I've started tinkering around with the .NET micro framework and wanted to share my experiences with it as well as other general .Net code whilst not littering my other blog with .Net specific as that blog is supposed to be more about my products. I had IImplement.Net laying around not doing anything so I decided to put it to good use.
One of my interests is the hardware and software combination so I was really excited to see Microsoft release the .NET micro framework and that I can build a peripheral for the PC and write the code for it in C# using Visual Studio then push it down to a embedded device as well as writing the application running on the PC in C# as well.
My background is Chemistry and a particular interest is lab automation and instrumentation, I'm also into home automation as a result some of the postings will reflect this.
.Net Micro Framework Hardware:
It's mid 2009 and these times are hard, I don't have £300+ to spend on a development kit and I guess many of you don't either, so I wanted to start with something that was well priced, easy to upgrade, had good features and more over that would be usable in a standalone product.
Introducing the Meridian/P:
This is a tiny (2”x2”) prototype board (the Meridian is even smaller!) available from device solutions.net which looked perfect for what I wanted. It's a heavily cut down version of the Tahoe-II with connectors for the IO and TFT screen, a single user switch & led plus a mini-Usb B socket, 8MB SDRAM, 4MB flash and that's basically it, the rest is down to your electronics and programming skills to use the 27 GPIO pins with RS232, SPI, I2C and PWM functions.
The thing I also really liked about the Meridian/P is that it's something I could easily use in a final working product (perhaps not a commercial one) as it really has little extra on it and the price is good (with shipping and tax it cost me £82 for a single board), the Meridian CPU looks like it would be more than happy going into a commercial product and is even cheaper.
Typical current consumption for the device is 5mA/2.6mA for 5V/3V which also makes it ideal for small projects, even battery powered ones.
There are a number of other prototype systems available, one of the reasons it's taken me till V3 of the framework is finding a decent development kit at a price I was willing to pay, now there are a couple of basic solutions and some really good ones for a bit more, the options are becoming better all the time.
Here's some photo's of the Meridian/P and Schmart Board(tm)'s that I hope to build up some fun bits on.
Packaging for the Meridian/P
Meridian/P with 2 AA Batteries to give an idea of it's size.
A SchmartBoard(tm) physically (not electrically) connected.
SchmartBoards(tm) and Meridian/P.