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Beginner questions


#1

I am a programmer (asm, .net, c++, etc.) who is just starting to take a look at playing with hardware. I’m starting this with very little hardware knowledge but I’m trying to spin up. I apologize if these are stupid questions, but I have to start somewhere. :slight_smile:

on this page http://www.tinyclr.com/compare/ it shows the various boards and chips. All of the ‘Core Processors’ are the same. Does this mean the only difference in all of these boards are the extras that come built onto the board and the firmware controller (which I assume is the ‘processor’)? Are those differences represented in the ‘Processor’?

If I ever get a project beyond the prototype stage on any of these boards, where do I buy just the processors? All I see on the Fez Cobra description is ‘72Mhz 32 bit-ARM’ with no link to the individual processors.

I see several other projects like netduino and arduino (not .net but it is real time). How do these other projects relate to fez if at all? Arduinos seem to be pretty popular but I’m not getting the link between arduino and netduino or fez domino. Any thoughts?

What does ‘package’ mean on that page?

Any help would be appreciated.


#2

FEZ are based on Ghi Electronics’s chipsets http://www.ghielectronics.com/

Specifically, all FEZ systems apart from Cobra use the USBizi chipset. Rhino and Domino are based on the 144pin UBizi chipset, while Mini and Panda are on the 100pin one. The difference between the 100pin and 144pin one is that the 100pin one does not have USBHost capabilities, everything else is the same(cpu speed, ram and flash).

FEZ Cobra is based on the EMX module, it has the same cpu as USBizi, but has 12MB of ram and around 4.5MB of flash for your programs. Using LCD color displays costs a lot of ram, so thats why only the EMX based Cobra supports them.

The difference between say FEZ Domino and Arduino is that Domino is runs the .NET Micro Framework and Arduino runs native code(its compiler supports a number of languages, but in the end they all get compiled to native code). The thing is Domino has the same pin layout as Arduino, so you can use shields(add-on boards that you stack on top of the board) from Arduino on Domino, as long as there drivers for it.

Feature wise USBizi/Domino blows any Arduino board out of the water.

EDIT: Netduino also runs the .NET Micro Framework, but its cpu is slightly slower and it doesn’t have as many features as USBizi/Domino. And by features I mean USB Client&Host, OneWire and many many more in the GHI libs.


#3

Thank you Toshko for the extensive explanation.

For more information please take a look at FAQ section. :wink:


#4

fantastic explanations. The part about the Arduino board compatability was one I wasn’t quite understanding. I found the FAQ right after I wrote this but I wanted to get another take on it to see if I understood it.

I think I’m going to buy the Fez Cobra system as I need tft support. This should be a good way for me to get started.


#5

Go a head. It is Freakn’ Easy. And we are here to help you.
Looking forward the nice project that you will do with.