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Hardware Ramblings

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Well, I started a new project a few weeks ago, and I decided that it would be cool to share some of it with the rest of GDNet. I've always been interested in low-level hardware stuffs; it's how I got into programming in the first place. So I decided that I would like to get back to my roots and create my own game console.

I got a cool little microcontroller for Christmas called the BASIC Stamp. While it was very neat to play around with, it was much too scrawny for anything game-wise, and I quickly exhausted its potential.

Browsing around on Parallax's website, I found the Propeller chip. This bad boy boasts 8 separate, independent cores running at up to 80MHz. Included on each core is a video generation unit to help... generate video of course!

So of course I chose the Propeller to be the main CPU of my game console. Looking around on Parallax's forums yielded some great looking projects, so it looks like there will be some support in case things go wrong.

Here's my initial project setup:



I used the recommended basic circuit for the chip. So far I have the main Propeller processor in the middle, with its timing crystal off to the right. Up above we have two regulators and two filtering caps to provide 5V and 3.3V to the circuit. Just above the Propeller chip is a 32Kb EEPROM, which contains stored programs and is where the Propeller will boot from. Off to the left we have the reset switch, and on the top right of the board we have the USB converter, which allows the board to be hooked up to the PC for programming.

I followed along with the few examples provided, and got the correct drivers and software installed, and the Propeller identified to the programming tool. I even got a small program to blink an LED at me a few times. All-in-all, a great way to start the project, although there is a long way to go and so much potential to tap into.

As always, give me a shout so I know people are reading this.

Stay tuned for more. *Insert witty batman pun here*
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I'm going to read this journal for sure.

I was doing some embedded systems stuff before but I never got in to it because of the soldering, and the random nausious highs you get from soldering.

The microcontroller I had pales in comparision to yours though. I don't remember the speed on it but it costed $0.25 and it was made by Atmel iirc. I still have it somewhere, I may wip it out if I get the motiviation to go out and buy a breadboard instead of screwing with solder; maybe your journal will motivate me.

Keep us posted ;).

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