Basic Stamp Primer

by Mark Frauenfelder

Related link:

After meeting Joe Grand, I became really interested in the Basic Stamp , made by Parallax. It's a microcontroller that you can program using BASIC. The robotics applications for it look fantastic (check out this Toddler Robot.) I'd love to hear from anyone who has been using Basic Stamp and would like to write a story about it for MAKE.

Have you used Basic Stamp? Let's hear about it!


2005-02-11 01:53:35
Java Stamp
This is great stuff, I notice Parallax also do a 'Java Stamp' as well called Javelin. It would be nice to see more people using this too.
2005-04-04 14:59:25
I used a ATOM microcontroller
My buddy and I used a Atom microcontroller which is very similar to the BASIC Stamp. We built a R2-D2 style robot. It worked fine. My buddy did the programming and I did most of the hardware fabrication. I think if I was going to do it over I might use a small PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). I guess it depends how big of a robot you want to build.
2005-05-20 13:09:56
Basic Stamp

I am using the Partallax basic stamp to build a learning lab. But does anyone know if there are RF interfaces for it- i.e. tunable transmitting and recieving?

2005-06-03 11:54:04
I used a ATOM microcontroller
hello Hawkman,
I too own a ATOM SDK and have not yeat done anythink with it. I would like to do some robotic projects using it ,some day.(busy busy ) Can you send me a link or jpeg of what you did with yours?
New MAKE reader.
runningski@sbcglobal(outside of work e-mail)
2005-11-27 20:11:13
Basic Stamp (and other microcontrollers)
A number of years ago I used a Basic Stamp to build a controller for a diesel generator. This was a challenge due to the Stamp's quite limited resources, especially RAM. It was also challenging to do all of this without floating point match which the Stamp doesn't support. I ended up added an external RAM chip so that I could calculate moving averages of RPM and current. Here's a page describing what I did:

After that project, I discovered the BX-24 from NetMedia. It is pin-compatible with the Stamp but has 10 times the RAM and is much faster. It also has built-in floating point capability and it programming language is a VB6 subset. This was a quite refreshing change from the Stamp (which uses an antiquated dialect of Basic from the 70's that doesn't have parameterized procedures or local variables).

I built a couple of projects with the BX-24 (see but found even the vastly improved capabilities of it limiting.

To remedy this, I built an advanced Stamp-like microcontroller that is pin-compatible with the Stamp and software compatible with the BX-24 - the best of both but with numerous innovations beyond both. You can read about it (and download the compiler, IDE and documentation at