For those of us who were around back in the PBasic days, or who have worked with the Basic Stamp in non-FIRST related projects, I have a quick question…has anyone been able to find a drop in replacement for the stamp which offers similar functionality at a lower price? Basically, I’ve developed a small product using the Stamp, and now that we have a working prototype, we’re looking for any way to reduce costs. Specifically, I’m using the following features of the stamp:
Any recommendations? I’d even consider maybe splitting the load between two chips(for instance, a separate X-10 control module), if the final cost would be cheaper than the $49 that Digikey wants for each Stamp 2 module…
I’m not aware of any PBASIC or BASIC alternatives. However, when you get over 100 of them from Parallax the price drops to $39.20 if that helps any and if you want over 1000 then they get all the way down to $25.48 each.
I haven’t used it myself, but you could look into PICBASIC - it’s more or less a PBASIC compiler for Microchip PICs. The compiler is not free unfortunately, but once you have your application compiled then the per-unit cost would only be that of the PIC, which is substantially cheaper than a BASIC Stamp. Depending on your volume this might be an option.
I’m not sure if there’s a single PICBASIC or if there’s different implementations or what, but the user manual for this indicates that it supports the ‘freqout’ and X10 commands from PBASIC.
2 better choices than the basic stamp. Netmedia’s BasicX is a very well defined basic interpreter chip based on an Atmel microcontroler. I think it’s too expensive but, I believe it’s a drop in replacement.
My current and favorite basic chip is the Kronos robotics Dios chip. It’s based on the Pic18c452 which is similar to the FRC chip. The language goes beyond the stamps. There are many built in commands and functions that apply to robotics . Take a look at this site. There is allot there.
I’ve found the Dios language to be very productive for prototyping. It is not a drop in replacement for a stamp. You would have to come up with a carrier board. They also sell some Pic16 chips with a less powerful basic. They’re cheap for interpreter chips. X-10, serial I/O and frequency output are all supported by functions. Language is free.
If your familiar with parallax’s basic stamp you can try looking into their sx line of microprocessors. They can also be programmed in basic and can be found at http://www.parallax.com/sx/index.asp. At prices ranging from $2 to $7 the chips by themselves are relatively cheap. I don’t believe they are an exact replacement for the basic stamp but they should be easy to migrate to if your already familiar with parallax products.