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NETMF device port wish list...

NETMF LPC4357 QUARK

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#1 mbrossett

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 10:45 PM

@Chris Walker and Secret Labs

 

Any chance we could see a Netduino with a powerful micro like the LPC4357? I would really like to see a Netduino with a 24-bit LCD port. Although, the hardware cost would be higher, it would be cool to see a port for the Intel Quark processors, too.

 

How difficult is it to port NETMF to a new processor?



#2 Mario Vernari

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 03:47 AM

As you may notice the available RAM is rather poor and probably insufficient to run even a minimal application.

If your dream is seeing a Netduino driving a TFT display, just have a look here:

http://highfieldtale...0-eve-microwpf/


Biggest fault of Netduino? It runs by electricity.

#3 Chris Walker

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:13 AM

Hi mbrossett,

The LPC micros have always interested us, but the STM32F4 micros seem to always "one-up" them in some way or another. If you're interested in an SDRAM interface and LCD controller, check out the STM32F439. We're using its sibling, the STM32F437, for another NETMF-based product right now.

Mario--I love your EVE implementation. I'm excited to see more. And more :) Great job.

Chris

#4 Cuno

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Posted 13 April 2014 - 06:27 PM

How difficult is it to port NETMF to a new processor?

I assume that you mean another processor family, but with the same core, e.g. another Cortex-M4 family. Then in our experience - for a production quality port, not just a quick hack - it takes several months to write the core drivers (timers, serial port, GPIOs, SPI, I2C). Let's say half a year. If you go all the way with Ethernet drivers for the controller, LCD support and USB client and host support, it can be two person years or even more, depending on the experience of the developer(s).

 

We also had to do the core initialization, i.e., the software part that is common for all Cortex-M3/M4 processors. This part is relatively small, but difficult - tricky, and partially written in assembly language. So if you go beyond Cortex-M3/M4, expect more effort and make sure you have someone really experienced doing that part. As far as I know, at least three attempts at porting NETMF to Cortex-M have failed there.



#5 mbrossett

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 01:49 AM

The LPC4370 is a 204MHz M4 with 2x 204MHz M0 cores and 264kB+ RAM. And the quad SPI interface makes it easy to add Flash. Although for an LCD capable board one would need to add external RAM and Flash anyway. It just seems to me to be as good or better than anything ST Micro has to offer and a perfect match for NETMF. But that is just my opinion.

But I understand that there is a lot of reasons to stay with the STM32F4 family, as Cuno has pointed out.

I have been using the GHI EMX Development System for a couple years but I am just disappointed with the performance. I'm surprised there isn't a lot of competition to that yet. I haven't tried their newer module base on the LPC1788, though. I will have to look more into

Chris the reason I am looking for Netduino to offer the product is for the NETMF display stuff to be implemented . Is Secret Labs planning on implementing this in the near future?

#6 Cuno

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 07:20 AM

for the NETMF display stuff to be implemented

The larger package variants of the STM32 chips support external buses with DRAMs, and they support LCDs. There is special support for displays called Chrom-ART accelerator:

http://www.digikey.c...ge/message/9087

 

We haven't used it yet though, as we concentrate on headless devices (can't have so many irons in the fire at the same time). ST has its own variant of our NETMF for STM32 port, but I don't know whether it leverages the graphics accelerator feature. Their port is not open source, due to legal incompatibilities of the license for the internal library they are using in their port.

http://www.st.com/we.../tools/PF254162



#7 Chris Walker

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:29 AM

Hi mbrossett,

I have been using the GHI EMX Development System for a couple years but I am just disappointed with the performance. I'm surprised there isn't a lot of competition to that yet.

That's a pretty tiny market (selling proprietary NETMF chipsets for high-end devices where honestly a PC-class micro would be a better pick), and we don't plan on building products there. Our focus with Netduino is on enabling awesome micro-based projects for the maker community...and enabling those makers to go to market with affordable mass-market products based on NETMF. Without tying you into proprietary offerings or single-source solutions.

Chris the reason I am looking for Netduino to offer the product is for the NETMF display stuff to be implemented . Is Secret Labs planning on implementing this in the near future?

Yes, we are working on bringing rich open-source display capabilities to Netduino. The first part of that is happening with AGENT. I don't have a timeline on this so please don't plan products on it today--but the goal is to leverage our investments in AGENT to bring more open-source goodness to the community :)

In the meantime, have you checked out Mario's excellent work with EVE? That's a pretty awesome display solution, and you can use it with your Netduino today.

Chris





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