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, June 27, 2014 5:41:00 PM
It’s been a while since the .NET Micro Framework team has provided an update about the project. Well the team is here and has been busy gathering feedback from the community, thinking about future direction of the project and at the same time starting...(read more)
Wednesday, June 25, 2014 5:10:06 AM
In recent days product prices have been lowered drastically on almost all products as previously announced, http://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/topic?id=15888 , and today we are adding more. the G120HDR is down to $39.95 from $49.95 and the Multicolor LEDs are down to $7.95 from $15.95! We hope the new prices will be to everyone's liking.

We know LEDs are just pure fun so we did not stop at lowering the price. We are also offering a one time deal on these chainable multicolor LEDs. We have a 12 LED pack at $24.95 each, that is a whole dozen for only $24.95. Only few kits are made so make sure you grab your pack today.

As for the clearance and discontinued items, we have three kits with discounts of up to 80%! The price of the kit is almost the price of the cables and connector alone! Very few of these are available so do not wait. The kits are listed under the sale category. If you do not see them then they are gone already!

Clearance Kits: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/sale
Multicolor LEDs: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/272
G120HDR: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/431

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 4:43:20 AM
It is finally here, the 4.3 beta SDK with support for all GHI Electronics' NETMF devices. As explained in previous announcements, all devices now share the same GHI extensions, same libraries and same documentation. Due to memory limitations, the Cerb-family firmware may not have all features, no SQLite for example. We are still squeezing more into the firmware so there is no official list of what is not supported yet. This also means the Cerb-family firmware is no longer open source; however, the porting kit includes the STM32 sources and our 4.2 sources are also available.

As for the FEZ Hydra, it is still open source and now distributed at cost, only $24.95! We are hoping that this open source NETMF board will aid anyone interested in learning to port NETMF. The firmware can be compiled with GCC and the board layout is done in EAGLE. This combination is the complete solution for an open source hardware (OSHW) design. Note that the any extensions FEZ Hydra my have will be using the same GHI libraries from the official SDK, which are not open source. This should not reduce the openness of FEZ Hydra as these are simply C# wrappers around the interops and they can also be easily decompiled using available free tools, like Reflector from Redgate.

Another exciting change is PPP, which has now been added to the SDK. We did not do any testing in this release but we are planning on doing so in the coming days. Please consider it as not functional for now but, if you want to help us in testing, please let us know what you find.

Finally, a separate SDK will be provided for all discontinued products. This will allow us to continue to improve the quality and simplify the main SDK and then freeze the discontinued products into a separate SDK. Of course, the source code for the drivers are still openly available under the Apache 2 license, allowing for commercial and non-commercial use. Documentation regarding the Discontinued Gadgeteer Product SDK can be found here, http://www.ghielectronics.com/docs/299/discontinued-gadgeteer-product-drivers. This link will also be available on the NETMF support page, http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf.

Please post any bug reports on this new thread dedicated for beta 3 issues on our beta forum, https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/topic?id=15983.

As always, your feedback is most appreciated.

NETMF and Gadgeteer Package 2014 R2 Beta-3 : http://www.ghielectronics.com/support/netmf/sdk/16/netmf-and-gadgeteer-package-2014-r2-beta-3

Monday, June 23, 2014 7:02:07 AM
GHI Electronics has been a world leader in hardware-file-system solutions since 2003. Ten years into the future and ALFAT was released in 2013, to be the most powerful and complete offering. Today, we are announcing the release of ALFAT 2. This new major release for ALFAT is 100% backwards compatible with ALFAT 1 making the upgrade an easy choice for current ALFAT customers. ALFAT 1 and ALFAT 2 are identical when it comes to the hardware. Developers can simply upgrade or downgrade any ALFAT chip at any time.

The all new SD-Reader mode
In addition to the numerous small updates and improvements, ALFAT 2 includes an SD-Reader mode. This mode allows ALFAT to present itself as an SD reader, making it ideal for data-logger applications. The product hosting ALFAT 2 will be able to access files on SD cards (and USB sticks) just like before, using UART, SPI or I2C. But once that same host product is connected to a PC, via a standard USB cable, ALFAT becomes a card reader where a user can now access the files through the PC. Please see the block diagram image below for more details.

Road Map
ALFAT 1 will be discontinued and replaced with ALFAT 2, which is 100% backwards compatible. ALFAT 2 will start shipping on July 14th, 2014.

The Evaluation Kit
Available today is the ALFAT Evaluation Kit. This kit is highly recommend to quickly learn ALFAT's command structure, thanks to the included software. The source code of the included software is also available under resources to aid in developing any needed drivers.

ALFAT 2 SoC Processor: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/512
ALFAT Evaluation Kit: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/524
ALFAT OEM Board: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/337
ALFAT SDR Board: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/523
ALFAT SD Board: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/338
ALFAT USB Board: https://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/428

Thursday, June 19, 2014 4:31:54 AM
In a recent news post, https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/topic?id=15888, we dropped the price on many of the Gadgeteer modules and we are now doing the same for the System on Modules (SoM). With these new prices, any company can afford to have a powerful .NET Micro Framework base for their design. For example G120 is under $30 in at only 100pcs, EMX is near $50 and G400 is near $60! We even dropped the price on the FEZ Cerb40 II to only $24.95! Note that the Cerb40, part of the Cerb-family now includes our GHI extended libraries (formerly known as premium), so it is a lot more powerful at a lower price.

As for FEZ Cobra II, instead of offering four different versions from stock, we will only offer FEZ Cobra II (Eco) from stock. Developers needing WiFi or Ethernet can simply add these modules, thanks to .NET Gadgeteer. This is a very good option for low volumes. If 100 or more units are needed, we will continue to offer the FEZ Cobra II Ethernet and WiFi versions, as special orders. Typical lead time is 4 to 6 weeks on these boards.

Lately there have been some discussions about longevity of products and we would like to cover this here but we are always a phone call away. Our business at GHI Electronics is entirely reliant upon the faith of our customers in us and our offerings. They use our products to create new products and update existing ones. This means any quality issues will reflect on our customer's products as well. We also understand that discontinuing products can be very bad for our customers. For the reasons above, we take quality and longevity very seriously, especially on our SoM offers. Those changes occur very rarely and come with very long notices. And even after the change, we continue to offer the old products on demand. Over the last ten years of business, we have had many occasions where customers have contacted us about building a product that was discontinued a long time ago and we still revived it and made it available to them. As long as it is physically possible (the raw components are still available) we will always work with you on recreating any discontinued product.

In contrast to the SoMs, the rules are a bit softer on breakout boards of the SoMs. For example, FEZ Cobra II is based on G120 and it is simply a breakout for G120 with few connectors and a power supply. Due to its simplicity, it is very easy for us to manufacture this board at any time. In this case, changes can happen but we can always manufacture the older version if requested.

Lastly, we would like to mention that we have also lowered the prices on the Gadgeteer cables.

As always, we are here to listen and improve. We hope you will enjoy all the great new prices on our SoMs and look forward to seeing your future inventions.

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