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Netduino, Netduino Plus, Fez Panda, Arduino Deumilanove

Pete Brown - 03 October 2010

We have tons of choices in the Arduino-pin-compatible market these days. Plus, if you're a .NET programmer like me, there are several Arduino-compatible options for you. Below are a couple pictures of the four boards I have.

I no longer have a photo booth set up so what follows are two shots: one with flash and one without. From the top left, clockwise, we have the Fez Panda, the Netduino, the Netduino Plus and the Arduino Deumilanove.

Netduino, Netduino Plus, Fez Panda, Arduino Deumilanove

Netduino, Netduino Plus, Fez Panda, Arduino Deumilanove

 Fez Panda Netduino Netduino PLus Arduino Deumilanove

All boards are pin-compatible with the standard Arduino (the original open source board in this form factor). The Netduino, Netduino Plus and Fez Panda all allow you to code using Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Micro Framework 4.1. The Arduino uses a C++ -like language. Of course, all of them will let you write processor-native C++ or assembly if you want.

The Netduino and Netduino Plus use a 48mhz ARM7 Atmel 32-bit chipset. The Fez Panda uses a 72mhz ARM7 32-bit USBizi100 chipset. The Arduino Deumilanove (which has since been replaced with the Arduino Uno) uses the 20mhz 8-bit Atmel ATmega328p in recent versions. Older Arduino Deumilanove units use a 16mhz version of the chip. When I asked various folks about the core chip speed differences, I was told that incremental differences such as those seen here are not really enabling or disabling features. For the most part, to do things these boards can't do, you start jumping up into the 200mhz+ range.

The Fez Panda has a large number of additional I/O (60 ports total vs. the standard 20 pins on the other boards), left as through-holes, and a slightly faster processor. The Netduino plus has onboard Micro SD and 100mbit ethernet (in a plastic package to avoid shorting out any stacked shields)

The Netduino, Netduino Plus, and Arduino are completely open source from board layout to drivers to firmware. The Fez Panda is partially open source, with some drivers and bits left proprietary. The core .NET Micro Framework is, itself, Apache licensed and open source.

All are excellent prototyping and tinkering boards. There are other differences and similarities. For more information, see these links:

For past posts on the Netduino and the .NET Micro Framework, see these:

Microcontroller development is a ton of fun. It forces you to think about efficient ways (both in terms of memory and cpu) to perform actions. You also get to see your code running outside the confines of what we'd typically call a computer - something which can be immensely satisfying.

posted by Pete Brown on Sunday, October 3, 2010
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5 comments for “Netduino, Netduino Plus, Fez Panda, Arduino Deumilanove”

  1. Petesays:

    A very limited number of Netduino Plus units were for sale as part of the beta. It appears they have all sold out.

    You'll be able to purchase them retail (with release rather than beta firmware) around the holidays.

  2. acsays:
    For all the not seriously rich folks/unemployed, there's cheaper ways to go, which I suspect author is already done with (as speed of dev is more important than cost at first):

    Photobooth? El-cheapo camera with manual settings will do. As long as it's stable + exposure time is long enough you can get great photo in even little light provided the settings are all right. Ok maybe you did mean that having a camera with manual settings instead of a phone qualifies as a "photobooth"? Point taken.

    Netduino: I'm interested sure but not at the price these go for.

    I use $2 in single units PIC18f14k50, built in USB and 9 10 bit ADC. Programmer? $1 - official microchip LPT programmer from their datasheet, it works on 64 bit win7 to program that chip with a free software (winpicpgm). There's a project that makes that chip a USB programmer -> USB programmer for total cost of < $4 (wisp).

    It's a DIP so I'm out not a whole lot if I do a serious mistake. Actually these seem to take a little abuse as well. 9v instead of 5v vcc accident and 5v instead to 3.3v pin and they still work though I don't know if there was some subtle damage. But it's $2 easily switched DIP chip to solve that.

    The only thing I'd really like to have is the whole PIC programming & debugging experience integrated in VisualStudio. And C99 support. But as usual I suspect someone is going to be ten years late to the party. Make that eleven.
  3. Petesays:

    By "photo booth" I mean I used to have a very well lit (dedicated lights) corner with a large roll of clean white matte paper set up specifically for photography :)

    Yes, there are definitely cheaper ways to go. As you pointed out, though, you'll get no VS support. With Netduino (and other micro framework devices) you get full debugging and step-through support, plus the ability to code in something familiar (not that C is hard to pick back up)

    That said, my time is worth more than $35, as you point out. I'm interested in building things using something I'm productive with. If I'm interested in learning to code for the PIC, that's quite another story. I checked the specs; looks like a decent little chip: http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/Devices.aspx?dDocName=en533924

    The .NET Micro Framework is completely open source (Apache License). The chip/device vendors are the ones who are responsible for porting and creating a USB driver. Once they do that, the Visual Studio support comes pretty much for free; no Microsoft involvement required.

  4. acsays:
    Hello Pete. Looks like there are some more reasonable price ARM chips around at <$10 but what I looked (ARM ADuC7022) looks like it's still going to require a full board to get started (eg. no mention of USB) so that explains the cost going up quick for low volume stuff where as with the stuff available in DIP package it's feasible to just plug it into $1 piece of stripboard or even breadboard.

    I haven't really started on learning any particular arch. yet, it's more that googling for interesting projects there's quite a bit of example and code already for PIC so from getting something up quickly and modding it standpoint it still seems like reasonable way to go. Perhaps if I had some novel/original project in mind I'd look at this from similar angle. Now I'm just looking at it from the learning basics of various electronic devices that can be attached to the micro and it seems the most efficient way to do that is to take some working code and hack that.

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