Sunday, September 26, 2010

Netduino Plus – Arduino for .NET MF including Ethernet and Micro SD Support

Netduino Plus Secret Labs is launching its .NET-friendly Netduino Plus, which adds Ethernet and microSD to a regular Netduino board (which in itself is a sort of high powered, Visual Studio-compatible Arduino, with a 32-bit 48MHz ARM7 processor, instead of Arduino's 8-bit number, but pin compatible with Arduino "shields"). Unfortunately, the networking code eats of a good majority of the board's already meager code storage and RAM, but you can always flash the original Netduino's firmware on here if you'd like. Right now the board is in a "public beta" while the firmware gets some extra tweaks, but you should be able to drop $60 on the final model by the holidays.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Source Code available at

Microsoft started to publish the source code of the .NET Micro Framework to CodePlex, the Open Source Community:

Up to this point, we have released the platform in the SDK (for building managed code applications) and the Porting Kit (for building new hardware adaptations or getting to the NETMF code). The code is, of course, released under the Apache 2.0 license.  People who wanted to contribute to the platform in 4.1 contacted us and we arranged for them to submit their changes to us.  As of today, we are going to add CodePlex to this landscape to facilitate your access to the code and your ability to contribute.  The CodePlex site has a full description of how to interact with the development effort.  The licenses of course stay the same and the downloads also remain on Microsoft Download Center.

Check it out at:  We will be moving the issues over to this site so that you can track the current known issues and work items.  We are still learning how this will work for a project of this size so bear with us if you run into any difficulties.

Project Description

The Microsoft .NET Micro Framework combines the reliability and efficiency of managed code with the premier development tools of Microsoft Visual Studio® to deliver exceptional productivity for developing embedded applications on small devices. The Microsoft .NET Micro Framework SDK supports development of code, including device I/O, in the C# language using a subset of the .NET libraries, and is fully integrated with the Microsoft Visual Studio® development environment. This project allows building the full SDK and Porting Kit (PK) installers and it includes the RTIP TCP/IP stack from EBSnet Inc., the lwIP open source TCP/IP stack and the OpenSSL distribution.

Additional Note

The .NET Micro Framework is subject to the Apache License, version 2.0.  In addition to the source code that we make available here, we have also packaged the Micro Framework as part of an SDK and as part of a Porting Kit.  Within the Porting Kit, we have also included, as a convenience for you, the following third-party open-source code:  lwIP and OpenSSL.  Each of these is governed by their respective licenses, and we have simply appended those licenses immediately after the Apache License, version 2.0 in the license.rtf file.  You can see a copy of that file in the Download tab (we have put it in a Word Doc format and called it the “.NET Micro Framework SDK and PK License”).

In addition, as another convenience for you, we have also included on this project certain binary-only files:  namely an RTIP TCP/IP stack from EBSnet, Inc., and a set of cryptography libraries.  These are downloadable from the Downloads page of this project.  The license text for each of these are also available on the Downloads page of this project as well.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Another first experience post with Netduino and the .NET Micro Framework (Pete Brown)

Pete Brown wrote his about his first experiences with Netduino and the .NET Micro Framework:

I like gadgets. Some of the coolest gadgets are add-on boards like the Freescale board that works with the Win7 Sensor and Location API. Recently, Arduino and Netduino caught my eye. Arduino is an open source hardware platform / microcontroller with a long history. The specification for the board is completely open, allowing anyone to build one themselves, or purchase a pre-built one. Coding is typically done in C++. Tons of projects have been built on it over the years.

More about license, specs, what can you do with it on his blog post.

The .NET Micro Framework - Hardware for Software People (Scott Hanselman)

smallwristnet Some of you maybe know Scott Hanselman (I know him from a time where AJAX was “born”). Reading is blog frequently I found a post today about the .NET Micro Framework.

I'm definitely a software person. I took EE in school and made an LED class, then a small computer like everyone else, and I know my volts and my amps for the most part, but that's about it. The limits of my skills are somewhere around adding an LED and some resistors to leech power off a USB adapter (which I recently did while working on the Hanselcade retro arcade build).

Hm, if I look back to school… I had the same experience. But at this time I had to write assembler code or some very special basic code that was compiled later to native machine code.

Today it is as easy as writing your first ConsoleApplication using C#. All the tools and SDKs are available at no cost! And an emulator is available for a common device as well as specific emulators from hardware boards. If you want to see it running on a physical hardware buy one of the great starter kits that include everything.

Have a look at the Hanselminutes on 9 where Scott is talking to Colin Miller.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quadrocopter controlled by .NET Micro Framework

Are you interested in build your own quadrocopter (quadrotor helicopter) running on the .NET Micro Framework platform? Have you already done any research on getting a RC flight module?

I bought the AR.Drone from Parrot, well, I’m very impressed from controlling the quadrocopter from an iPhone. Well, I had several problems like a damaged navigation board, and I’m missing some features to play with. Building my own one and adding GPS, a camera etc. together with the .NET Micro Framework could be the solution.

If there is somebody who has already built one with a different platform and would like to try to port this to .NET MF (C#): feel free to contact me as I have an MSDN Ultimate subscription for one year available which includes a full Visual Studio 2010 version.

Do you want to follow us at TinyCLR forum?

SparkFun SerLCD controlled from .NET Micro Framework

sparkfunThe author of this blog wrote, that he maybe is not the only one who has written an implementation for the SparkFun SerLCD (16×2 and 20×4), but I like the really small and working one.

Check out his blog post

Controlling a DC Motor and Handling Threading with .NET MF

I found a new article on how to control a DC motor and why Thread.Sleep doesn’t really sleep.

A big highlight of NETMF is the using of threads. Which means you can run many functions quasi in parallel. You only need to pack your single programs into a function. Declare the function as a thread and start the thread. Thats all. The secret behind is the use of the 'thread.Sleep' function. This is the NETMF function for 'delay' in Arduino speech. But NETMF will not simply wait, it will bring another thread into foreground to run on the processor. The other thread will sleep in the background, until the sleep time is finished.

I am running into my first big problem with NETMF when I use the thread functionality. As you can see in the first video, the servo will not do his sweep, as he do when running as a single program. It costs me some hours to find out that this is not a thread problem. After changing the servo lib to the GHI components lib, everything works fine, as you can see in the 2nd video.

Check the full blog post (ported the Arduino RTTTL sketch to .NET MF) and download the source code at

GPS using the Netduino platform and .NET MF

gpsBob Cravens wrote a great article on how to use the GPS shield used in the Arduino project on the open-source Netduino platform:

I recently blogged about using the Arduino board as a GPS data logger. I have been using this to collect geo-location data for the Truck Tracker application. In this post, I will explore using the Netduino for that purpose.

Read his article and check out the most basic Netduino source code to connect and read data from the GPS serial port…

Using alphanumeric LCDs together with .NET Micro Framework

Szymon Kobalczyk wrote on his blog:

lcd.NET Micro Framework includes reach graphics capabilities with WPF-like libraries, and quite a few high end development boards (Tahoe II, ChipworkX, or FEZ Cobra to name a few) include fancy graphic TFT screens, often with touch input thrown in as well. But this comes at a significantly higher costs, and requires a speedy CPU. Thus it might seem that if you are using a much cheaper board such as Netduino or one of FEZ family, you are doomed to rely on blinking LEDs only. Not quite so. In most scenarios an alphanumeric LCD might be a cheap alternative (or if you have higher budget you might consider using an OLED screen that also works with Netduino).

Read the full story here

What’s going on with FEZ? Some really impressive videos

And here are some great videos showing you the FEZ boards and some great projects. To view more details visit

EZ stands for "Freakin' Easy!"

FEZ offers many features not found in Arduino, BASIC STAMP and others:

  1. Based on Microsoft''s .NET Micro Framework.
  2. Runs on 72Mhz NXP ARM processors.
  3. Supports runtime debugging (breakpoints, variable inspection, stepping, etc.)
  4. Use Visual C# 2010 Express Edition for development.
  5. Advanced capabilities like FAT, USB device and USB host.
  6. Easily upgrades to hardware such as EMX.
  7. Open source hardware design files.
  8. Use existing shields and holder boards.
  9. Based on the USBizi chipset (ideal for commercial use).
  10. FEZ Mini is BS2 pin-out compatible with extra I/Os.
  11. FEZ Domino is Arduino pin-out compatible with extra I/Os.










Netduino Projects / Examples

Just to keep an eye on the Netduino plattform I had a look on some great videos on YouTube:










Hm, still waiting for my order.

Bicycle Computer Series – Build your own one

The Microsoft .NET Micro Framework team worte a great series on how to build your own bicycle computer with the .NET MF.


And yes, download the full source code for the bicycle computer at CodePlex. To compile the projects you need the GHI SDK as the hardware is mapped to it.

Netduino – an open-source electronics platform using .NET MF

Just in case if you didn’t heard about it, there is an open-source electronics platform available which is using the .NET Micro Framework, the Netduino. All design files and source code is included, and this at a starting price from $34.95.


And yes, you can build your own application with Visual C# Express 2010 and the .NET Micro Framework SDK v4.1 at no additional costs.

I hope I can get one in the next weeks to review it.