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Introducing Netduino Go


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#1 Chris Walker

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:29 AM

Dear Friends,

You asked for a Netduino with more speed, more flash, and more RAM.

You asked for a Netduino with more GPIOs, more serial ports, more analog inputs, and more PWMs.

Some of you aren't yet comfortable picking up a soldering iron, or you don't want to spend your time calculating resistor band colors. You want a plug-and-play Netduino.

We've been listening. And together with several members of the Netduino community, we've been crafting radical new hardware.

Today, we introduce a Netduino with more speed, flash, and RAM. And a Netduino with support for more GPIOs, serial ports, analog inputs, and PWMs. And today, we introduce a plug-and-play Netduino.

Best of all, these are all the same board.

Introducing Netduino Go. Just $49.95.
http://www.netduino.com/netduinogo/

Netduino Go has four times the speed (168MHz), six times the code space (384KB), and twice the available RAM (100KB+) of Netduino Plus.

And with Netduino Go, we've virtualized all the peripherals. So you simply pick what you need and plug it in. Each module has a small microchip which works together with the mainboard.

Want to use a relay? Just plug it in. Need six RGB LEDs? No problem. How about a touchscreen? One cable, plug and play.

Alongside Netduino Go, we're introducing a very cool accessory. We call it the Shield Base. You plug it into your Netduino Go and it provides you with the latest Arduino pinout, 6 PWMs, 6 ADCs, and a handful of GPIOs. To use it, you just create InputPorts, AnalogInputs, etc. using the standard NETMF classes.

It's like freedom, in the form of electrons.

All Netduino Go hardware is production hardware. We're shipping the production Shield Base hardware with early beta firmware so that we can get wide feedback on this new virtualization technology. And to say thank you for beta testing the Shield Base, we've temporarily upgraded its 128KB-flash MCU to a full-blown 512KB-flash 120MHz Cortex-M3 microcontroller. You can connect it to power and a USB-TTL serial cable and use it as a traditional Netduino if you'd like as well--while enjoying its 3 serial ports and other new enhancements.

Both the Netduino Go and the Shield Base run production versions of .NET MF 4.2 QFE1 (RTM).

We are introducing the first six modules today (button, rgb led, potentiometer, shield base, nwazet relay, and nwazet touchscreen). Next up are Piezo Buzzer, Ethernet, and SD Card modules--coming soon. Several dozen modules will ship this year...and we welcome you to build your own as well. More on that separately.

Last but not least... Microsoft Research created a nifty technology for researchers to prototype electronic devices. We appreciate that they open sourced their platform, called .NET Gadgeteer. So we created a compatibility mode for Netduino Go which lets you use most S-U-X Gadgeteer modules with Netduino Go. Bluetooth and XBee modules, Temperature+Humidity sensors, GPS modules and more are all available today. There are some limitations--we'll create a thread to discuss and to provide drivers.

You may have some questions about the new hardware. We will try to answer them here as best we can. And we'll be talking more about Netduino Go and doing Q&A at next week's O'Reilly webcast.

I'm looking forward to seeing your creations using Netduino Go!

Chris
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#2 Chris Walker

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:30 AM

And speaking of we, I'd like to thank the following community members who contributed hundreds of hours of their lives to make this new Netduino possible:
  • KodeDaemon, who almost singlehandedly ported NETMF to STM32F2/F4 in his spare hours.
  • Stefan, co-conspirator in Netduino Go. For endless ideas, prototyping, testing, project building, and more.
  • CW2, for working on the STM32 port, contributing the STM8S firmware, and being very enthusiastic.
  • Fabien Royer and Bertrand Le Roy, for crafting the excellent Nwazet go!modules, and for providing feedback and guidance during the development process.
  • Beat Heeb and Oberon Microsystems, who created and donated the original STM32 port of .NET Micro Framework.


#3 Stefan

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 08:55 AM

You forgot to thank someone, so I will :)
Thank you, Chris, for sharing your ideas and listening to mine.

For those interested in watching a small video about Netduino Go! while waiting for their board to be delivered, I'm showing the very first working version off in this video:

Helping on this project was overall a wonderful and educating experience. Thanks, not just Chris, but also Kode, CW2, Fabien and Bertrand.
Oh and my wife, Renee, for her patience with me when I locked up myself in my room :)
"Fact that I'm a moderator doesn't make me an expert in things." Stefan, the eternal newb!
My .NETMF projects: .NETMF Toolbox / Gadgeteer Light / Some PCB designs

#4 Christoc

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

Congrats on the new release! I'm looking forward to getting the hardware next week and playing around!

View my blog at ChrisHammond.com

Projects: Netduino Tank/Tracked Vehicle, DNNFoos, Random other bits


#5 hanzibal

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

Paramount achievement, congratulations guys!

#6 mtylerjr

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:33 PM

Next up are Piezo Buzzer, Ethernet, and SD Card modules--coming soon. Several dozen modules will ship this year...and we welcome you to build your own as well

This makes me very very very happy!

Can you even hint at what some of these might be?


Sensors? (Ping? Light? Tilt? Sound? Temperature? Humidity? Flex? Infrared?)
Voice recognition?
RFID?
GPS?
Imaging?
Bluetooth? Wifi?
Some sort of Robotics platform?

Several dozen is a lot!

#7 MisterMatt

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:35 PM

The Netduino Go is only clocked 3.5 times faster than the original Netduino (168Mhz vs 48Mhz), but the announcement says 4 times faster. Does the new STM32F4 chip perform more operations per clock cycle?

#8 Pete Brown

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:41 PM

This is awesome, Chris. Congratulations!

I'm obviously interested in adding to the modules, so I have a few questions.

When in compatibility mode with Gadgeteer, is the socket pinout the same? If so, my MIDI module should *just work* once I fork the driver. I can't wait to try it :)

Do you have any standards around module development? Like 5mm spacing for holes, sockets always face a certain way, etc.? So far, looks like the sockets face opposite of Gadgeteer, but that just means the cables might get a little twisty. I want to see how reasonable it is to develop hardware that targets both.

Now, on the dedicated "Go" side, what's the logic on the on-board processor doing? Is this i2C or something? What chip is it? What does it run?

Finally, when developing Gadgeteer stuff, the single biggest problem was sourcing the IDC sockets at a reasonable cost (they're like $2 a piece unless you buy a thousand from china). Will you be selling the beautiful blue ones?

Pete
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I work for Microsoft. Opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer,our partners or customers.

#9 CW2

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

Does the new STM32F4 chip perform more operations per clock cycle?

It has 3-stage pipeline, hardware floating point unit and Thumb-2 instruction set Posted Image

#10 Chris Walker

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:44 PM

The Netduino Go is only clocked 3.5 times faster than the original Netduino (168Mhz vs 48Mhz), but the announcement says 4 times faster.

Does the new STM32F4 chip perform more operations per clock cycle?

Yes. And it's actually more than 4 times as fast. We just wanted to underpromise a bit :)

Cortex-M4 runs 1.25 instructions per clock cycle (DMIPS). The MCU is rated for 210 DMIPS.

SAM7X runs at 0.9 instructions per clock cycle, and even slower than that when executing THUMB code.

Chris

#11 Stefan

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:44 PM

Sensors? (Ping? Light? Tilt? Sound? Temperature? Humidity? Flex? Infrared?)
Voice recognition?
RFID?
GPS?
Imaging?
Bluetooth? Wifi?
Some sort of Robotics platform?

Several dozen is a lot!

I can't give you any guarantee since I don't work for a company that makes modules or something, but I would love to see RFID, GPS, Bluetooth and some robotics stuff as well.

I skipped Wifi in that list for a reason: I already got wifi working somehow, just need to fix some small things. Please stay tuned.
"Fact that I'm a moderator doesn't make me an expert in things." Stefan, the eternal newb!
My .NETMF projects: .NETMF Toolbox / Gadgeteer Light / Some PCB designs

#12 Stefan

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:47 PM

Hi Pete,

to answer a few of your questions (I hope Chris will pick up the others):

When in compatibility mode with Gadgeteer, is the socket pinout the same? If so, my MIDI module should *just work* once I fork the driver. I can't wait to try it :)

Actually the pinout is the same, so it wouldn't be a problem at all. Your module is a U-type module. Netduino Go! supports S-U-X, so it should be fine.

Do you have any standards around module development? Like 5mm spacing for holes, sockets always face a certain way, etc.? So far, looks like the sockets face opposite of Gadgeteer, but that just means the cables might get a little twisty. I want to see how reasonable it is to develop hardware that targets both.

I think this could be done. Indeed, the 5mm spacing for holes is the same!
"Fact that I'm a moderator doesn't make me an expert in things." Stefan, the eternal newb!
My .NETMF projects: .NETMF Toolbox / Gadgeteer Light / Some PCB designs

#13 Chris Walker

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:52 PM

Hi Pete,

This is awesome, Chris. Congratulations!

I'm obviously interested in adding to the modules, so I have a few questions.

Thanks :) And sure, ask away!

When in compatibility mode with Gadgeteer, is the socket pinout the same? If so, my MIDI module should *just work* once I fork the driver. I can't wait to try it :)


Yes, we actually changed our pinout to match one of Gadgeteer's possible pinouts. If you build an S, U, X (or maybe Y) module, it will probably just work. However only "S" modules can reasonably share the channel with other devices...since U, X, and Y modules would use shared pins. [That's one of the reasons we use virtualization instead of physical pin mapping...] Fun tech fact: there are two go!bus channels on Netduino Go, sockets 1-4 on channel 0 and sockets 5-8 on channel 1.

All that said, if you build a Gadgeteer module which is an "S" module and then only use the first GPIO and the SPI_CS IO on the Gadgeteer socket, you can maximize compatibility. There are some limitations...it's a long discussion...but we've taken this into account.

Do you have any standards around module development? Like 5mm spacing for holes, sockets always face a certain way, etc.? So far, looks like the sockets face opposite of Gadgeteer, but that just means the cables might get a little twisty. I want to see how reasonable it is to develop hardware that targets both.

Yes. 5mm spacing for holes, 3.0-3.2mm for the holes themselves. Socket notch faces out. That's it.

If you want to use the go!bus compatibility logo, you'll need to use go!bus IO virtualization firmware on your chip (STM8S and STM32 supported soon, AVR and others hopefully supported in the future). It does fun things like let us know how much power you need and lets you build a super-low-cost-module with both tons of intelligence and plug and play ease.

BTW, the STM8S chips are thirty-something-cents in reels. I kid you not.

Now, on the dedicated "Go" side, what's the logic on the on-board processor doing? Is this i2C or something? What chip is it? What does it run?

The on-module processor is there to speak the go!bus protocol and virtualize your IOs. So that your driver on the Netduino Go mainboard sees its IOs, SPI bus, I2C bus, UARTs, PWMs, ADCs, etc. as its own. We can take a small number of developers into our module builder's group for the next few months...once we feel that everything is ready for widespread module building we'll open it up to everyone. 100% cross-board compatibility is our utmost concern.

Finally, when developing Gadgeteer stuff, the single biggest problem was sourcing the IDC sockets at a reasonable cost (they're like $2 a piece unless you buy a thousand from china). Will you be selling the beautiful blue ones?

We'll soon have ten packs of black sockets for $9.95. Surface-mount or through-hole. Does that help?

Chris

#14 Cuno

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:53 PM

Actually the pinout is the same, so it wouldn't be a problem at all.


SUX type?

Does there exist a specification for the protocol that you use? Can you daisy-chain modules? I assume the protocol doesn't have anything to do with DaisyLink though?

#15 Cuno

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 06:59 PM

Ah, some answers already there :)

Congratulations on this fascinating product! I like .NET Gadgeteer for its easy extensibility, and the Netduino Go certainly adds further potential towards even better embedded plug & play.

And of course I like that you have used our NETMF for STM32 as starting point, like GHI did B)

Cuno

#16 Chris Walker

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:05 PM

SUX type?

Does there exist a specification for the protocol that you use? Can you daisy-chain modules? I assume the protocol doesn't have anything to do with DaisyLink though?

Nope, completely different. .NET Gadgeteer is a pin assignment technology. go!bus is an IO virtualization technology. So you can have as many IOs as memory permits.

SUX type is the Gadgeteer compatibility type for the sockets. You can use most S (SPI), U (UART), or X (4 GPIO) Gadgeteer modules (and some Y modules). A number of the proprietary ones won't work. We'll have a full list--with drivers--in the next week or two. If you want to know if a certain one works or not, just ask.

Chris

#17 Pete Brown

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:13 PM

Nope, completely different. .NET Gadgeteer is a pin assignment technology. go!bus is an IO virtualization technology. So you can have as many IOs as memory permits.


That's very promising. I like that you don't have to pick either/or at a board+socket level, you can reasssign functions to different pins as needed.

Are you surfacing +5v power on a pin in each socket, as well as +3v3? I assume signal levels are all 3.3.

How many analog ins are surfaced?

Pete
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I work for Microsoft. Opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer,our partners or customers.

#18 Stefan

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:18 PM

Are you surfacing +5v power on a pin in each socket, as well as +3v3? I assume signal levels are all 3.3.

Both 5V and 3.3V will be sent from the main board to the module.
Signal levels are 3.3V but 5V tolerant if I'm correct.

How many analog ins are surfaced?

That's the good thing of IO virtualisation; every module could, in theory, contain as many analog inputs as you want. For example the shield base module has 6 analog inputs.
Also, since the analog value is read out on the module itself, and from that point translated over a digital layer, you won't be bothered by the resistance of the cable to the Netduino Go! nor other influences from outside.
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#19 mtylerjr

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

Both 5V and 3.3V will be sent from the main board to the module.
Signal levels are 3.3V but 5V tolerant if I'm correct.

That's the good thing of IO virtualisation; every module could, in theory, contain as many analog inputs as you want. For example the shield base module has 6 analog inputs.


Can I virtualize outputs? Lets say I want to drive an 8x8 grid of leds - can I generate 64 outputs somehow? (Noob question , I'm sure)

#20 mohammad

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Posted 04 April 2012 - 07:23 PM

Congratulation! it is excelent :rolleyes: :blink:




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