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Basic Questions


Please forgive the me, I have a couple of basic questions and would like to know what you all think is the best, easiest, cleanest approach.

What I want to do is pretty simple, at least in my mind ;D

I have a Windows .NET app that looks for the status of something to change. If it changes, it does a screen pop. If I click “ack and reset” to acknologe that I read the pop, it changes the status back to normal.

What I want to do is hook up a FEZ Panda USB to the PC. If my app detects a status change, I want to send the message to the FEZ and have it display a message on a Serial display and lamp an LED. If a press a contact button on the FEZ, I want it to be like clicking the ack in the in my app and reset the status back to normal.

My question is how to go about this the easiest, cleanest way. My first thought was to try to do something to communicate with CDC. I’m alright with that I guess, just curious if there was some better way. Like I suppose the button press could be HID keyboard event?


For the most part, serial coms is fairly easy to do, but it can be a little tricky to get a high reliability library to work.

I actually just uploaded two code samples that use serial coms extensively. See RC car Serial Receiver"


Why is that Chris? I think this only applies if you are going at very high baud rates or continuous streams and you want to be able to keep up with data.
“twkisner” wants to send few bytes from his PC to show on a display, which is about 10 lines of code and FEZ and it would be very easy to do!


Gus, to your point you are right. I’m only passing a few bytes back and forth fairly infrequently , it should be easy to keep up with and I can use a low baud rate. I can even use canned messages for the display and not pass the text.

I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a better road to take. If there was something snazzier that I could take advantage of - I don’t know what I don’t know.

If I could just plug it in and have it recognized as a some other type of device and not have to worry about configuring a serial port on the Windows box. It’s not a problem for me, but if I wanted to give it to someone else, I want it to be as easy as possible (plug and play). My only issue is I do need it to be bi-directional. Keyboard/Mouse/Joystick is usually one way.


There are a couple of starting points on this for you - FezTerm project for instance.


Serial cdc port would seem to be a good fit as you say. Potential issue I see is plug-and-pray on the Win side. The comm port is dynamic assigned after you plug in device, so you can’t really “know” it before hand in code on the win side. You could always connect to last comm in the list, but that is not full solution either. In FezTerm, I just used a list current ports for this reason.


Thanks! I found the FezTerm project (and watched the video). I’ll check out the code. I’m sure it will be helpful.


Thank you very much William and Brett for the suggestion of looking at FezTerm.

That made it very easy to do what I wanted to do and debug the work, so I just went and based the whole project around it.

I posted the project and the source code to NETMFPROJECTS:


That is pretty sweet :clap:
300 points are added


Very cool. Glad FezTerm actually helped someone. Pay it forward. :slight_smile:


I’ve found that almost nothing is better than having someone appreciate your work enough to use it :slight_smile:

I very much hope the OCS examples help someone out in the future. For my demo, I needed it to be OCS, but I’m going to make a native Lync SDK version next week if I have time.


Did you see Andrej’s OCS indicator “wall panel” project?
has the reference back to the Fez post


Yes, I did see it. If you look on the project page for mine, I reference that I stole the whole idea from him :slight_smile: I had never heard of the FEZ boards before I saw that video, I totally ripped off the idea from him and freely admit it. I totally ripped off FezTerm to do it and I freely admit that too :slight_smile:

There was two things I wanted to make different his:

  1. The Chirstmas lights was way cool, but not something I can get away with in my office. Plus, while it’s neat that he has the Presence for his entire contact list on the wall, really for visual representation for someone else visiting my office I just want them to see my Presence plus status, like “on the phone”.

  2. Unless I missed it, Andrej didn’t post his source code anywhere except for the driver for the GE lights. I wanted this to be easily duplicable and show how really easy it was to use the OCS API and the FEZ boards. Like I said, the Christmas lights was really freaking cool, but if you look his breadboard in the video and then realize there is no source code for it, it doesn’t scream to the novice “I can do that!”. It would take someone longer to install C# Express on their PC than duplicate mine.