Digital Electronics: How to Install the BASIC Stamp Editor and Connect to the Stamp - dummies

Digital Electronics: How to Install the BASIC Stamp Editor and Connect to the Stamp

By Doug Lowe

To tell the BASIC Stamp what you want it to do in your digital electronics project, you must program it. The BASIC Stamp Windows Editor is the software that you use on your computer to create programs that can be downloaded to a BASIC Stamp microcontroller. This software is available free from the Parallax website.

Follow these instructions:

  1. Click the Resources tab.

  2. Click Downloads in the menu on the left side of the page.

  3. Click BASIC Stamp Software.

  4. Select the version of the software for your computer and download and install the software.

Once you get the software installed, run it by choosing BASIC Stamp Editor from the Windows Start menu.


Before you can use the Stamp Editor to program a BASIC Stamp, you must first connect the Stamp to your computer, and then configure the Stamp Editor so that it can communicate with the Stamp.

The following steps describe the procedure for doing that with a BASIC Stamp HomeWork board. The procedure for connecting a Board of Education is very similar, so you shouldn’t have any trouble following along in case you have a Board of Education instead of a HomeWork board.

  1. Insert a 9 V battery in the HomeWork board.

    You’ll see a green LED light up on the board when the battery is inserted. If this light doesn’t come on, check the battery — it may be dead.

  2. Plug the USB to serial adapter into the DB9 connector on the HomeWork board.

    This step is necessary because the HomeWork board uses an older-style serial connector to connect to your computer, but most computers don’t have serial ports. The adapter converts the serial port connection on the HomeWork board to a USB port.


  3. Plug the smaller end of the USB cable into the USB to serial adapter and the larger end into an available USB port on your computer.

    After a moment, your computer will chirp happily to acknowledge the presence of the BASIC Stamp. A pop-up bubble may appear informing you that Windows is installing the driver needed to access the device. If so, just wait for the bubble to disappear.

    In addition to the activity on your computer, you’ll also notice a green LED on the USB to serial adapter. This indicates that the adapter is powered up and ready to adapt.

  4. In the BASIC Stamp Editor, choose Run→Identify.

    This brings forth the Identification window.


    This window should indicate that a BASIC Stamp 2 is connected. If it doesn’t, consult the “Connection Troubleshooting” section of the Stamp Editor’s Help command (Help→BASIC Stamp Help).

  5. Click Close to dismiss the Identification window.

  6. You’re done!

    You’re ready to write your first BASIC Stamp program.

Here are a few other tidbits you should know about connecting a BASIC Stamp to the Stamp Editor:

  • If you’re having trouble connecting, the most likely cause (other than a loose connection or forgetting to insert the battery) is an incorrect driver for the USB to serial adapter. To install the right driver software, follow the instructions that appear on Parallax’s USB drivers page to install the correct driver.

  • Parallax makes a version of the Board of Education that has a USB port directly on the board. If you’re using that board instead of the HomeWork board, you don’t need a USB to serial adapter. Instead, you can plug the USB cable directly into the Board of Education.