Picture of Programming the Propeller Microcontroller
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

Picture of 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.
leonard.pauli9 months ago

Really nice! Thx!

Afridi4 years ago
I am just starting on parallax wondering which way, and this got me starting. Thanks!
jeff-o4 years ago
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. ;)