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'[SX] SX52 End of Life: buy your inventory now, ple'
2005\10\31@144913 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

Dear SXers,

With dissapointment we announce the end-of-life for the kgracey@parallax.com.
If you choose to buy the rest of the SX52s, I suggest you do so immediately. More inventory of the SX52 through Parallax is very unlikely. After our stock is depleted the best bet would be to work through our distributors, such as Mouser, Digi-Key and Jameco. We aim to deliver only good news, but there's little wiggle room with this problem.


Sincerely,

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\10\31@152531 by James Newtonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, James Newton wrote:

Are the 48's in any danger?

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2005\10\31@153125 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

James,
No, the SX48s are not in danger. That's why I suggested them (or any other SX chip, should you desire) as an alternative. We have 75K units on the way each month and marketing/support activities to continue promoting them in the future. This should take care of your needs.

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\10\31@162259 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

What ballpark volume are you looking for a 14x14, 10k?

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2005\10\31@174513 by Buggn/a
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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Bugg wrote:

Darn, I was lust getting used to the idea of the SX52 proto boards!
RoboGeek
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2005\10\31@200108 by Jon Williamsn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Jon Williams wrote:

But how many have you actually purchased?....

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'[SX] SX52 End of Life: buy your inventory now, ple'
2005\11\01@003913 by George Herzogn/a
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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, George Herzog wrote:

I bought 8 SX-52 proto boards, but the truth is that the extra memory and two extra timers [which the SX-48 has] are really the pluses when compared to the SX-28.  I cannot really figure out why I need more that 16 I/0s.  Many times it is less than that.

What about eventually selling other Ubicom micros with appropriate software?  Afterall, they do have more.

75 thousand each month! hmmm. Don't worry, be happy.

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2005\11\01@032451 by williamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, william wrote:

Only last year some guys were saying the SX is not going away.
Then the SX18 died.

Now the SX52.

I should be getting scared....

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2005\11\01@051505 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

[Quoting: "Kramer"]
I cannot really figure out why I need more that 16 I/0s.
Parallel SRAM consumes huge amounts of pins if not multiplexed, sadly one of my projects will use every last I/O pin of the SX52, Ill have to do a redesign with an external latch if I want to make it a comercial product.

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2005\11\01@075310 by dog8spamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dog8spam wrote:

I noticed the SX52 proto board is on back order until 12/09.  Will there still be some available then?

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2005\11\01@080440 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

William,
If you are certain that the SX is going away, I strongly advise you to consider using other processors rather than make your life difficult by continually dealing with the unknown. Honestly, we don't appreciate the ongoing complaints, complaints, complaints. If you had an idea of what we've accomplished to secure the SX's future on your behalf you'd likely be embarrassed by your comments. Halloween is over - but if you're still scared about the SX then please seek out alternatives and utilize them. . . I've never written anything like this to a customer, ever.  
Paul, the SX28DP and all other SX chips (SX20, 20SS, SX48) are in packaging now. The SX20/28 are the same die, and they are small enough to fit into a much lower pin-count version.

The remaining stock of our SX52s are now sold.

Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\01@081253 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

Armored Cars:

We will have 500 SX52 Proto Boards in stock on December 9. After that, we'll have 500 more units coming and then we'll be out permanently (unless we make another 52-pin SX in a new package).

Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\01@081521 by dpatonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dpaton wrote:

Ken-
Ouch, that's no fun at all. Like Paul, I've got some stuff that I was planning on using with parallel SRAM. Looks like that's got to go by the wayside in favor of latches or the slower FRAM from Ramtron. Bummer. Looks like I'll have to survive on my 2 SX52 protoboards and a few loose chips until I can get the changes made for the 48s.

This isn't the first time I've dealt with things like this, and I'm sure it won't be the last. Thankfully it didn't happen a week before production was scheduled to start, like it did to a customer of mine last week. They were ableto secure 20 weeks of stock to manufcature with, but we now have 20 weeks to completely redesign, test, certify, and move into production it's replacement. I'll take my hobbyist designer/distributer issues over that any day of the week.

Silicon isn't solid like bedrock. That's a good thing for the advancement of technology I think, but it does put folks in a bind when things get EOL'd. It's the way of the world though. Unless someone steps up with an enormous order guaranteed in perpetuity, things will be always get discontinued. It's inevitable.

I do sincerely appreciate the things you guys have done to keep the majority of the SX line solvent. Unlike some, I've had (admittedly peripherial) involvement in moving a production chip from one manufacturer to another, and the task is herculean on the best of days. I can only imagine what it's been like combining that with a move from an integrator to a fabricator (despite being fabless, if I remember correctly).

I didn't shy away from Parallax when the EPROM programming business went away. I won't now. This is a small inconvenience in the grand scheme.

-dave
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2005\11\01@083205 by dog8spamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dog8spam wrote:

I agree with the 64 pin package, if possible.

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2005\11\01@105910 by James Newtonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, James Newton wrote:

Ken, If there is one thing I've figured out it my life, it is that people only get angry with themselves. Even if someone else does something bad, the difference between my reaction being calm and my getting angry about it, is how much it hurts me that I allowed the situation to get to that point.

The fact that you are angry about this leads me to guess (only a guess) that you feel guilty about not being able to keep the 52 in production. I don't think you have any reason to be. Parallax has done a fine job of making the sx chips available and based on the inventory fluctuations I see on your order page, I can feel sure your sales volumn is enough to keep the remaining chips around for a good long time.

Paring off the 18 and the 52 to focus on the core 28 and 48 chips is a good thing, not bad.

On another subject: The need for more IO is something that every developer faces at some point. That SRAM application has been a royal pain and a great example of this for a good long time. The thing is, most of the time, you don't need every single pin comming right into the uC. For the SRAM, the address lines are generally needed only to load a starting point, then you just want to be able to increment them.

Rather than try to bring the 52 back in some other package, may I suggest that you focus on offering a range of IO expansion chips for ALL the remaining SX versions? There are some nice counter / latch chips out there that would complement your existing line of shift registers, etc...

And I personally think more hobbyests should be using CPLD and other programmable logic devices when they have large IO needs or for ultra high speed applications. The big problem with these for the time being is that programming them has a massive learning curve. Why not offer pre-programmed chips with common logic needs? This SRAM addressing thing is one good example.  One chip, with different programs for each type of SRAM and different widths of data... One could even be made to support DRAM... Video generation is another area. Graphic LCD drivers (direct, replacing the LCD controllers). DSP audio and video effects. Image processing.

Or at the least, look in to offering something like the lower end Altera chips and start a forum to allow us to learn and support each other in thier use. A library of stock programs will develop over time (especially if you get John Williams interested :) ) and before you know it, you will be solving more problems for customers and providing more things for SX chips to control. There is some information (possibly out of date) at
http://www.sxlist.com/techref/logics.htm
The marketing of the SX as a CPLD killer has had the effect of ignoring the opportunities for cooperation in these areas. An SX28 with a CPLD is better than an SX52 in more cases than I care to count.

To the fearful: Every chip out there gets end-of-lifed at some point. Something else comes along to take its place and manager and PCB designers grumble, then do some work and get over it. Someday, Parallax may be offering the IP2K (which IS binary code compatible with the SX; if you check the data sheets and look at the opcode values, you will see this) in place of the 48/52. Life goes on.

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2005\11\01@111618 by Jon Williamsn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Jon Williams wrote:

Oi, Jahmes, I barely have time to do what I'm doing ... please don't volunteer me!

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2005\11\01@112310 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

James I agree that CPLDs as complex expansion chips are a great idea, I also agree they can cause a world of pain. The development boards, even for the lower powered chips are prohibitively expensive ($300 development board for a $10 chip, who laced your koolaid cause your freaking insane!). I tried to marry a atmel CPLD with the SX52 for a total of 132 I/O pins for the last SX contest. But didn't have the funds to spend on a professional CPLD programming suite, needless to say its still sitting on the PCB unprogrammed because the free program I tried to use is such a massive headache I almost chucked it against the wall (I literally made the motion to the night of the deadline but I didn't let go of it, I would have if it wasn't worth $100 of PCB and components). It may be an expensive paperweight, but it sure impresses the hell out of my friends who don't know anything about electronics, they just look at all the tiny parts and the PCB traces and say Oooo pretty :P.

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2005\11\01@120053 by SteveWn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, SteveW wrote:

Odd - I use CPLDs for hobby stuff & work, and I definitely don't recognise those costs at all. Granted, you won't get many (any?) useful devices in DIP format, but the Xilinx download cable contains about 50 centsworth of silicon, is documented on their website if you want to build your own. The software is free (as in beer),  capable up to some pretty huge devices, and robust. The CPLD eval board is $50, but making a board of your own is no big deal. Program the CPLD through jtag using your homebuilt widget, and you're away. They'll keep up with a Scenix, no problem, and all those lovely pins & logic make some things very simple.
There _is_ a learning curve. Rummaging through the piles of sample code will help. I don't know if there are user groups for Xilinx - mostly, I just get on with it. Learning VHDL is well worth the effort - it's just a programming language, and the free version of modelsim will tell you where you're going wrong...
I suspect that other siicon manufacturers have similar deals - if not, then vote with your feet...

Steve
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2005\11\01@121533 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Steve, it may have just been an issue with me choosing the wrong company's chip. I haven't used Xilinx, and Atmel has a decent set of docs, but the free program they offer was designed by another company that went out of business and they provide 0 tech support for the program, and only respond with "Buy our $199 software suite and we'll help you" if you bother to ask. I'll look into Xilinx's solutions.

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2005\11\01@122641 by SteveWn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, SteveW wrote:

Ah - I (or companies I've worked for) have forked over immense amounts of cash for ropey FPGA and CPLD software over the years. I feel your pain!
The Xilinx Webpack stuff is pretty darn good. I use it to knock out widgets for the lab, without excessive hassles. It's possible I've just been beaten into submission, but I don't think so. Note - I have _no_ idea how well any schematic tools work for CPLDs. The ease of debug, reusability, and possibility of a project still working when I dig it out 5 years later mean that VHDL, despite its verbose and sometimes insanely nitpicky nature, is the method of choice for me, for everything from a tiny led flasher to a million-gater.

Steve
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2005\11\01@123202 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Ok, the thread has gone offtopic so Ill stop talking about CPLDs.

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2005\11\01@123404 by SteveWn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, SteveW wrote:

Can we sandbox the wildly offtopic half of the thread, rather than erasing it?

Steve
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2005\11\01@123700 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Well beyond doing some investigation into Xilinx, I don't have any further questions or comments at this point. If I do Ill start up a thread in the sandbox, or you can. We caught ourselves early enough that I dont think the posts will be erased, I just feel if we continue they may get erased.

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2005\11\01@125506 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

CPLD gang:

Not only does this dotNetBB forum software not support mid-thread relocation to a new forum, most of our forum moderators let discussion take its due course. Very minimal moderation is our goal, though you will occasionally see threads modified with a more description subject.  
Therefore, you can continue your CPLD talk without concern about having it moved. The only problem with talking about CPLDs so much in this thread is that you are constantly reminding me of our failure to keep the SX52 in tact (and advertising this sad EOL story)! And that's not a problem either, because as James pointed out I'm only angry with myself and I've already calmed down after I turned William Chan into my outlet. Sorry, William.  
Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\01@131234 by James Newtonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, James Newton wrote:

The mark of a good manager is not letting emotions dictate business decisions. If it isn't going to pay its way, it has to go, no matter how much you love it. Anything else just prolongs the enevitable and destroys the other stuff that is paying its way in the process.

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2005\11\01@133745 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Ken, don't beat yourself up with the turn of events RE: SX52, in the grand scheme 4 pins is nothing and only represents a 10% decrease in total number of pins availible.

RE: CPLD discussion, it's best we start a new thread with further talk on the subject, while it isn't a issue at this point, ocassionally I will go back to an old thread to get some info, if it is hidden in another thread, it makes it almost impossible to locate. On a related but still offtopic point, hows the new search engine coming along?

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2005\11\01@133905 by Jon Williamsn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Jon Williams wrote:

Please do start another thread, guys, as I'm sure there are several forum members outside those of us who participate in the SX discussions that would be interested.  I certainly am.

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2005\11\01@162518 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

[Quoting: "Ken Gracey (Parallax)"]William,
If you are certain that the SX is going away, I strongly advise you to consider using other processors rather than make your life difficult by continually dealing with the unknown. Honestly, we don't appreciate the ongoing complaints, complaints, complaints. If you had an idea of what we've accomplished to secure the SX's future on your behalf you'd likely be embarrassed by your comments. Halloween is over - but if you're still scared about the SX then please seek out alternatives and utilize them. . . I've never written anything like this to a customer, ever.  
Paul, the SX28DP and all other SX chips (SX20, 20SS, SX48) are in packaging now. The SX20/28 are the same die, and they are small enough to fit into a much lower pin-count version.

The remaining stock of our SX52s are now sold.

Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.


William,
I think it was not an easy job for Ken publishing the problems concerning the SX52 packaging in the forum. On the other hand (and I hope I'm posting this on the behave of the majority of the SX user's community), I'm thankful that Ken did give us this information in time. It helps us to understand the reason for this problem, but also makes us feel comfortable that Parallax continues to support the SX devices at it's very best in the future. Although I never needed the full amount of the 40 SX52 I/O pins for any of my projects, I can understand that some users with applications that need these pins to address external parallel RAM are going to have some trouble now.

Besides this, I would like to know from you - William - how many SX-based applications you have developed until now, how many SX devices you have bought so far, and how many SX-based applications you could not finish due to the lack of availability of SX18 or SX52 devices. In case your answer is "close to zero", you better stop complaining about component pricing and availability in this forum. As Ken suggested, there are some other manufacturers of MCUs around in the market, offering a "myriard" of different devices with a "myriard" of different features. IMO, the time you will need to find out the device that meets your requirements best will take longer than the time for writing an appropriate application for the SX.

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2005\11\01@182707 by williamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, william wrote:

Dear Ken and Guenther,
I was not complaining, merely saying that I was worried which is just the truth.
I also did not complain about prices, I only asked why the SMTs  are more expensive that the DIPs, and whether there will be a price review when the new Parallax  chips arrive.

Besides the problem with 4 less pins, the SX48 is too small for us to handle with manual soldering.
Ken, can I request that Parallax also sell the solder paste as well.

Ok, for the list of SX projects our engineers have designed and commercialized, ok let me see,
1. Door Access Reader ( SX28)
2. Intelligent Serial LCD ( SX18)
3. USB LCD Interface (SX20SS and FTDI )
4. MiniCallShop System ( SX28 and SX18 )
5. IR Remote Controller (SX18)
6. Alarm System ( SX28 )
7. SX Keyphone ( SX52, in progress )
8. iCar Immobilizer ( SX18 )
9. Fixed Line SMS Box ( SX28 and SX18)
10.  LED Display Board Controller ( SX28 )
11.  Simple Home Automation System ( SX18 )
12.  TinyDialer ( SX18)
13.   DTMF Detector and Viewer ( SX28 )
14.   Coil Gun ( SX28 )
15.  ChatGate SMS Gateway System ( SX 28 )
Plus many more projects that got stuck at prototype stage.  
Guenther mentioned that Parallax informed us early, I am not complaining, but I wish to point out that Ken gave us about 5 days warning before the SX52 stock ran out.

Lets not allow emotions get the better of us.  I feel no anger or sadness at the moment.
Ken you mentioned about the SX20....,  is the SX20 DIP coming back?  :-)
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2005\11\02@053704 by gresethrn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, gresethr wrote:

Being in the semiconductor industry for +20 years and now as a foundry, package styles come and go.  Change happens, and packaging houses change their package types to support the major portion of the industry.  In this case, sounds like the die is alittle to big for the lead frame of the 52tqfp.  As for the soldering of them, I have successfully soldered hundreds by hand.

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2005\11\02@061133 by dog8spamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dog8spam wrote:

I looked at some data sheets but got nothing.  What makes the CPLDs weaker?  Also can they be programmed with the SX key and only the SX key?

Also to those worried about the cost of a custom PCB www.4pcb.com will sell you a single PCB for $50 shipped, 60 sq inches, solder mask, two layers and silkscreen if you are in college.  If you are not, simply find a reletive and have it shipped to his school where he can pick it up for you.  BTW: I havn't had to do that yet, but you could.  I still have about 6 yrs yet before then.
Also I can buy the PCBs myself and ship them to you, kind of cheating but we're all poor hobbyists anyway.

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2005\11\02@063626 by dkemppain/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dkemppai wrote:

[Quoting: "Guenther Daubach"]

William,
I think it was not an easy job for Ken publishing the problems concerning the SX52 packaging in the forum. On the other hand (and I hope I'm posting this on the behave of the majority of the SX user's community), I'm thankful that Ken did give us this information in time.

[2]
I don't agree that the warning was in time. Unfortunately, I've been designing with the SX52 believing that the SX52 will be around for a long time. At least, according to what parallax had been saying, the change to parallax production would be transparent. Having to drop, or being forced to drop the SX52 is not a transparent change.
[/2]
Quote this web page (still on the parallax site as of Nov 2, 2005): http://www.parallax.com/sx/sx_update.asp
"Parallax SX part numbers will stay the same, as shown below.


  • SX20AC/SS
  • SX28AC/SS
  • SX28AC/DP
  • SX48BD
  • SX52BD

"

[2]
I'm not upset about the SX52 going away per-se. But rather Parallax's handling of informing us of such a change.

Now, I have to go to some of my customers, who I assured the SX52 would be around, and inform them that they will have to pay to redesign products that have been designed and redo circuit boards and that have been bought and paid for.

If the production of the SX52 had not been guaranteed at the time of the Parallax announcement to take over production, why were we informed (or not informed) of the difficulties and possibility of the 52 package going away?
[/2]
-Dan
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2005\11\02@070957 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Armored Cars, the discussion about CPLDs has moved over to the sandbox, if you repost your question to that thread, I'll be happy to answer it for you.

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2005\11\02@094321 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

Dan,
I must admit that I used the wrong wording in my recent post. Instead of writing "in time", I should have written "as soon as it became aware to Parallax".

I'm not on the Parallax payroll, so I can not, and will not make any statements on the behalf of Parallax. Due to his post in the "Sandbox" we know that Ken recently visited China, and I assume one reason for this trip was finding a packaging house for the SXes (he also mentioned this in his initial post here). It must have hit him to learn that placing the SX48/52 die into a 10 by 10 mil PQFP package is that problematic.

So I'm pretty sure that Ken published this news as soon as he finally noticed that there was no acceptable solution available for this problem, so it - maybe - was not in time but as soon as possible.

I further assume that Ubicom "forgot" to make Parallax aware of this problem when they made the recent "die-deal" with Parallax. Besides this, Ken has made the offer to put the SX52 in a larger 14 by 14 mil package but I can understand that this would require reliable customer commitments to put Parallax into a position investing in such a venture. As an alternative, I'm thinking of an SX52 placed into a PLCC, or similar, package. This would allow to put the device into a socket which would be great for non-SMT designs, small series and hobby use.

Besides such "start-up" problems that might be hard to some of us SX users, I'm really happy that Parallax has taken over control. IMO, this makes sure that the SX will be viable for a long period of time in the future.

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2005\11\02@100548 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

[Quoting: "william chan"]Dear Ken and Guenther,
I was not complaining, merely saying that I was worried which is just the truth.
I also did not complain about prices, I only asked why the SMTs  are more expensive that the DIPs, and whether there will be a price review when the new Parallax  chips arrive.

Besides the problem with 4 less pins, the SX48 is too small for us to handle with manual soldering.
Ken, can I request that Parallax also sell the solder paste as well.

Ok, for the list of SX projects our engineers have designed and commercialized, ok let me see,
1. Door Access Reader ( SX28)
2. Intelligent Serial LCD ( SX18)
3. USB LCD Interface (SX20SS and FTDI )
4. MiniCallShop System ( SX28 and SX18 )
5. IR Remote Controller (SX18)
6. Alarm System ( SX28 )
7. SX Keyphone ( SX52, in progress )
8. iCar Immobilizer ( SX18 )
9. Fixed Line SMS Box ( SX28 and SX18)
10.  LED Display Board Controller ( SX28 )
11.  Simple Home Automation System ( SX18 )
12.  TinyDialer ( SX18)
13.   DTMF Detector and Viewer ( SX28 )
14.   Coil Gun ( SX28 )
15.  ChatGate SMS Gateway System ( SX 28 )
Plus many more projects that got stuck at prototype stage.  
Guenther mentioned that Parallax informed us early, I am not complaining, but I wish to point out that Ken gave us about 5 days warning before the SX52 stock ran out.

Lets not allow emotions get the better of us.  I feel no anger or sadness at the moment.
Ken you mentioned about the SX20....,  is the SX20 DIP coming back?  :-)


Dear William,
maybe, I was a bit too emotional when I wrote my last post. On the other hand, I think that Parallax is doing a great job supporting their customers, and there are also many forum members around; spending a remarkable part of their time helping others in the forum without asking getting paid for this. I think the "magic word" making people behave like this is "Motivation". I have extracted some of your former forum posts, and I leave it up to you to judge if these posts do really generate motivation:

When is Parallax planning to sell the IP3000 processors and development kits on its website? The SX cannot last forever you know.... Even Stamp I had to give way to Stamp II.

I think it's time to reduce prices for the SMT SX chips. Currently the SX18DP and SX28DP are the lowest priced chips, and it doesn't make sense that DIP chips should cost less than the SMT chips....

Why is the SXkey being sold cheaper at xgamestation.com than Parallax.com?

Parallax should price it the same to keep things simple. I can't just buy 1 SXKey from there, the freight would be too high....

When the new Parallax SX chips arrive, will there be a price review?

When was that? Which chip's price was reduced? I didn't see any announcement or changes in pricing....

You know I have been having "SX-Key not found on COM1" problems with my SX-Key rev. E for a long time with nobody being able to help. So, I finally decided to do something about it once and for all....

Only last year some guys were saying the SX is not going away. Then the SX18 died. Now the SX52. I should be getting scared....
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2005\11\02@114659 by Rsadeikan/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Rsadeika wrote:

William,
I think that you should reconsider your worries about the sx48 chip going away. I decided to do a little investigating just to clear up some facts for myself. If you were to go and see how many Basic Stamps contain the sx48, you would see that Parallax itself would be a different company if the sx48 were to disapear.

As for the sx52, all that you were gaining was the four extra i/o pins on the ra port. I guess if your design was built around that then I guess you would be in deep do-do. I may be missing something here, but the thing that I can't figure out is why a company would offer the chips that were four i/o pins in difference. I can't imagine an engineer sitting there looking at an sx52 and thinking that, if only this came in a 48 pin version. Maybe I am missing some secrets here.

If I have any disapointments, it would be, why SX/B is not becomming as robust as pbasic, and why it does not have ALL the features of pbasic, but I will stop there, I have been down this road before.

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2005\11\02@120647 by dkemppain/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dkemppai wrote:

[Quoting: "Guenther Daubach"]
Dan,
I must admit that I used the wrong wording in my recent post. Instead of writing "in time", I should have written "as soon as it became aware to Parallax".

I'm not on the Parallax payroll, so I can not, and will not make any statements on the behalf of Parallax. Due to his post in the "Sandbox" we know that Ken recently visited China, and I assume one reason for this trip was finding a packaging house for the SXes (he also mentioned this in his initial post here). It must have hit him to learn that placing the SX48/52 die into a 10 by 10 mil PQFP package is that problematic.

So I'm pretty sure that Ken published this news as soon as he finally noticed that there was no acceptable solution available for this problem, so it - maybe - was not in time but as soon as possible.

I further assume that Ubicom "forgot" to make Parallax aware of this problem when they made the recent "die-deal" with Parallax. Besides this, Ken has made the offer to put the SX52 in a larger 14 by 14 mil package but I can understand that this would require reliable customer commitments to put Parallax into a position investing in such a venture. As an alternative, I'm thinking of an SX52 placed into a PLCC, or similar, package. This would allow to put the device into a socket which would be great for non-SMT designs, small series and hobby use.

Besides such "start-up" problems that might be hard to some of us SX users, I'm really happy that Parallax has taken over control. IMO, this makes sure that the SX will be viable for a long period of time in the future.


[2]
Guenther,
My point is that Parallax announced several months ago that they would be making the SX-52 themselves (or actually contracting that out, as it really works). The fact of the matter is that they guaranteed parts would be available, when they didn't actually have the deal set in stone. They should NOT have made the announcement until they actually had a deal. It doesn't matter why it happened. What matters is that many of us were traveling down a path driven by a promise from Parallax that they couldn't keep. Letting us know then that the 52 may have been going away would have prevented a lot of rework.

This is a really poor situation that would have been avoided if parallax had been up front about the whole situation. I believe that the blame lies completely with Parallax on this one. Announcing the end of life of a part with only 4,050 units in stock is a really crummy way to do it.

This is going to cost me time, money, and customer relations. Thanks!

-Dan
[/2]
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2005\11\02@122503 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Expansion of the SX48 to a SX52, isn't difficult, simply use a transparent D type latch, use the existing porta as control for the latch (uses a single pin if you don't tristate the latch), and latch one of the other ports. In the end you gain 3 I/O, if you use a surface mount package, you consume little PCB space especially if you can use a BGA type, something which is offet by the smaller SX48. The software adds only a couple lines when acessing the external port. This suggestion is for an output port, similar and equally valid solutions exist for input ports. Yes this takes away the ability for the port to operate as both input and output, but only an extremely small percentage of applications require so many bi-directional pins (Id venture your more likely to be struck by lightning when in a mile deep mining shaft, than need a solution with 40 bi-directional pins). All in all the redesign is simple and straightforward, and if your in this industry your either green or nieve to think ocassion redesigns aren't nessesary.

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2005\11\02@125103 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

Dan,
You are absolutely correct - more notification would have been appropriate. That's the bottom line and I agree entirely and accept responsibility.

We had identified a packaging service for the SX52 in its present dimensions that we thought would serve our needs, but only recently we found that it would require extensive tooling and minimums we would not be able to meet ($$$). In fact, I'm certain there are other services to package the die in a 10x10mil format and we're not done seeking them out. Possible solutions would probably have a high unit cost and low fixed price.  
This could have been handled better, for certain. I'd like you to understand that we make perhaps 200 business, planning and technical decisions each year of similar magnitude. We've still got a good record of doing things right, but there's always going to be a chance of making a mistake and this time you were affected.

If you're interested in a 14x14mil SX52 and have a production project where it could be used, feel free to contact me off-line.

Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\02@135738 by beann/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, bean wrote:

Ken,
 Just remember, "You can't please everyone". Some people insist on looking at the glass as "half-empty".
 Dan, if it wasn't for Parallax the SX would be going away completely (not just the SX52 package).
Bean.

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2005\11\02@141045 by dkemppain/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dkemppai wrote:

[Quoting: "Ken Gracey (Parallax)"]
Dan,
You are absolutely correct - more notification would have been appropriate. That's the bottom line and I agree entirely and accept responsibility.

We had identified a packaging service for the SX52 in its present dimensions that we thought would serve our needs, but only recently we found that it would require extensive tooling and minimums we would not be able to meet ($$$). In fact, I'm certain there are other services to package the die in a 10x10mil format and we're not done seeking them out. Possible solutions would probably have a high unit cost and low fixed price.

This could have been handled better, for certain. I'd like you to understand that we make perhaps 200 business, planning and technical decisions each year of similar magnitude. We've still got a good record of doing things right, but there's always going to be a chance of making a mistake and this time you were affected.

If you're interested in a 14x14mil SX52 and have a production project where it could be used, feel free to contact me off-line.

Sincerely,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.


Ken,

I appreciate your honesty, and can understand your situation (I too, have to make similar decisions).

I can redesign a circuit, that's easy. What bothers me is Parallax didn't have all of the details ironed out before making the production announcement. To be honest with you, I almost switched from the SX when parallax announced that they would be taking over production of the SX (That really spooked me). I stuck with the SX because of the promise of avalibility of parts. The hard part now, is fighting that feeling in my gut, which is telling me this is just the tip of the iceburg. I sure hope I'm wrong!



Paul B,
I don't appreciate your the rude nature of your comment. Before you accuse me of being naive or green, make sure you've walked that proverbial mile in my shoes.

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2005\11\02@154150 by williamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, william wrote:

Dear Guenther,
I don't know why you start talking about "motivation" which was never the topic of our discussion.
You don't need to research and list all my comments on the forum.  I know what I said, and still stand by them.

If my comments on the forum sounds more like a chinese businessman than a hobbyist,
its because I am a chinese businessman.

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2005\11\02@154436 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Im just stating that obsolescence is to be expected in the industry, my favorite SRAM was discontinued last year, and there is no equivalent replacement. Its the breaks and you have to roll with them, blaming Ken and Parallax doesn't solve anything but make all parties miserable. I was trying to illustrate that the missing IO pins can be replaced with relatively little hassle, and Ken doesn't deserve our ire, he tried his best to make things work and chose not to unessesarily alarm us when the situation was still "if-y". The SX line has been in the process of transistion for a while now, his warning us earlier would have accomplished absolutely nothing other than having the stock run out even sooner, either way the stocks would have been depleted within a couple days, and you still would have complained. I don't need to walk in you shoes, everyone thats been around for a while has experienced problems with obsolescence, the worst is when a specialty chip hits the dustbins and there is no alternative except an expensive ASIC solution. The loss of the SX52 is far from this situation, all thats lost is 4 I/O pins, in the grand scheme of things its nothing to loose sleep over. Im sorry I have offended you, but I feel its a situation that must be taken in stride. Lamenting about it's loss is fine (see my first post to the thread), but blaming/b'tching isn't.

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2005\11\02@173430 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Paul;
I'm afraid that on this one I have to side with Dan. My company is in the middle of a huge design effort in which the SX series is used as well as bigger processors.
We have deployed the SX52 on about 8 circuit boards; not particularly that we needed the extra 4 pins, but rather that we standardized on the larger pin count, should we need them in future products.

While I'm certain that Parallax is fully committed to supporting the supply of SX48's, the rapidity of the disappearance of the SX52 was rather a shock. I believe it would have been appropriate to give some more warning. I agree with you that osolescense is a fact of life in our industry, but a one year, or even 6 month end of life warning would have been adequate. Even some suggestion that for "new designs use the SX48" is something that industrial folks require; for the hobbyists I see it as less of an issue; costs there are "softer".

Sure, we all can deal with the lost port bits (darn it), but now to transition to the SX48, I have some new cost that would have been avoided or minimized if I had known about this earlier.

I'm still loving the SX, and will continue to use it, and other than this episode, I DO appreciate the professional manner in which Parallax conducts themselves.

Let's just call this one a tactical error............. so keep up the good work Ken!

Cheers,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\02@213511 by steve_bn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, steve_b wrote:

I'm sure that you guys are aware that Ken/Parallax have enjoyed a personal rapport with us on this forum, and the yahoo groups, for quite a while.
They've given us tips on upcoming goodies that Parallax will be selling.....I think that's awesome!

IF it were Ubicom themselves or any other manufacturer, I dno't think you'd get a friendly call at home informing you that your favorite chip has been axed!  You'd just go to order it and see a big "DISCONTINUED" next to it in the inventory list.

Ken, I do appreciate the personal touch you guys add to the forums by 'leaking' information to us.
Sure, things don't work out sometimes; that's the risk when sourcing the parts you need from other suppliers (whom just want your business and will say whatever to get the deal/$$)....Sh!t happens!

I think everyone's muckin through the crud cuz you've given them an outlet and they know you will respond to their vents.

As much as I hate to say it, cuz I love hearing some of the intimate 'goings-on' with Parallax (up and coming products), maybe it's best not to tell us squat!  
Drop the bombs as you are prepared for them....good or bad....and half your complaints will stop (although ppl will complain they wished they'd known sooner that X product was coming out)....  haha
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2005\11\03@084703 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

Ive appologized to Dan in a PM, Im going through some really serious issues right now with no forseeable end in sight that I explained in great detail to him, but I don't want to express in a public venue. I do understand the hardship that Dan and many others will have to face because of the discontinuance of the SX52. If I offended anyone else, I appologize, I sometimes have a hard time not expressing frustrations Im facing from unrelated aspects of life, especially when the problems seem insurmountable at the moment. I also have a natural tendancy to defend the folks at Parallax, I believe they always try to do things with thier customers best interest in mind (a rare thing in the corporate world) and I empathize with them when they are critisized.

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2005\11\03@105131 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

[Quoting: "william chan"]Dear Guenther,
I don't know why you start talking about "motivation" which was never the topic of our discussion.
You don't need to research and list all my comments on the forum.  I know what I said, and still stand by them.

If my comments on the forum sounds more like a chinese businessman than a hobbyist,
its because I am a chinese businessman.


Dear William,
so far, I had no experience, how comments from a chinese businessman sound - I think I've learned it now :-) .

Let me try to make my comments from a "German engineer" concerning "Motivation" a bit more precise:

I think you agree with me that this forum is a source of a lot of valuable information. Provided meaningful questions for help are posted, it usually is a matter of only a couple of hours until at least a "first aid" is given by a forum member. As long as the answer comes from the Parallax staff, you might say: "As they are Parallax employees, it's their job to provide such support". This may be true for a couple of their staff members having a support job in the company, as you can find it in the support sections of other organizations. Other than that - in the Parallax forum, you can find support posts from staff members (even including the "Boss") who usually should dedicate their valuable time for other tasks than this. The only reason I can imagine why they do it anyway is that they feel commited to their company, the team, and the products they handle, and to the audience they meet in this forum.

Besides this, I think you may also agree with me that there are many other forum members - not on the Parallax payroll - who are regularly contributing valuable help and information to other forum members. Did you ever ask yourself why the hell, these people are cazy enough spending their valuable time answering (sometimes silly, or "un-Googled") questions, analyzing hundreds of program code lines, writing sample code, searching the internet for the benefit of others? My only explanation for this behavior is that these people feel being part of a community (maybe family) of think-alikes.

In my opinion, this all happens because people feel "motivated", which brings me back to the topic which was not part of our discussion before, but I felt free to address it. Motivation usually is generated when you get a positive feedback, like "thank you", "wow - your hint saved me the day", etc.

At least, this is what made and makes me feel "motivated", where - on the other hand - pinpricking comments (no matter if they are addressed to me directly, or to "my" community) make me really feel p...ed off or "un-motivated".

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2005\11\03@151511 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

SX52ers:

Since mismanagement of the SX52 has been the theme of the week and you appreciate close communication from Parallax even though we make tactical errors, I should let you know that this issue may not be closed yet. Two more solutions have surfaced this week and we've got them under some tight review. Even though many of you have already made alternative plans and informed your customers of EOL, we're going to continue to follow through on our latest options.

It's risky to share information unless I'm sure of the outcome, but we're hoping that by Monday we'll have a reliable direction to pursue.

Your roller coaster operator,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\03@171444 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Atta Boy Ken.

Cheers,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\03@211250 by dkemppain/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dkemppai wrote:

Ken Gracey (Parallax) said...
SX52ers:

Since mismanagement of the SX52 has been the theme of the week and you appreciate close communication from Parallax even though we make tactical errors, I should let you know that this issue may not be closed yet. Two more solutions have surfaced this week and we've got them under some tight review. Even though many of you have already made alternative plans and informed your customers of EOL, we're going to continue to follow through on our latest options.

It's risky to share information unless I'm sure of the outcome, but we're hoping that by Monday we'll have a reliable direction to pursue.

Your roller coaster operator,
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.  




Ken,
Please keep us posted. I have already started redesigns, so if there is an Sx52 coming back, knowing that early would really help! Again, I'm a little spooked about the SX series, but there is no doubt in my mind that you are trying your best to keep the product alive long term!.



Paul,
I have not yet read your PM, but will in a minute. There are no hard feelings here, as it was a frustrating day on both our sides of the keyboard. I was a bit frustrated with finding out about the parallax announcement, long after the rest of the stock was gone! (I'm used to about a year EOL warning, or an offer for lifetime buys, etc.)  FYI, the reason I use the SX52 is that I do very small quantity production, for both my day job and for my contract customers. I chose the SX52 because of package size. I hand solder everything that we build (for both quality and quantity reasons)  
-Dan
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2005\11\04@072749 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

I definitely understand the frustration born from not having enough advanced time to plan ahead, and you are correct that a year's notice is the norm. This is pure speculation since I do not have an insider's perspective, but I think it was an issue Ubicom hid from Parallax during negotioations for the SX line or at the very least they seriously downplayed the issue. If either of these were the case, then it was a situation Parallax was thrust into and had no feasible way of giving a large advanced warning, I don't even know if Ubicom and Parallax were negotiating the SX line a year ago.

With respect to the TQFP for the SX48, I too had trepidation about working with 0.5mm pitch parts, but was forced into doing so for a board because the CPLD used didn't have a surface mount package other than TQFP (an SX52 was also on the board). To my utter suprise I found hand soldering the TQFP CPLD easier and faster than soldering the PQFP SX, I don't know if its because I still have good eyesight, or a steady hand or good equipment, but the SX52 had 3 bridges that had to be removed while the CPLD solding in place correctly the first time. My personal belief is that the SX's pins being larger required more time over each pin to heat up for the joint to occur versus one quick fluid motion which was sufficient to heat the tiny pins of the CPLD. I don't know if your guys would have the same experience, but it was mine.

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2005\11\04@080105 by dpatonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, dpaton wrote:

Ken-
I can't say enough how good you guys are to your customers. I had a very similar EOL experience with an analog chip houses in TX last month and got a very polite but very final "too bad, you're SOL" from them when I inquired about alternaitves on behalf of our ~77k/year customer.

Thank you again.

-dave
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2005\11\05@055253 by Tinkern/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Tinker wrote:

I'm just a newbie but I have been lurking around the forums for a almost a year here and there and this is my 2 cents after just completing the beta test on a drag bike control and 31 IO PLC board with SX's. The final success of both of these was a direct result of parallax planning, support and the forum members here. The last major bug was solved in these forums by a lesson in current based inputs rather than voltage, given very thoroughly by parallax employees and forums members who have nothing to gain from it other than helping someone out. None of this may sound all that surprising to most of you probably a fairly normal occurance around here even. Now for the reality of the actual chain of events, about  a year ago I ran across the basic stamp series and parallax searching the net trying to learn something about analog signal conditioning peak and hold circuits and found the stamp line of products. First couple of projects were stamped based, (when I got the nerve to try it) a 12 IO controller thats still running in an industrial envirionment in a chassis plant. Very simple thing, a few buttons and some fets for output. A fairly primitive sequencer to shave a few hundreths of a second off of a 1/4 pass on a drag bike and make things a little more reliable for the rider. Both of these projects worked out very well. A couple of months ago I started looking at the SX line of chips because of the price (read hobbyist here) and the speed, this thing is downright wicked for the cost and availability. Moving into the SX chip took me a while, roughly a month to touch one after the kit and first units were purchased and the initial project was a drag bike control, this time to sequence the air shifter and pulse a nitrous oxide system to make it a smoother and earlier application of power. At the time a 16 IO general use control board was in discussion at work for another project there. Now before someone gets off on a bent about automating a race bike, its not, its simply what allows these systems to work, and work better, to give the rider and mechanic more control of whats happening. It works wonderfully, with a very high level of confidince in safety. After that was working in bench testing the 16 IO controller needed to be a 26 minimum, so that too was migrated to an SX, SX48 that is its not mentioned in the ealier posts as it being done at work the project overall isnt mine to give out. That too is working wonderfuly and has passed all tests except the life over time testing. Now all of this may sound simple and minor to most of you, it should because its merely background for my next couple of statements. First, I have no formal training in electronics, and by no I mean none, no high school classes, no college, no night school, nothing, that started with those little Radio Shack Experimenters notebooks back in the day with 555's op amps and 2n2222's. Second, I have no formal training in programming, you can go down the same list that started with Quick Basic and never really progressed beyond it till now, with PBasic and Guenthers book for a guide I'm actually starting to make a little sense out of SX assembler.

All that being said now ask yourself one question........

What level of detail, support, and documentation would it require to give someone with that list of skills the tools to accomplish what may to some of you seem microscopic but to me, and many others on the hobbyist level tremendous abilities, at least tremendous for our level of knowledge and skill?


Pretty staggering question isnt it, I spent a lot of time studying and I'm a fast learner (sometimes) admitted, but to supply the support and tools in basicaly one place for that kind of education.... Parallax and the users of these forums have given me something tremendous and that is knowledge that I wouldnt have gained anywhere else. I've looked....  Next time someone makes an announcement that is dissapointing I would ask that you try to take a moment to think about the past, and what has went before. Society as a whole has taken the attitude of "What have you done for me lately?" This forum and all of you have seemed the exception to this rule, and thats one of the big reasons I came to rest here. Not for quick and easy answers, as both of my most recent projects came to fruition before the first question was asked. I didnt have understanding of the problems cause, or why what I did fixed it, but it was working. The forums and parallax directly supplied me with understanding and better tools to fight it with. Its easy to take things for granted and we all do it, were human. Its harder to take the step back and say "Hmmm, lets think about this for a minute, its frustrating but maybe theyre just as frustrated as I am"
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2005\11\05@165844 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

Chris,
the projects you have mastered so far with the SX are - in my opinion - by no means "microscopic". When I started my first SX-based project about six years ago, I had some knowledge about programming PICs, and a wider background in programming various microprocessors in Assembly, and in developing PC applications in different languages. This first SX project was a huge one, covering several different input panels with pushbuttons, LEDs, potentiometers, differential encoders, etc., all of them "talking" via an I²C bus. Once again, I found out that the best way of learning a new environment or technology is to bite through a non-trivial project. At that time, I had nothing else but the SX datasheets, and some SX code samples available for information and reference. So I went through a longer phase of learning by try and error. Fortunately, I had the SX-Key and one of the early versions of the SX-Key IDE.

I often compare my process of learning how to program microcontrollers with the way how I learned to program in Pascal. The first Pascal compiler I owned was UCSD Pascal for the Tandy TRS-80. It required four floppy drives to run this beast without swapping floppies all the time. Nevertheless, it sometimes took minutes to compile a program, just to get another mysterious error message. This was so annoying that I gave up learning Pascal at that time. Later, Borland published Turbo Pascal for the PC, and this worked like charm. The edit-compile-fix-bugs-re-compile-test-run cycle was so fast that it was a lot of fun using this programming environment. To learn Turbo Pascal in more detail, I again started with a non-trivial project - a spell-checker for WordStar text files, including techniques, like text line parsing, maintaining hash file structures, and other "goodies". When I touched base with microcontrollers, I started with PICs. These first types did not have a flash program memory, but UV erasable memory instead. Developing applications for such devices seemed to me pretty similar to my first steps using USCD Pascal. The SX, together with the SX-Key environment brought back to me the "Turbo Pascal feeling" with its fast edit-assemble-fix-errors-debug cycles. This is why I like the SX environment that much.

Another important reason why I like the SX is that it is now handled and supported by the right people at Parallax and because I can share ideas with many others here in the forum. Would have been great if I had these ressources on hand when I took my first steps in programming the SX.

Concerning your PLC-alike projects, you might consider using external components to expand the output capability of the SX instead of using devices with more I/O pins. In some of my projects, I use the TPIC6A565 Power Logic 8-bit Shift Register from TI. This is an 8-bit cascadable shift register with power outputs, each of them capable of switching up to 50V at 350mA with short-circuit protection, built-in output voltage clamps for inductive loads, and over-heat protection. It requires a minimum of 3 SX output pins to control this device (maybe one more to control the /G global enable line). As these devices can be cascaded, almost any required number of power outputs can be realized.

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2005\11\05@184729 by Tinkern/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Tinker wrote:

Guenther,
  I meant nothing sarcastic when I spoke about my projects being minor accomplishments to some, surfing through the forums and seeing the complexity and precision of a lot of the SX applications "I" was reffering to what I've done with it so far as minor. The whole point of the post was to try and point out what an exceptional environment this is (forums, support, parallax etc).  To put understanding of something as complex as a microcontroler or robot within reach of someone with as little formal education as myself is quite an acomplishment as well as requiring extremely well thought out documentation and excellent support. As far as the IO boards, theyre strictly meant for use in less complex projects that do not require an operator panel so 32 io and a couple of AD's are as far as I really plan on developing them. At this point I have to firm up the two IO boards that are working, and totaly finish and document the bike project. That one still has a couple of timing quirks that I need to sort out in the code and clean it up considerably. Everything I've done so far leans heavily on the brute speed of the SX, its time to start learning some cleaner code :)

update on the bike project, it seems to be working well
8.82 seconds @ 161.87 mph as of today its making consistant 8.80 and 8.90 passes on a stock engine. I'll post the full update on the tail of the thread regarding it.

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2005\11\06@062046 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

Chris,
I absolutely agree with you about the exceptional environment. Also congratulations to your bike project - I already read your latest post to that thread.

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2005\11\27@055215 by coco34n/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, coco34 wrote:

hello my english is very bad i prefer give my opinion with two messages one in french community and a message in english.

hello doesn't I do not include/understand why ubicom have to increase the Sx series? why remain with 4K of flash?
it is possible to make a new chip with 60 K of flash with the same instructions, it would simply be enough to re-examine the pagination of the RAM...
freescale has a series 68hc06 very diverse...
a manufacturer who is not able to call itself in question is a bad manufacturer, why the µC IPxxxx no succés? because the development tools are too expensive!!!!
have look at yourself the ARM of Philips? lpcxxx 10$ and complete development tools for nothing
then stop to tell us "conneries" simply UBICOM has programmed the end of the SX...
PS :  it is useless to make SXkey with the compiler codes C because the flash is too small the french text message :

bonjour je ne comprends pas pourquoi ubicom n'a pas augmenter la série Sx ?

pourquoi restez à 4K de flash ?

il est possible de faire un nouveau chip avec 60 k de flash avec les mêmes instructions, il suffirait simplement de revoir la pagination de la ram...

freescale a une série 68hc06 très diverses...

un fabricant qui n'est pas capable de se remettre en question est un mauvais fabricant pourquoi les µC IPxxxx n'ont aucun succés ? parce que les outils de developpement sont trop cher !!!!
avez vous regardez les arm de philips ? lpcxx 10 $ le chip et les outils complets de developpement pour rien...
alors arretez de nous raconter des conneries simplement UBICOM a déja programmé la fin des SX...

PS il est inutile de faire un SXkey avec le compilateur code C car la flash est trop petite
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2005\11\27@100917 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Coco;
For those of us who love the simplicity of getting a small project up and running, somtimes in as little as a few MINUTES with the SX, we are happy to contine with it. We all realize it will not be optimum for all applications, especially larger ones, or for folks who want something different. But for many of us, we are tickled that Parallax has taken over the furtherance of the processor and is now adding C support. I for one am keen to see that product supported with the Parallax satisfaction guarantee.

All things eventually change, and Ubicom has chosen to manufacture a much higher IPXXXX series of processors with phenomenal performance and good flash sizes. Unfortunately the start-up costs for the tools are excessive for the hobbyist as their target is high-end commercial applications.

Eventhough you don't like it, please remember their purpose in business life is to maximize the return to their shareholders - period. If their business decisions are not in line with your thinking, then move on to some other processor that suits your needs. There is no need to call them a "bad manufacturer"; I think they have done a phenomenal job, and Parallax is providing an exemplary complementary service........what similar level of free and responsive support can you get elsewhere?

Cheers from Maui, Hawaii,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\29@051601 by coco34n/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, coco34 wrote:

hi pjv no no non !!!!
man you are in a smal think ?

scenix is a good manufacturer ubicom is finantial lattice has made the ISP but lattice is not a number one of CPLD and FPGA lattice is a very bad manufacturer why ? because lattice is a police and the isplever is a not free whan you have a licence after reinstall you licence doesn't goog and you take a "contrat".

pjv you said that the SX48 is a good µC with a small flash ? are you serious ?

in 2006 a µC must have a big flash and 4ko is good for end of life !

ubicom need a email and a patriot act and number of shoes and so the number of telephone that your wife and after ?

a good manufacturer is good with :

no questions and no big price of chip and no big price of developpement kit !

sorry you works for ubicom or parallax ?

a man who said that the memory flash is enough in the SX family is strange very strange !

how many chip is sale for the IPxxxx ?

very small number !

for me SX is finish and i think another manufacturer of 8 bits !

good day and best regards !

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2005\11\29@053739 by beann/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, bean wrote:

I'll say to you the same thing I say to my wife, "Size is not everything" ;)
Maybe YOU cannot do anything useful with 4K words of flash, but alot of people can.

Bean.

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2005\11\29@062537 by Jon Williamsn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Jon Williams wrote:

Coco,
So far you've made two posts: both trash-talking the SX.  If you don't like the SX, that's fine, but please stop wasting forum bandwidth with your opinions in that regard -- the idea here is that we do like to use the SX and in this forum we exchange ideas to get the most from what we think is a nice little micro (of course it's not perfect for everthing, nobody said it was).

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2005\11\29@071709 by g_daubachn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, g_daubach wrote:

Hey,
maybe this is a bit off topic here, but it just hit me...

Why don't we compile a list of applications/projects done with SXes? This would help "newbies" to understand what can be done with SXes and it also could help to avoid "re-inventing the wheel". This list should only come with a project title, describing the kind of project as good as possible, the SX type used, the developer's name, or forum ID, and possibly a link to another site where the project is described in more detail. Such a list might look like this:

SX-Video Module, SX28, Bean (Hitt Consulting), www.sxvm.com
RS-232/I²C Adapter, SX28, Guenther Daubach, http://www.g-daubach.com/docs/adapter_doc_english.pdf
SX48 Proto Board, SX48, Parallax, http://www.parallax.com/detail.asp?product_id=45300
XGameStation Video Game Development Tool, SX52, http://www.nurve.net/, http://www.parallax.com/sx/projects/projects_xgamestation.asp
SX Multi Board, SX28, Guenther Daubach, http://www.parallax.com/sx/projects/projects_sxmultiboard.asp
etc...

If such list is of general interest, I'd volunteer to manage it. In order to make it as complete as possible, I'd need feedback from all forum members who have created SX application, no matter if these are fun projects, or commercial applications. I'm pretty sure that such list will grow quite fast.

Any other ideas on that?

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2005\11\29@072753 by Jon Williamsn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Jon Williams wrote:

Here's a list of recent Parallax products that use the SX that I wrote the code for (or assisted) in SX/B:

Serial InkJet Printer module
Parallax EFX RC-4 module
Parallax EFX DC-16 module
Parallax EFX AP-8 (code by John Barrowman)
These are commercial products and we'll happily share the source code with anyone who thinks they can benefit from it.  For my Nuts & Volts column I have built several BASIC Stamp accessory modules, the latest being a Serial-to-PlayStation Controller interface that I posted here in these forums.

The SX may be a "small" chip, but "big minds" like Guenter, Bean, PJV, PJMonty and others have show that it is quite capable.  I'magine how expensive some of our favorite products would be if a "small mind" decided that a micro like the SX was not appropriate....

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2005\11\29@080557 by SPENCEn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, SPENCE wrote:

GUNTHER
GOOD SUGGESTION. HOW ABOUT PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE "SX"? BEING FINISHED PROJECTS, PERSENT PROJECTS AND WANTED OR IN THE WORKS PROJECTS.

JON. MAYBE GUNTEHERS VIEWING GLASS NEEDS TO BE A NEW TOPIC.

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2005\11\29@081535 by beann/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, bean wrote:

Günther,
 Parallax has SX projects here: http://www.parallax.com/sx/projects/projects.asp
 or are you looking for something less formal ? Maybe something like the old LOSA ?

Bean.

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2005\11\29@111013 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Coco;
A few points in response to your incoherent email please!

Just because a processor is not large in memory or rich in features does not imply it is not useful; I used SXes every day for commercial products, and I have learned do things with that chip that can not be done with ANY other processor. For example, let's see you write a pre-emptive real time operating system in 99 bytes!

According to popular reports, small micros (4 and 8 bit) still out-ship large micros by a large margin; so obviously there is a market for these little critters.

As far as end of life is concerned, the SX family is NOT end-of-lifed, simply one package format is being dropped.

Some applications cannot be well done with an SX; it was never expected that it would, or should fit all requirements; it is after all a MICROprocessor.

I don't work for Ubicom or Parallax, but I have a very high respect for both of these organizations.

The IPXXXX is a very powerful and extremely fast micro geared to high speed communications, and they are not targeting small users hence they have chosen a high entry cost to the development system so they can focus their expertise on a business model that supports serious large volume buyers. To the best of my understanding, they shipping many hundreds of thousands per month.

And last, if the SX is not for you, and it could well be that you don't have the skills to make that unique little device perform well, then please move on to something that you do like, and leave the rest of us to enjoy the wonders of low-level programming in a small environment.

My personal hope is that we have heard that last from you.

Bon-jour!

Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\29@112125 by SteveWn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, SteveW wrote:

> For example, let's see you write a pre-emptive real time operating system in 99 bytes!

Inmos' Transputer had a rather fine preemptive kernel and interprocess communication in the hardware (although scheduling tasks did take a small amount of code) (Sorry, it's just my favourite architecture of all time - I miss it. It was also, for the time, blazingly fast and had interrupt latencies of a couple of hundred nS, sort of SX-like...)
I also use SX devices for many products, and they do what the do exceedingly well. For me, they fill a vital gap between micros and FPGAs (but get used where lesser micros would also be appropriate, simply because of the tools, support and experience)
SX/B lets me (and my minion) knock out prototypes / test gear in no time - where other companies are dedicating a whole PC to a task, we've got $10 of silicon, taking almost no space, power or budget. Customers like that sort of thing!

However, I suspect coco is just an ineperienced troll...


Steve
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2005\11\29@112729 by naten/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, nate wrote:

I know we want to let this thread quietly die, but can someone tell me what he meant by;
"ubicom need a email and a patriot act and number of shoes and so the number of telephone that your wife and after ?"
I cannot stop laughing.

Nate



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2005\11\29@122752 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Nate;
An opportunity for me to bring up one of my favourite "idiot" lines.........."consider the source, and ignore it"
Cheers for Mauii, Hawaii,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\30@075251 by coco34n/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, coco34 wrote:

hello every body !

in first : you are not understand my opinion of SX in second : when i said that the sx is a small flash memory, this is a idea !

and you are a bad opinion for me because i am french and the american doesn't like french community !

in france when i said "can you do the job ", the man must do the job !

in usa when i said can you do the job , the man said "yes i do" ! and ist finish !


i said that the SX is not a 'live chip' because if the chip is in life the manufacturer do a new processor for increase the choice ok?

why ubicon doesn't make a processeur with USB an I/O controls ? why the SX is solidified critical is always constructive
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2005\11\30@081434 by Coriolisn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Coriolis wrote:

I agree that it is not proper to make fun of your ability to write english.

As already discussed, Ubicom bought Scenix (the original makers of the SX), and proceeded to use the technology to develop the next generation (IP series), but with that step they walked away from the hobby community. The SX has been a "dead chip" for many years now,  but that doesn't mean it has lost it's usefulness. It still runs faster than almost all of the current versions of the PIC, Mega and other comperable microcontrollers. Periodically someone complains that the SX doesn't have ___ (insert ADC, serial com, etc), but if you read the papers on the SX you'll know it was never the intention to incorporate such features, even when the chip was still "live". The entire premise of the chip was to do away with all of the "sometimes used" hardware and replace it with speed and deterministic execution. With both of those features, you can create software equivalents to the hardware they didn't include, read the documents on Virtual Peripherals for an in depth explanation.

Sure the SX has it's drawbacks, but so does every oher microcontroller on the market. If you weight all things ,the SX comes out as the best general purpose 8 bit microcontroller on the market, which is pretty amazing considering how old of a design it is. But because something is old, does not mean it lacks utility, the most used design for a mousetrap was patented in 1921 and here we are 84 years later still buying them by the millions each year, even through cleaner and more humane traps exist.

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2005\11\30@081903 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

Coco34:

There is a more recent posting regarding SX52 availability which has been made a sticky note:

http://forum.parallax.com/forums/default.aspx?f=7&m=95246
The SX design is static because Ubicom made a strategic decision to change their business model to pursue communication processors about four years ago. This started with SX applications involving TCP/IP and communications, which aimed the company in the direction of their 32-bit processors and internet communications business focus. As a result, Ubicom successfully created a new product line focused on fewer customers with larger purchasing power. These changes were coupled with a change in staff and leadership, change in business plan and financiing. This proved to be a productive niche for their company. The SX doesn't fit their business, so it is handled exclusively by Parallax.

What remains consistent through the years is: the SX architecture and silicon; Parallax's involvement with the SX as a tool provider; Parallax's customer support of the design; and most recently our agreement to make Parallax the only distribution point of the SX. Customers can use the design with confidence in the supply and support (except the SX52, of course). Our company has kept our customer's interests (and ours, which are the same) in regards to the SX.

You need to ask Ubicom why they don't add USB to their IP processors, not Parallax. This isn't a common request among the 8-bit users we support, especially after they read the USB specification and try to make sense of how it would be implemented. Even Chip threw the USB spec in the air and reached for an FTDI or SiLabs USB bridge after a few days of considering a hardware/software solution for a Parallax product.

Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\11\30@084946 by Up2Longn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Up2Long wrote:

Coco,
You are mistaken!  Americans do not have a problem with the French people.  Please do not think this because it is not true.

I personally didn't reply to your to your post because I have nothing to offer or say on the matter.  However, I have noticed that others have taken the time to respond to you.  Please give them the benefit of the doubt of being nice to you.



Tom (aka: up2long)
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2005\11\30@093524 by hmsmithn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, hmsmith wrote:

Coco,
When I fix my car, I have a tool box with wrenches, screwdrivers, hammer and others.

To remove a nut, I use a wrench. If I try to use a hammer, the nut does not come off and then it is broken.

The SX uC is a tool. If you have the rigyt kind of problem and you know how to use this tool it can work very well. It will not work well for many jobs.

It will not work well to replace a PC, it will not work well with USB. There are many other uC that will do these thigs much better.

Microchip (another manufacturer) makes a family of uC called PIC. More PIC uCs are sold every year than any other uC family.  Some PIC have less than 1K ROM, some have 128K ROM. Some have only 8 pins, some 80 pins. Different part are suitable for differnt tasks.

Senix/Ubicom designed the SX to be very much like the PIC (so much so that Microchip sued them - and lost). The difference was that the PIC executes 1,000,000 instructions per second and the SX at least 50,000,000.

Most PIC uCs like almost all uCs have hardware peripherals built in: timers, UARTs, A/D and D/A etc. The SX has only simple timers and nothing else. Instead of using hardware, clever programmers can use the high speed of the SX to make peripherals in software.

If you have a project that needs standard peripheral devices and does not need exceptional spped, I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND LOOKING AT A DIFFERENT uC.

If you need high performance, low cost, and customized peripherals, AND you are very clever programmer who can solve your own problems with minimal support, try the SX. It can be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Regards, Hugh
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2005\11\30@094101 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Ken;
Actually the IP3K does have USB serial protocol hardware support (can't remember on the IP2K), and I believe there is a software stack for it, but offhand I'm not positive on that part. An external physical interface is still required.

Cheers from Maui, Hawaii,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\30@100833 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi Coco;
Firstly, I don't have a bad opinion of you because you are French.........it is because of the way you are critical of the very people ("bad manufacturer") who make and also provide and free support these chips.

As is their prerogative, the original designers of the SX product have gone on to bigger processors and other business models, and so the SX is now in the domain of Parallax. The cost of making a new 8 bit chip, or for that matter modifications to an existing one, is in the range of two to five million dollars, depending on complexity. That is a huge investment for anyone to make when there may be not sufficient call for the new features requested to justtify that level of development; after all, everyone also "wants it for cheap". If YOU have the money, then please proceed to make that investment, and if you dont, then please stop being critical of those who chose not to.

As you say, there are lots of other chips with bigger and different features on the market, ARM, Philips, Freescale etc......go and use them.

As for me,  I love my SX.

Yes, criticism can be very useful if it is constructive; the destructive criticism you have been offering only creates bad feelings and contibutes nothing useful.

Bon-jour!

Peter (pjv)
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2005\11\30@155036 by James Newtonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, James Newton wrote:

[Quoting: "Guenther Daubach"]
Why don't we compile a list of applications/projects done with SXes?

If such list is of general interest, I'd volunteer to manage it. In order to make it as complete as possible, I'd need feedback from all forum members who have created SX application, no matter if these are fun projects, or commercial applications. I'm pretty sure that such list will grow quite fast.



Great idea! I set up a page at:

http://www.sxlist.com/projects

And you can log in to the site, take ownership and edit the page as much as you like. Anyone can use the form at the bottom to add a link to thier completed project.

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'[SX] SX52 End of Life: buy your inventory now, ple'
2005\12\01@064854 by kb2hapn/a
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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kb2hap wrote:

You are right on top of it, James!!!

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2005\12\01@111528 by James Newtonn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, James Newton wrote:

The list of projects at http://www.sxlist.com/projects is, as Guenther expected, impressive. I've managed to add a few from my archives at sxlist.com and by doing googles for "device SX" and like that
What is missing is any of the many projects that Jon Williams has completed in SX/B or other. Do you have a list Jon?

Guenther, again, you can log in to the site, take ownership of that page and edit it as you see fit.

Anyone can add a link to a project if you know of one that has been missed. Just use the form at the bottom of the page. If you have a project that you have not published, you can register, log in, and add pages to the site as you like. email me any pictures and I will put them up for you.


Ken, Back on the subject of the SX52 end of life: I keep hearing people say things like "oh, the SX's are dyeing" and that sort of rot. I know sales figures are not something companies like to share, but can you provide some statistics that don't give up to much? e.g. I would love to hear that "sales of SX chips have increased ###% in the last 6 months"
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2005\12\01@112720 by Peter Van der Zeen/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, Peter Van der Zee wrote:

Hi James;
In a way Parallax already does this; you should be able to get a sense of activity by looking at the Parallax on-hand inventory and on-order/back-order figures.

Cheers from Maui, Hawaii,
Peter (pjv)
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2005\12\01@113242 by kgraceyn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, kgracey wrote:

James,
Our SX sales have tripled in the last month since the other distribution channels are officially being closed. Our last order of Ubicom SX chips has nearly been consumed as most units are already booked for sale. The Parallax-labelled parts arrive in two weeks and we're already booking that inventory. If you were standing around in our Sales area yesterday you'd have heard them comparing quotes and orders on SX chips. Their enthusiasm for the SX is totally contrary to the naysayers. If you told them it's a "dead chip" they'd say "huh?". Maybe those people should accompany us on a trip our packaging house in Taiwan next month. I wonderif our commitment and supply of RoHS-compliant SX chips would change their minds? Misinformation can only be helped by having correct data. This is the case in an office, a relationship, and in programming.

I'm not going to fight the "dead and dying" rumors anymore - the statement I made above is the last you'll hear from me on the future of the SX. Our commitment will be shown through support, substantial supply and quality service to SX customers.  
Ken Gracey
Parallax, Inc.

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2005\12\04@183517 by williamn/a

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In SX Microcontrollers, SX/B Compiler and SX-Key Tool, william wrote:

Dear Ken,
Our company wants to become the new Parallax SX Distributor for Malaysia.
The current dealer doesn't keep any stocks.
As you may have noticed we have a lot of ongoing projects using the SX.

What are the terms and conditions to become a Parallax SX distributor?

Thanks.

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