March 13, 2005

First Impressions of the Parallax USB Starter Kit.

Spent part of today working my way through the "What's a Microprocessor?" book that came with the Parallax USB Basic Stamp Kit. Along with MacBS2 program I wrote about earlier, it's a really cool kit to work with. So far, I've done LEDs, pushbuttons and servos; but I've got to get other stuff done, so I had to put it away. But so far, it's not been difficult to do it on a Mac at all.

So let me go over what I've had to do to get this started:

  • Buy the kit and a power supply. Don't forget the power supply; you can use 9v batteries, but I've had to unplug the power a ton of times already, so the power supply is a definite plus.
  • Got MacBS2, downloaded it.
  • As mentioned at the bottom of the MacBS2 page, download the USB drivers from FTDI.
  • Install the drivers, then install MacBS2
  • Add the BS2 chip to the board; the Parallax Board Of Education that comes with the kit doesn't have the BS2 chip on it already; you have to install it. (Of course, this means you can take it off and use another chip; other chips have more commands, more memory, and extra spaces for programs.)
  • Put together the first project, a simple one resistor, one LED circuit.
  • Set the power to "0" (it's a 3 way switch, "0" is off.)
  • Hook up the power and the USB
  • Turn on the power
  • Start MacBS2
  • Select the "serial port" so that it gives the USB port -- there should only be one
  • Program something, check syntax, and hit the run button
This is a pretty thorough list, but it took me a total of 15 minutes. I'm chip programming. On to building robotics... again!

Posted by Ted Stevko at March 13, 2005 11:19 PM