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Pete Brown

Member Since 27 Sep 2010
Offline Last Active May 09 2015 04:44 AM

#62456 "We are makers" video from Build 2015

Posted by Pete Brown on 05 May 2015 - 07:34 PM

Video I scripted/directed for the Build 2015 keynote. The robot Colin controls with the phone has a Netduino 2 inside.



Top photo of robot:





#60095 Windows on Devices? When?

Posted by Pete Brown on 13 September 2014 - 12:08 AM

Steve Teixeira's presentation at Build 2014 covers the hierarchy/pyramid, and reasons for each.



We're working on improving performance on NETMF so Chris and others can take better advantage of the MCU (it's not a CPU, there's a difference in mindset there) power available.


I don't know of anything new coming in time for the Maker Faire in Europe. All of our OS products are on the same shipping train at this point.


Pick the board that works best for you. Some like Arduino. Some like Netduino. Some prefer to work with a full OS like Linux or Windows. Boards that can run full Windows Embedded (like Minnowboard Max) are getting smaller and more powerful as well. At the same time, Pared down versions of Linux can work on MCUs like the one on the Pi, and Intel is doing things to shrink previous CPUs down to MCU SOC form factor and function. No table is going to cover all that, and I'm not going to try to convince you to pick one over the other in any broad way. Go by the requirements of your project and the skills you have or want to build.



#60067 Small update from the .net MF team

Posted by Pete Brown on 11 September 2014 - 05:23 AM

We're at the point where we're working on the logistics of the announcement, so it won't be much longer.



#60066 Windows on Devices? When?

Posted by Pete Brown on 11 September 2014 - 05:21 AM

I am disappointed in all of them at the moment.


How long have we been hearing of new MF support coming real soon?


Either people can not estimate things, or they intentionally underestimate. In either case these are the same management teams doing the work, so I have to assume their product is as solid as their estimates, or best case as over sold.


Or is there intentional under funding? 


Either way, it does anything but inspire confidence.


I'll try to be as transparent as possible here.


It absolutely is coming. I don't think we ever said "soon" in the past. I'm just about positive Steve didn't, especially given he knows when the development is scheduled during the year. But, if we did, that was our mistake.


We moved the MF team back to the right place as part of the early 2014 reorgs. There was a period of time when we were trying to figure out where NETMF sits in our strategy, and who should own it (it was originally part of the .NET team before we moved it into a different support group). We even called Chris and Gus to provide feedback to us, explain their take on it, etc. With their help, we were able to make NETMF a key part of our IoT/Embedded portfolio and bring it into the right group.


The main delay you've seen is we've been working with our MS Open Tech group to fix the OSS approach to make it far easier for the actual community to contribute to NETMF. We didn't want to start announcing investments until we had that in place.


There will be announcements soon. Small at first, but you'll see that start to build over time. Given the number of ports of NETMF, its reach, etc. these may not come as quickly as with some other products, but that is not representative of any lack of commitment or funding. I can absolutely say to you that we are *more* committed to NETMF now than we were even when you saw the 4 ->4.x releases. 


Responding to some other comments I saw:


At Microsoft, we don't think of Windows on Devices and NETMF as competing solutions. They overlap, but each have very distinct sweet spots. Yes, WoD is C++/Win32/Wiring right now. Our intent is to have it be part of our Universal App Platform story (.NET, C++, JS), but we're not there yet. You don't yet see .NET or WinRT on there because we need to create special builds without MMX or SSE optimizations in place. It doesn't make sense for us to do that as a one-off right now when we should focus on the long-term goal.


Knowing this, I challenged Jeremiah Morrill to get Mono working on the Galileo, and for the most part, he has. I hooked him up with another developer in my org so that they can get the GPIO and similar functions working as well. Jeremiah has *zero* device experience. To him, that was just another Windows box. That's the compelling story there. It's Windows.


NETMF, on the other hand, is for people who don't want all the overhead of an operating system, and the chipset support or power requirements to run one. Netduino is to WoD as Arduino is to Raspberry Pi. The Pi didn't make the Arduino inferior or less useful. Similarly, the WoD program doesn't make NETMF or Netduino less useful or somehow inferior. Given that, there's really no need to defend NETMF and disparage WoD, or otherwise form camps -- they're all cool things to build your solutions on.



Windows Compact Embedded is our only certified RTOS, in case you *really* need RTOS in something.


Hope that helps



#57279 Microsoft Build 2014 (and Netduino SDK for Azure)

Posted by Pete Brown on 01 April 2014 - 08:03 PM

Yes, the IoT session will be online later this week. Worth watching for sure :)



#46871 Nintendo Gamepad module for Netduino Go

Posted by Pete Brown on 08 March 2013 - 06:46 AM

Arron talked me into doing this board tonight (I should be writing presentations, but this is a welcome way to procrastinate). It's an interface for the classic Nintendo controller/gamepad.


This is the back side. The gamepad connectors go on the opposite side.


Posted Image


The board will be black. The 3d renderer in DipTrace seems to think that solder mask is mostly transparent.


No GoBus logo on the board yet. I need to talk to Chris about that.


I did a similar board for the .NET Gadgeteer, but obviously without the GoBus logic on-board. This is what the Gadgeteer board looks like. The GoBus module will be a little larger both to accommodate the on-board chip and also to provide better stability.


Posted Image

Parallax is the sole supplier of the connectors. I have a huge bag of them. They also sell controllers (I have a bunch of those as well, specifically to help folks overseas not to have to pay for shipping from two places.)


GoBus processor is an STM8S. The other components are all caps.



#46770 MIDI Module for GoBus

Posted by Pete Brown on 06 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

Thanks all.


To answer some of the questions:



The JTAG connector is for me during development. For the real module, I'd do the firmware upgrades over the usual GoBus mechanisms. I wouldn't expect a typical user to have any need for this connector.



Yes, this would let you hook up a keyboard and control the Netduino Go, or (the more practical approach) let the Netduino Go control one or more synthesizer modules. The primary use-case for this is the mother of all sequencers, but you can bite off much smaller chunks for smaller projects.



The isolator I'm trying out (important to note that I'm trying it out, I haven't yet proven it will work with MIDI) is this:

Silicon Labs Si8711AC-B-IS. It's new technology, comparatively priced, and includes the pull-up resistor in the package. It's also much smaller and much faster than a 6n138/7. Pinout is different here only because it's the one with the built-in resistor, otherwise it's a drop-in replacement (in a smaller package).


Instead of using an LED, it emulates one using an RF carrier. Pretty clever.


It has a lot of other really nice attributes. If you're familiar with opto isolators, check out the data sheet.



Now, for an update:


I couldn't get to sleep last night because I had an idea that I had to try out, and my wife was up coughing. I hopped out of bed and banged out two simple boards which have been submitted to DFRobot for manufacturing.


What I've decided to do is make this whole approach more modular and much more flexible. I've designed a couple DIN boards which have two, three, four, or six 5 pin DIN connectors on them. Here's the six connector version and the four connector version (the only two currently designed, but two and three connector versions will be essential)


Posted Image


Now the GoBus module simply has a number of connectors which you can use for the DIN board (and other things).


This lets you use the DIN board if you want, or panel-mounted DIN connectors if you prefer (more practical in some setups), but more importantly, lets you allocate the DIN sockets any way you want, as long as the main module supports it. Finally, it helps reduce potentially long runs of GoBus cables by instead using longer runs for the much slower MIDI and DIN connections. All the mounting holes are on 5mm centers, so if you want a stable platform to play with the stuff, you can use the ones from Nwazet or Tamiya (and presumably others).



#46735 MIDI Module for GoBus

Posted by Pete Brown on 06 March 2013 - 08:30 AM

Hi All


I'm in the middle stages of getting a GoBus module put together for one MIDI input and 3 MIDI outputs.


The intent is for this to be a great board for creating your own MIDI controllers, arpeggiators, sequencers, and interfaces.


I don't have any code for this written (I've written both native and managed MIDI libraries in the past, however, including one for .NET Gadgeteer, so I have quite a bit of experience there), but I expect to have at least the following features:

  • Splitting/Routing MIDI in to Any of the outs based on different rules (message type, channel, etc.). This includes soft-thru without the messages having to be processed by your C#/VB code.
  • Generating a 24ppqn clock pulse on the CLK corresponding to incoming MIDI clock messages (this is useful for some other modules I'm working on).
  • Automatic responding to active sense messages from within module code (you can switch this on/off)
  • On-module filtering by different rules (message type, channel, etc.). This is especially helpful to avoid spamming the relatively slow NETMF side with clock messages or, if you don't want them, pitch bend and other continuous controller stuff.
  • A message-based API for NETMF allowing you to respond to incoming messages from MIDI.IN.1
  • A message-based API for NETMF allowing you to send messages out through any combination of MIDI.OUT ports
  • Automatic message assembly on-module before they are sent to your code. This greatly simplifies the NETMF code as it doesn't have to worry about interrupted or partial messages.

In general, all the time-critical functions and filtering happen in native code on the module, and rather than expose virtualized UARTs, I'm going with the stream protocol. This will help eliminate the lag issues I had with my other MIDI module.


Attached is the current layout. I had it ready to send to production until Chris talked me into putting a crystal on board, and dealing with startup power, so now it's a mess and isn't properly routed. :) You get the idea, though.


Here's the image from yesterday, routed, without crystal. U2 is a new component I'm testing to replace 6n138 opto isolation for MIDI. It's much smaller and much faster. It's typically used for USB isolation, as I understand it. If it doesn't work, I'll go with a 6n138/6n137, despite their large DIP-8 size.


Posted Image


I don't have a release date or pricing for this board yet. It's the first of a group of related modules which could be used together to produce some pretty cool music-related devices.


On-board processor is a STM32F205, plenty powerful enough for quite a bit of on-module processing.


I'm trying to wrap up the board this week so I can send it off for prototype manufacturing before I head to India on the 15th. If you have requests related to this board (or other related modules), let me know.



Attached Files

#35938 GoBus 1.5 Protocol Analyzer Plugins for Saleae Logic

Posted by Pete Brown on 25 September 2012 - 02:23 AM


#33030 My first Netduino GO module

Posted by Pete Brown on 02 August 2012 - 08:24 PM

Sent my prototype pcb order to Seeed. Kept it on the cheap for this test run (green boards, less than $1 each in qty 10). BTW, why is importing graphics into PCB software so hard? I couldn't find a single package that would import something like an SVG (which is already vectors) or a bitmap without requiring a blood donation. The bitmap import user script in Eagle turns out to be a complete train wreck- it creates a rectangle per pixel - impossible to move, scale, rotate, anything. I finally gave up and drew the graphics in Eagle itself. I hate that package -- it's getting in my way. Oh, and forget trying to move parts of a shape to another layer. I wanted to hide all those component outlines, but unfortunately, the OSHW logo was on the same layer. You can't easily change what layer the logo is on because it's defined as part of the part. :/ Attached File  ngo_joy_module_prototype_design.jpg   496.96KB   30 downloads Pete

#32962 My first Netduino GO module

Posted by Pete Brown on 01 August 2012 - 04:55 AM

Anyone want to take a wild guess as to what it may be? Hint: if you know my interests, the answer will be obvious :) Sending out for some PCBs soon (after I give this a once-over) so I can build one up and see if it actually works. I have two weeks worth of events coming up, so sending this out now will mean I have something fun to do when I get back. Attached File  pcb_routing_complete.jpg   239.25KB   87 downloads Pete

#27404 Building custom go!bus modules for Netduino Go

Posted by Pete Brown on 16 April 2012 - 07:57 PM

I just put up a post that has the links Chris provided, as well as some others. It also includes what I've found to be an effective approach for soldering these sockets.

Hopefully that helps someone.

  • czi likes this

#26746 MIDI Module now has a UART-mode Module Driver

Posted by Pete Brown on 08 April 2012 - 09:00 PM

I just finished porting the .NET Gadgeteer code to both the Netduino Classic/Plus and to the new Netduino GO. Initial loopback tests all work fine.

All drivers are in the source tree on my codeplex site here:

I'll zip them up or create an MSI or something once I've done a little more testing. You can see the MIDI module with both the Netduino Plus and Netduino GO here:
http://petebrown.cod...tle=MIDI Module

You can order a MIDI module (kit or assembled) using the instructions here:

I'll eventually have a native GO!bus version, but that's going to take a bit.


Attached Files

#26707 My writeup on the Netduino GO

Posted by Pete Brown on 08 April 2012 - 06:06 AM


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