The Propeller is a microcontroller from Parallax, the same guys that make the Basic Stamp. It's available in a through-hole 40 pin DIP, is speedy (120MIPS), and goes for $8. 

It's especially useful for creating Hi-quality audio, multi-tasking and TV (video) output.  Here's tiny sample of Propeller Powered Projects to get you thinking; This instructable will show you the basics of programming the Propeller.  I'll show you how to do a basic 'blinky lights' type program and get you started with Video output.

You can learn more about the Propeller on Parallax's site.  Here's a video of the program we'll walk through and a basic breadboard setup;

Step 1: What You'll Need


  • A Propeller.  You can learn more and see an example circuit on Parallax's site
  • A Programming Stick.  Either a USB-to-Serial Converter, Prop Plug, or grab a Protoboard from Parallax that has built-in USB
  • A Computer.  PC, Mac, or Linux (Sorry Amiga!)
  • A Breadboard, resistor and LED for our sample program, and a power source (2x AA's will work).  I used a 3mm green led and 270 ohm resistor.

Software / Downloads

The Propeller can be programmed in many languages (C, Spin, PropBasic, Assembly, and others).  I think most people use Spin, and that's my favorite language, so that's what this tutorial will cover.
<p>Really nice! Thx!</p>
I am just starting on parallax wondering which way, and this got me starting. Thanks!
Thanks for this intro to Propeller! I'm thinking of using one in my next project, though the thought of learning the ins and outs of programming it are a bit daunting. But, maybe once I read the rest of your Propeller instructables I'll be convinced that I can do it. ;)

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