Propeller 1 Open Source

Parallax Propeller 1 P8X32A Released as Open Source Design

The Propeller 1 (P8X32A) is now a 100% open multicore microcontroller, including all of the hardware and tools:

  • Verilog code
  • Spin interpreter
  • PropellerIDE and SimpleIDE programming tools
  • Compilers

The Propeller 1 may be the most open chip in its class.

We have decided to provide these free open source files for the following reasons:

  • To inspire others to learn and create — that has always been the key mission of Parallax. Every inventor, engineer, or hobbyist can identify the inspirations that shaped their careers. We hope to inspire others the same way we’ve been inspired.
  • To equip and support higher education. Parallax university customers have expressed interest in using our core in their FPGA programming courses. Parallax distributors and universities have asked about modifying the Verilog to add more pins or to simply study the design.
  • To open up the Propeller design to community contributors. Our compilers, programming tools, languages, and some of the Propeller 2 design features were created by the community. Supporting and honoring their efforts is a top priority for Parallax.

Above all, we hope that our free software will give you the freedom to innovate with Parallax!

– Ken Gracey, CEO, Parallax Inc.

What FPGA Boards are Needed and What’s Included in the Propeller 1 Design Files?

The Propeller 1 file set consists of the Verilog files and top-level HDL that lets you run the design on the following FPGA board options:

  • Terasic Cyclone IV DE0-Nano Evaluation Board – To fit within the low-cost DE0-Nano, we prepared a version without the bitmap character generator for the Parallax custom font (from $8000 to $BFFF).
  • Altera DE2-115 FPGA Development Board – This full version includes the bitmap character generator for the Parallax custom font.
  • Arrow BeMicro CV Development Board – This full version includes the bitmap character generator for the Parallax custom font.

A ReadMe.txt provides an overview of all the files. Documentation on the DE0-Nano and DE2-115 product pages show how to install the Propeller core in these boards.


Once loaded into the FPGA, the Propeller can be programmed just like any of our development boards. You’ll be downloading to RAM but you could also connect an external EEPROM for storing programs in non-volatile memory.

Parallax releases these files without corporate support or warranty for any particular purpose. We believe our forum members will be able to provide some explanation for those interested in the Verilog code. The Parallax forums are a productive place to seek assistance with using these source code files.

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