts higher than what I set it for, and the current-limiting seems to never kick in, it goes to 1 full amp (or at least that's the max I'm capable of measuring) when I short it. Meh. I thought it was more robust than it appeared to be, and I didn't want to spend more time to complete it, only to run into more issues. It needs some re-design.

The Bench Power Supply (Powerbug 6000), in its
open casket, the mothballs are in my head.... and my heart.

So as a wrap up, I'm just going to post some pictures I (and my wife, player with an in-law's camera) took of the project.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Seeeduino Stalker Waterproof Solar kit review

I had a little extra scratch recently, so I decided to geek out on some new toys without  a specific purpose in mind. One of the nuggets I picked up was the Seeeduino Stalker waterproof solar kit. From Seeed Studios in Shenzhen, China.

At the time of writing the kits go for $59.50 US, which, as you'll see in minute, is a pretty good deal, for what you get. I live in North Carolina, and the free shipping via Hong Kong post/registered airmail took about two weeks, give or take a day or two. As an aside, it boggles my mind that I can get something shipped out of Shenzhen *for free*, (my package was several pounds too), and I order something that ships out of a neighboring state and get socked with a $10 shipping fee.

I'm going to take a stab at doing a proper review for the kit, maybe it will inspire me to figure out what to actually do with the thing.