Basic Stamp 2 – Powerful and easy to use

Basic Stamp 2 – Powerful and easy to use

Posted on 30. Mar, 2009 by in Microcontroller Modules

The Parallax Basic Stamp series really started a revolution many years ago when the Basic Stamp was introduced. Since then, the Basic Stamp product range has been increased to include the BS2 and a number of other handy pre-built electronic modules that are designed to work with the Stamps.

The BS2 is a self-contained microcontroller design which places all of the required support circuitry on the pre-assembled board which is designed to fit into standard 24 pin DIP sockets like a large chip. The BS2 runs at 20MHz and offers 32 bytes of RAM and 8K words of program storage to hold your programs which can control the 16 general purpose I/O pins to do whatever you desire.

What makes the Basic Stamp 2 friendly for modular electronic hobbyists is the included Pbasic language. Pbasic is Parallax's version of the BASIC language which is specialized for use on a small embedded controller. It includes commands which make it easy to control 1-wire devices, I2C peripherals, LCD displays, and most other things you'd want to do with an embedded controller. All of this power does not incur a steep learning curve, though -- the BS2 only has 45 instructions which makes it easy enough for even the total beginner to get started with. And since the chip executes about 4,000 Pbasic commands per second, you'll find that it's powerful enough for most advanced uses as well.

The original BS2 in the DIP design was my very first exposure to microcontrollers and I must say that it made it possible for me to successfully build some projects and not feel like I was banging my head on the wall. Since then, I've gone to using AVR and PIC chips since they are much cheaper and I don't mind assembly language for most things, but the BS2 is always handy for doing rapid protoypes and quick hacks like adding an LCD debugger to a problematic circuit. Every electronics hobbyist should have a Stamp or two in their toolbox!

Some features of the BS2e include:

  • Processor Speed: 20 MHz
  • Program Execution Speed: ~4,000 PBASIC instructions/sec.
  • RAM Size: 32 Bytes (6 I/0, 26 Variable)
  • Scratch Pad RAM: 64 bytes
  • EEPROM (Program) Size: 8 x 2 KBytes; ~4,000 PBASIC instructions
  • Number of I/O Pins: 16 + 2 dedicated serial
  • Current Draw @ 5 vdc: 25mA Run, 200 μA Sleep
  • Source/Sink Current per I/O: 30 mA / 30 mA
  • Source/Sink Current per unit: 60 mA / 60 mA per 8 I/O pins
  • PBASIC Commands: 45
  • Package: 24-pin DIP
  • Industrial-Rated since Rev. E and later

Parallax has several slightly different models of Basic Stamp 2 for you to choose from, which cost from $50 up to $80 depending on functionality.

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