Thursday, August 7, 2008

My first steps in embedded programming

Since I've always been interested in automatisation (domotics) and because I saw the introduction of a new module regarding embedded programming of GHI Electronics, I've bought a development board that makes it able to program through the .NET Micro Framework.

In the beginning I even had never heard of .NET Micro Framework, didn't know that it existed.

I got really excited because this board provides all kinds of interfaces you can think of, analog in/outputs, digital in/outputs, USB interfaces, Ethernet port, serial ports, parallel ports, etc..., even a little Piezo (=speaker) where you can buzz around with ;)

You can program managed in the micro framework, and when you deploy it, the framework uploads the code to the board, and then you can test it standalone.
It's great for making 'smart' devices, and since you can address the FAT file system on USB thumb drives/SD Cards, makes it possible that you can go really far in it.

The device also supports strong keyed assemblies, if you don't have a the right key, then the board will be flashed :) (Which is great :d, except when you've lost it...)

Here are some images of the device:

This is the development board, as you can see, all kinds of ports are present on it.

This is the master module, that contains the code (firmware).
It has also a lot of pins, where you can attach you own electronics on, if you know what you are doing :) The pins are located on the left and richt side of the PCB.
This module is located under the LCD display of the development board.

At the time of writing I've successfully succeeded at letting a LED blink on the board with a given frequency, and even fading of the LED worked ;)
I know, it's stupid but you have to start somewhere :)