The Dallas .NET Micro User Group focuses on the .NET Micro Framework (NETMF) from Microsoft. The group meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month at Improving Enterprises and our meetings are free to attend. Please RSVP according to the monthly meeting announcement to assure plenty of food and drinks for everyone.


What is NETMF?

.NET Micro Framework (NETMF) is an open source platform that expands the power and versatility of .NET to the world of small embedded applications. Desktop programmers can harness their existing .NET knowledge base to bring complex embedded concepts to market on time (and under budget).  Embedded Developers can tap into the massive productivity gains that have been seen on the Desktop.


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Friday, May 22, 2015 2:14:12 AM
This is one of our favorite features that is coming to the next SDK. PulseCapture simply generates a pulse and then waits for an "echo" and capture it. Everything is done natively so timing is accurate. Developers have the option of using two pins, useful for ultrasonic distance sensors. A single pin can also be used for capacitive touch. Capacitive touch lets developers read the "touch" using a simple pad. This works as our bodies have capacitance. Interesting things can be done with capacitive touch. Watch this video for example, where objects are used to detect touch. The best part is that there are no limits. There are as many capacitive inputs as there are pins on the micro. This feature will be supported on all devices except the FEZ Hydra, yes even the FEZ Cerberus will have it.


So here is a project idea for the summer. Get some bananas and distance sensors then generate tones that change based on the distance and to the bananas' touch. Would we call this banana distance piano a bandisiano?
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Thursday, May 7, 2015 7:10:07 AM
With over 6 years of great success, The EMX System on Module (SoM) has been one of our most successful products. Today, we bring you the next generation of the EMX SoM, named G120E.

The G120E SoM is a drop-in compatible upgrade for the EMX SoM. It runs at 120Mhz instead of 72Mhz and uses a Cortex-M3 instead of an ARM7. Applications will now run twice as fast with very minimal software changes. Also, unlike EMX but similar to G120, the G120E is going through CE/FCC testing.

The G120E and G120 SoMs both run the exact same software (requires SDK 2015 or newer). The main difference between the two products is that the G120E SoM includes an Ethernet PHY on-board and has more IOs. Using the same firmware allows us to focus better on adding features and improving the quality of the software.

Now to the best part, G120E SoM is priced at the same price as the EMX SoM. In other words, products running EMX SoM can now run twice as fast with the G120E SoM without any cost increase, utilizing a CE/FCC tested SoM!

The G120E Development System is the perfect place to start evaluating the G120E SoM. With all the features exposed, developing applications on the G120E Development Board saves a lot of time and shortens the time to market. This board is also useful for evaluating and developing for the G120 SoM, as the G120 and the G120E are nearly identical.

For current EMX SoM customers, no worries, the EMX SoM will be available through 2015 and will be slowly phased out in 2016. If you have any needs beyond 2015, please contact us with details on your product. Of course, the G120E SoM will just drop in your product so no hardware changes should be needed. However, some very minor changes will be needed in the software. You will also be required to use the 2015 SDK. We are also available to assist you in the upgrade process.

Public availability of the G120E and the G120E Development System is expected by mid 2015. Current 2015 SDK already supports the G120E SoM.

*** EDIT *** The G120E also includes a 32kHz crystal allowing for more pins to be exposed.

G120E SoM: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/532
G120E Development System: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/533
G120 SoM: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/373
G120E Preliminary Brochure: http://www.ghielectronics.com/downloads/man/Preliminary_G120E_Module_Brochure.pdf
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015 1:46:27 PM
As mentioned in the GitHub announcement, we will be replicating and triaging the issues that are in CodePlex as we move them to GitHub where we will continue to address them. We will be looking at the number of votes each issue has to help us prioritize...(read more)
Tuesday, May 5, 2015 5:53:34 AM
The USBizi SoC (System on Chip) by GHI Electronics was the very first single chip running NETMF (.NET Micro Framework), released in 2008. The chip had some limitations around memory but it was the heart and soul of many products around the world. It was also the heart of the FEZ Panda II, one of the most popular products from GHI Electronics! Unfortunately, the USBizi SoC ran NETMF 4.1 and the severely limited resources prevented us from upgrading to newer NETMF releases. There were not any good microcontroller options so we decided to wait for the ultimate microcontroller upgrade. Finally, the microcontroller we have been waiting for was announced and we can now announce the next generation of NETMF chipsets: the G80 SoC!

The G80 SoC is a 100 pin chipset that is absolutely packed with features. This is what a single chip running NETMF can do:

• 180Mhz, Cortex-M4
• 1MB of Flash, 256kB available for applications
• 256kB of RAM, 152kB available for applications
• Full and latest NETMF support through Visual Studio
• USB and Serial debugging
• Networking (more on this below)
• Graphics with BMP decoder and internal native SPI display support
• USB Host with mass storage support
• 4Bit SD/MMC Memory card interface
• 4x UART
• 2x SPI
• I2C
• 2x CAN
• One Wire
• 26x PWM
• 16x Analog inputs (12 bit)
• 2x Analog outputs (12 bit)
• TCP/IP Stack (.NET sockets)
• USB Host
• File System (SD and USB Sticks)
• Operational 1.7V to 3.6V
• 112mA fully active, 40mA idle, 1.8mA deep sleep, 7uA off state

For speedy development and evaluation, we will be offering the G80 Development Board, a highly recommended product for anyone interested in taking the G80 SoC for a test drive.

We have created an early adopter program for those wanting to try the G80 SoC and jumping out of their chairs with anticipation! Please contact us directly with as many specific details about your project as possible. Public availability is expected by mid 2015. The current SDK already supports the G80 SoC.

For the Ethernet support, the G80 SoC supports networking through the ENC28J60 Ethernet controller. Using the internal MAC is possible in the future if a serious inquiry is made for a reasonable commercial need. So why not just support the internal MAC? Using the internal MAC will cost the same as using ENC28J60, as it requires adding a PHY. There will be a speed increase when using internal, but it is not drastically different. Finally, while ENC28J60 uses 3 component pins and 3 SPI pins that can be shared, using the PHY requires about 17 pins, causing the loss of 12 analog and 8 PWM pins, and a SPI, CAN, and COM port.

The current internal version of the G80 Development Board does not include an Ethernet connection yet. It is up to the community and the customers to decide which Ethernet goes on the G80 Development Board: the ENC28J60 controller or an Ethernet PHY. Please note that any ENC28J60 module, such as GHI Electronics' Ethernet ENC28 can be easily wired to the development board.

G80 SoC: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/501
G80 Development Board: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/483
Ethernet ENC28 Module: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/333
*** Edit *** G80 SoC User Manual: https://www.ghielectronics.com/downloads/NETMF/G80/G80_User_Manual.pdf

But wait, we have more exciting news! We are releasing the binaries for the USBizi100 and the USBizi144 SoCs. You are free to use these commercially and non-commercially. This means we are no longer offering the the USBizi family for sale. Customers can order the LPC2387FBD100 and LPC2388FBD144 from electronics stores, like Mouser, and flash them with the binaries provided. The same applies for all products based on USBizi, such as the FEZ Domino, the FEZ Panda I and the FEZ Panda II. These can be manufactured anywhere with the provided design files. Of course, the files are provided as is with no warranty, guarantee or support.

We will continue accepting special orders for USBizi (types 100 and 144) until the beginning of the year 2016.

USBizi binary files: https://www.ghielectronics.com/downloads/NETMF/USBizi/
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Friday, May 1, 2015 9:09:23 AM
Hi Everyone,

We are excited to show you the new website. We have optimized www.GHIElectronics.com to be responsive to the environment of the most important people in the world and that is our community and customers! It doesn't matter if you are viewing the website sitting at your desk at work or on the couch at home using your phone or tablet, the experience will be same! We also improved security by switching our Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) to SHA-2 and moved from TLS 1.0 to TLS 1.2. However, we do recommend changing your avatar from 64 x 64 pixels to 134 x 134 pixels. If you currently do not have an avatar uploaded we will use your email address to search for your Gravatar. If you do not have a Gravatar then the mystery man is shown until you upload your avatar.

Please click away and enjoy the new and improved www.GHIElectronics.com! Grin
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