Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mint Tin Parallax Protoboard

I recently bought a Parallax Propeller Protoboard.  This seems like a nice little processor, 160 MIPS, 32bit, 32 IO pins all at $25.  The ability to have eight cores is also nice, it seems like it would make a good embedded CNC controller, particularly since it is now supported by GCC, so the ongoing GCode interpreter that I'm occasionally working on should be portable to this platform, but be able to offer extended capabilities like a pendent or DRO.  But it doesn't come with a case so I decided to build it into an Altoids tin, a la the Mintduino.

Nothing difficult, a few drilled holes and one filed opening for the USB cable.  I couldn't fit the cable into the tin with the Protoboard unfortunately, so an elastic keeps it together.  Inside I soldered on male headers just below the female headers.  I left out one pin, which allows an IDE cable to be used and provides a polarized connection for other projects.  I will probably design a small board breaking out the IDE connector to screw terminals sometime in the future to be able to easily interface with the Protoboard.

The IDE cable is cut down to just the first two connectors, allowing it to be rolled up into the Altoids tin when not in use.  The board itself is supported on a anti-static foam, which raises the board a bit but insulated from the board with a layer of thin cardboard, since the foam is slightly conductive and could short everything otherwise.

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