If you’re not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, you should consider investigating it because it packs a great deal of power in a package the size of a credit card, all for $35 (or $25 without Ethernet):
- 700 MHz ARM A processor
- 512MB of RAM
- HDMI & composite video outputs
- Stereo output
- 10/100 Mbps Ethernet jack
- 2 USB ports
- GPIO port (standard 0.1″ pins, 3v3 tolerant only)
- SD card reader (required for booting)
Amazing, isn’t it? We think so too.
The Raspberry Pi is an actual computer, capable of running an Operating System, may it be Linux, Unix, RISC OS, Plan 9 or yet something else altogether. Some folks even run emulated PDP-11 and IBM mainframes on it, just because they can :). But the best part about the Raspberry Pi is the huge community of users and ‘Friends of Pi’ who have rallied around it, who support it, who contribute daily fixes. Above all, what sets the Raspberry Pi apart, is the commitment of the Raspberry Pi Foundation to educate and empower kids about what computing can be about: a tool for creating, not just consuming content, a tool for shaping ideas, one line of code at a time, one shell command at a time. Hopefully, it will be a tool for making the world a more open and better place. In many ways, the effervescent energy level around the Raspberry Pi reminds me of the early days of Arduino and it feels great to be a small part of it and contributing to it.
One of my personal projects for the Raspberry Pi involves building and automating a small hydroponic herb and vegetable green house for my wife and documenting every step of the process along the way. Here’s the very first piece of it, composed of a Raspberry Pi, a Nwazet Pi power supply, a prototype Nwazet relay board (6 x 16 Amp relays), a custom gang of 6 independent outlets and two always-on outlets. I’ll describe the project and this specific piece in details next time.
In this video, I demonstrate how to build a simple breakout board to connect a Go! module to an FTDI ‘USB to Serial’ breakout board for the purpose of updating the module’s firmware. The application used to download the firmware to the module is provided by ST Microelectronics. This method has been tested with ARM Cortex Mx and STM8S chips and works very reliably.
Our Nwazet Data Acquisition module (DAQ for short) is designed for Netduino Go! users looking for a simple, cost-effective platform for integrating analog and digital I/Os, off-the-shelf I2C sensors, time tracking, SDHC storage (up to 16GB) and serial communications to their projects.
When we set out to design the DAQ module 5 months ago, we put a great deal of thought into the real-world scenarios shared by our customers when Netduino Go! launched and how many wanted to apply the power of the .Net Micro Framework in the context of rapid system prototyping, light industrial control systems, home automation, hydroponic growing systems, security systems, UAVs, robots and of course, Internet-connected devices.
The first design choice we made was to choose an extremely robust spring-loaded wire connection system, providing power, data and ground on every port where they’re needed. On ports that are 5v and 3.3v tolerant, both power types are available. Because each wire is held securely in its place with strong springs that can only be released by applying pressure with a very small screwdriver, communications are more reliable and power to sensors and analog devices is more stable than in conventional systems using female pin headers. In addition, our spring-loaded wiring system enabled us to design a smaller and lighter board than would have been possible with screw connectors.
Our second design choice was to enable our customers to leverage the large array of existing I2C-compliant sensors on the market today without having to wait long development cycles for similar Go! modules to be brought to market. To this end, we have partnered with Adafruit to provide a variety of useful I2C sensors that work ‘out-of-the-box’ with our DAQ module in order to help you get started quickly with your designs. We are also committed to developing a comprehensive driver library for popular sensors from Adafruit and other vendors over time.
Our third design choice was to place user-controllable status LEDs on each I/O port of the DAQ module, allowing for a simple and effective method of providing user feedback from an application at no additional cost and without consuming the DAQ’s digital I/Os for that purpose alone. We also embedded extensive sub-system diagnostics into the DAQ, available on-demand, in plain English through the serial port to help with troubleshooting issues in the field as well as easing the development of custom application drivers.
Our final design choice was to provide a complete, easy to hack system, with SDHC storage, a real-time clock, optional external power, and above all, capable of being used as a stand-alone 48Mhz ARM-Cortex M0 micro-controller programmable in C/C++ using a standard 0.1″ JTAG/SWD pin header. In fact, an STM32F051 Discovery board, costing less than $10, was used for its embedded STLink/V2 interface throughout the entire development of the DAQ module firmware.
We believe that you’ll find this module extremely useful in unlocking the full potential of Netduino Go! and building amazing applications right now. We also have a feature road map for the DAQ module and you can expect to see more smart functions, performance improvements and your very own feedback embedded in upcoming versions of the firmware. Last but not least, the DAQ module will be ready to leverage Go!Bus protocol advancements when the time comes.
The second article of the series that I’m writing about using Arduino Shields on the Netduino was just posted. In it, I took an AdaFruit Arduino Logger Shield and walked through the process of making it work with a Netduino / Plus. The code coming with the article provides ‘out of the box’ functionality for the device and can be easily customized to record any kind of data.
I started writing a series of articles for Channel9 on interfacing Arduino shields with the Netduino / Plus. The first installment discusses how to identify Arduino shields that are good candidates for a Netduino adaptation and walks through the process of building a simple shield from scratch (click to enlarge)
We just updated our BitBucket repository with the source code of the demos and supporting drivers, libraries and designs that we showed at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire a few weeks ago, including:
- ‘Nwazet image gallery’ demo reading images from a generic SD card
- ‘Nwazet Touch Display module‘ demo
- ‘Temperature and fan control’ demo using the Nwazet relay and the Adafruit Max6675 thermocouple amp.
- ‘RGB LED display Marquee’ demo
- ‘RGB Pixel Art’ painting demo using the RGB LED display
- ‘Capture the Dot’ game demo using Sharp IR distance sensors and the RGB LED display
- ‘RGB LED display showcase’ demo
- Nwazet Adafruit Max6675 Thermocouple amplifier C# driver
- Nwazet RGB LED Display driver for the Adafruit LPD8806
- Nwazet Joystick module STM8S C driver
- Nwazet Joystick module Eagle schematics / board layout
- Nwazet Joystick module C# driver
- Nwazet SerialLib message handler
We hope that you will find this code fun and useful in getting started building real applications with Netduino Go! today: with a little bit of creativity, it is easy to adapt a wide variety of existing hardware components for integration with Netduino Go!
No need to wait: just jump in and start building and integrating :)
-Fabien & Bertrand.
Video walkthrough of the demos