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The GoBus Upgrade


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#1 Chris Walker

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 05:37 AM

Netduino Go is on a mission. To empower users with the freedom to create electronics projects.

With plug and play GoBus modules. And GoBus Virtual I/O. All open source.

And while all of that is cool, the real value comes in what it does for you.

The first six months of GoBus was about creating a platform. The next six months is about delivering new hardware, introducing new capabilities to the core protocol, and enabling ridiculously large projects.

I have lots of news to share. Here are some highlights.

New Hardware
SD Card modules have arrived, and we'll be posting a firmware update to support them soon (within a few weeks). We didn't want to ship them this weekend and have users disappointed that the supporting firmware wasn't available yet...but we'll be releasing them to resellers shortly.

For the Ethernet modules: we discovered two errata in relation to the ENC28J60 chip and the revised design should be going into production this month (October). I'll post an update on that soon...

Finally, GoBus 1.5 enables Virtual I/O for all modules. Over the next month, we'll start laying out a number of new modules (Ambient Light, XBee Adapter, and RS-232 to begin with). We have another ten modules queued up for next year.

Third parties are also working on modules, and we're expediting the interoperability logo approval process for them so that they can get new modules to you quickly. We're also working on a click-through agreement for royalty-free logo licensing.

Hundreds of modules, lots of amps
As more and more GoBus modules arrive in the market, we know that many of you will want more modules in your projects than you have GoPorts on your mainboard. And while Netduino Go can deliver up to 500mA of 3.3V power to modules, we know that some projects will need more power as well.

GoBus was architected for the future. That future includes hubs. Wired and wireless. Powered (adding more available current to your project) and unpowered. And much more.

We're currently developing an 8-port powered hub. It's the size of Netduino Go but it has an upstream GoPort and a power barrel instead of a Micro USB jack. You simply plug it into your mainboard and you get 8 more GoPorts. Plug in an external power adapter and you get a dedicated power boost for downstream modules.

You'll be able to add up to 255 modules to your project, several hubs deep if desired.

Along with the 8-port hub, we'll also be enabling Netduino Go itself to be a wireless hub using an XBee link. Simply plug XBee Adapter GoModules into two Netduino Go mainboards and you can make one the extension of the other. It's pretty awesome. We'll be sharing video of that feature in action in the near future.

Hubs are a feature of GoBus 2.0. All GoBus 1.5+ compliant modules will work with hubs. It's backwards-compatible.

Giving Gadgeteer the GoBus Upgrade
One of the big values of Netduino Go is the ability to use lots of pre-built components in your projects. Without needing to worry if you have enough of a particular feature (UARTs, PWMs, etc.). And without being constrained to any single component system.

After less than six months, there are now over a dozen GoBus modules in production. And the Shield Base is designed to let users plug in hundreds of pre-built Arduino shields. That's a lot of pre-built options.

Two years ago, at World MakerFaire 2010, researchers from Microsoft Research introduced their Gadgeteer component system. They asked if we could give Netduino users the capability to work with their component system as well.

GoBus 1.5 makes that possible. Virtualization is magic that way.

So we're giving Gadgeteer the GoBus upgrade. Without the expense of dedicated motherboards, the complexities of derated sockets, or worries about having too many of a certain letter-type of module and not enough of that type of socket.

Today we introduce the Gadgeteer Adapter module for Netduino Go. 4 Gadgeteer sockets, $14.95, available in November.

Powered by GoBus Virtual I/O, each adapter gives you 4 Gadgeteer sockets. You can plug in multiple Gadgeteer Adapters to support more modules. They will even work on a wireless hub.

Whether you are looking for the ultimate Gadgeteer mainboard or for backwards compatibility with Gadgeteer hardware, Netduino Go has you covered.

For those who would like to help us do final performance testing, we're giving out a limited number of free samples at MakerFaire NY. The beta program starts in November and works with all existing Netduino Go mainboards.

The Future
This is just the beginning. We have several years of enhancements planned and revise these plans based on your feedback. Together we can make magic happen.

Thank you for joining us on this journey. I look forward to seeing what you create.

Chris

#2 Chris Walker

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 06:47 AM

P.S. The Gadgeteer Adapters just arrived yesterday, so we haven't had a chance to take photos yet. In the meantime, here are two photos. The first is a snapshot that Stefan took tonight. The second is a conceptual cameraphone picture of a few dozen modules plugged in...a hybrid of plug-and-play GoBus modules and Gadgeteer modules working together. It's pretty cool seeing GoBus modules, Arduino shields, Gadgeteer modules, etc. all working together. The virtual i/o is seamless...and a bit mesmerizing :) These photos are a bit large so you can see some detail. Chris

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#3 Rhynier Myburgh

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 06:59 AM

That is great work! I am really looking forward to everything running GoBus 2.0 :). I wish I could be at the New York Maker Faire this weekend to see it all in action. Oh, and the picture answers my question: which Gadgeteer sockets are supported?! Thank you, Chris.

#4 Gutworks

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:05 AM

Wow, amazing news Chris! The possibilities are now endless. I would also like to be the first to welcome our Gadgeteer cousins to the Netduino family. I can't wait to see what the future holds for the .Net Micro Framework and the collaboration of projects and ideas with Gadgeteer folk. Freedom in the form of electrons has arrived with Gobus 1.5! It's the way open-source electronics was meant to be. :D Kudos, Steve P.S. I really wish I could be at the New York Maker Faire this weekend to share in the excitement.

#5 Dave VanderWekke

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 11:42 AM

Nice work! I like the design of the board and the silk layer. Makes it easy to know which type of Gadgeteer modules work where.

For anyone who doesn't know much about the Gadgeteer modules I found this chart useful:

A - Three analog inputs, with pins number 3 and 4 doubling as general-purpose input/output. In addition, pin number 6 is a general-purpose input/output, and pin number 3 supports interrupt capabilities.

I - I2C interface. Pins 8 and 9 are the dedicated I2C data (SDA) and clock (SCL) lines. Note that a mainboard should include pull-up resistors for these pins, in the region of 2.2K Ohms. Modules must not include their own pull-ups on these lines. In addition, pins 3 and 6 are general-purpose input/outputs, with pin 3 supporting interrupt capabilities.

K - UART (serial line) interface operating at TTL levels, with hardware flow control capabilities. Pin 4 (TX) is data from the mainboard to the module, and pin 5 (RX) is data from the module to the mainboard. These lines are idle high (3.3V), and can double as general-purpose input/outputs. Pin 6 (RTS) is an output from the mainboard to the module, indicating that the module may send data. Pin 7 (CTS) is an output from the module to the mainboard indicating that the mainboard may send data. The RTS/CTS are 'not ready' if high (3.3V) and 'ready' if low (0V). In addition, pins 3 is a general-purpose input/output, supporting interrupt capabilities.

U - UART (serial line) interface operating at TTL levels. Pin 4 (TX) is data from the mainboard to the module, and pin 5 (RX) is data from the module to the mainboard. These lines are idle high (3.3V), and can double as general-purpose input/outputs. In addition, pins 3 and 6 are general-purpose input/outputs, with pin 3 supporting interrupt capabilities.

O - Analog output on pin 5. In addition, pins 3 and 4 are general-purpose input/outputs, and pin 3 includes interrupt capabilities.

P - Three pulse-with modulated (PWM) outputs on pins 7, 8 and 9. Pins 7 and 9 double as GPIOs. In addition, pin 3 is an interrupt-capable GPIO, and pin 6 is a GPIO.

S - Serial peripheral interface (SPI). Pin 6 is the chip-select (CS) line, pin 7 is the master-out/slave-in (MOSI) line, pin 8 is the master-in/slave-out (MISO) line, and pin 9 is the clock (SCK) line. In addition, pins 3, 4 and 5 are general-purpose input/outputs, with pin 3 supporting interrupt capabilities.

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#6 supra

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 11:58 AM

How did u connected 8x8 dotmatrix to GoBus? Can i do 8x32

#7 carb

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 12:49 PM

Chris and Elfs, Great job, Looks like I might have something other than coal under the Christmas tree this year. Have a great time at the Makers Faire. Then get back to work, please. B) Chuck

#8 caEstrada

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:28 PM

Simply fantastic.

#9 Mike Hole

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:53 AM

Oh my. I amlooking forward to playing with EVERYTHING. Great work Secret Labs!

#10 Chris Walker

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:07 PM

Oh thanks everyone :) We just wrapped up day one at MakerFaire last night and are heading back in just a moment. The reception to the news on GoBus Hubs was great yesterday. And Gadgeteer users were excited to hear that they could start using their existing gear with Netduino Go. A big thank you to everyone from the community that stopped by (including Erik and our Japanese friends who all took photos). For those who are headed to MakerFaire today...we'd love to meet you too! Chris

#11 DannyC

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 09:38 PM

Awesome news and can't wait for these goodies! :D
DannyC

#12 Christopher Clark

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 12:25 AM

Along with the 8-port hub, we'll also be enabling Netduino Go itself to be a wireless hub using an XBee link. Simply plug XBee Adapter GoModules into two Netduino Go mainboards and you can make one the extension of the other. It's pretty awesome. We'll be sharing video of that feature in action in the near future.


Will this work the same way as the Netduino Go and Shield Base proxy example?
Where the primary transmits it's functions async over serial via byte arrays to the secondary?

#13 Chris Walker

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 03:52 AM

Hi Christopher,

Will this work the same way as the Netduino Go and Shield Base proxy example?
Where the primary transmits it's functions async over serial via byte arrays to the secondary?

Good question, thanks for asking about this.

Yes, all the data will use the GoBus frame format and GoBus profiles, just like the Shield Base does today. In fact, the XBee wireless hub option is why we're keeping the Shield Base on UART transport for a little bit extra time. We want to make sure that the transport is functioning really well in the field (since we'll use the same code with XBee as well).

The secondary Netduino Go will be receiving hub profile commands, just like a physically-connected hub. That profile will wrap other gobus packets so that they make it to their destination (which can be directly connected to the hub or can be downstream even farther).

Chris

#14 ErikN

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:31 AM

I was at the booth for a short time yesterday and from overhearing just a few people it was clear people were very happy to know they could use just one board and the hub to use all the modules. It would seem there was some frustration with the number of choices out there. The dilema of choice. I'm incredibly excited to see a unifying solution! I really think this will be overall a very good thing for users. Kudos.

#15 SoundWave

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:10 PM

What's the expected time frame for the hub, when will it be available? I see you say that they'll be a part of GoBus 2.0 and realize that 1.5 just came out but was just wondering what the expected time frame is. Thanks, Chris

#16 Chris Walker

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:18 PM

Hi Chris,

What's the expected time frame for the hub, when will it be available? I see you say that they'll be a part of GoBus 2.0 and realize that 1.5 just came out but was just wondering what the expected time frame is.

We'll work through the hub profile using a second Netduino Go as a hub this winter (via a serial/XBee link) and then use those profiles on the production hub hardware.

The eight-port hub module should ship by the spring.

There are three major new features coming with GoBus 2.0: hubs, power injectors, and a hub-related surprise.

Chris

#17 Christopher Clark

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 07:56 PM

The secondary Netduino Go will be receiving hub profile commands, just like a physically-connected hub. That profile will wrap other gobus packets so that they make it to their destination (which can be directly connected to the hub or can be downstream even farther).


How much of this is based in C# serial code vs. using Zigbee source / destination configuration?
Is this approach XBee specific?
Are there any other Zigbee compatible devices frequently used in the Arduino/Netduino community which are not XBee?
Could another serial connection other than XBee be used with the code?
Could two Netduino Go boards be wired up over TX/RX for example and use this code?

#18 Chris Walker

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 08:00 PM

Hi Christopher,

How much of this is based in C# serial code vs. using Zigbee source / destination configuration?
Is this approach XBee specific?
Are there any other Zigbee compatible devices frequently used in the Arduino/Netduino community which are not XBee?

The wireless hub feature could work under any asynchronous transport. In this case we'll simply be using a SerialPort.

So you'll pair the two boards using XBee pairing. And then the Netduino Go acting as a hub will be directing packets to/from the appropriate module.

The Arduino/Netduino community typically uses XBee for 802.15.4-based communication. Generally with the Serial Port profile.

Chris

#19 ransomhall

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 01:54 AM

Diehard Gadgeteer geek here. So the adapter news finally got me to pull the trigger on a GO. I've got a bunch of gadgeteer modules and have even made a few of my own available over on tinyclr.com. My initial question is this - I'm guessing existing Gadgeteer drivers will have to be ported to Go style to work with this adapter, correct? I would like to get a general sense from Chris or others what you think the development effort will be to make gadgeteer modules behave on a Go. While I wait for the board to arrive, I'll dig into the GO specs to see if I can come up with my own answer, as well. Thanks! Eric

#20 Ian Lee

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:25 AM

Chris, This is great news. As awesome as I think it is, I've been trying to resist Go! simply because I didn't need another bucket to dump my money into with so much already invested in Gadgeteer. It's nice to know this can be eliminated as a concern. I'm curious to hear your answer to ransomhall's question. I don't imagine the Gadgeteer providers are going to be interested in providing Go! drivers. So, I suspect there would still be a community effort involved in porting drivers. Congrats! Ian




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