Can more sockets be added?

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been going back and forth between the Netdunio Go and the Fez Spider. I also looked at Hydra but currently decided on the Premium hardware for the easy wifi and sql, even though I really want the speed of Hydra.

Anyways, I like the FEZ line much better although I REALLY like the GoBus concept. Each port is the same and there are extender boards. The main reason I like it is that I can have many sockets and add more later, and that I’m not limited to a specific port type for a givin module.

I’ve been building a list of modules I want to use on a FEZ board (for my particular application) and keep running out of sockets. So is there (or something in the pipeline) a way to add more sockets to a Fez board?


Well the best way for you to go then in my opinion would be to use a G120 SOM or board like the FEZ Cobra II. The FEZ Cobra II would be the easiest for you, and it gives you access to plenty of header pins that can be wired to a gadgeteer socket using the breakout or extender boards. The G120 SOM would allow you to completely customize the available sockets on the board, but it would require the creation of a carrier board.

Both options would still use the G120, which is slower than the hydra, but at 120MHz, it is the fastest premium board we currently produce.

@ Hoss - what type of sockets do you need? The DL40 with some extender modules might do the trick depending on your requirements.

This does look more flexible, although like you said, with some additional work making my own socket breakouts from the pins. However, if I read the diagrams right, I think I’m still limited in A, S and I pins. These seem to be the sockets I keep running out of.

Hmm, that does look promising. Do I have to write my own code for the DL40’s processor? For example, what all would it take to connect an S socket module to the DL40?

Please give us a list of modules you need connected simoltaiously.

I will peek in future product list to see if we have what you need :slight_smile:

A = AnalogIn socket - always going to be limited. If you need a lot of Analog in, you need a multiplexer chip in front of it.

I = I2C bus. It’s a Bus. Put many things on the bus, and you’re good - you just need unique addresses for each of them.

S = SPI. SPI needs shared bus lines, plus a fixed CS line per device. The Gadgeteer module is somewhat “limited” since you can’t use more than one really, as the CS line is in a fixed position. Can easily be worked around with a planned circuit.

In your scenario I would seriously consider a Cobra II (plus a handful of breakout modules, and a strip of .1" perfboard) and wire it all up manually

@ Hoss - Well I have an existing custom firmware that exposed raw IO very easily, so you could use that firmware directly for things like digital I/O, Analog Input, PWM pulse counters and interrupts. I have not done anything for SPI ?yet?, one reason being efficiency because you would be going I2C->SPI and back, I will probably add this for completeness for low throughput cases, but SPI might need more specialized approach than the current general purpose I/O firmware.

Here are some links
Codeshare - DL40 I/O Module Firmware :
Codeplex (latest code) :

I will keep the codeshare updated with pre-built binaries, but the code will now evolve on codeplex.

The DL40’s LPC1113 chip has 2 SPI pins, so using an extender you could expose those on a Gadgeteer socket, and have a custom firmware that manages the SPI interface.

Sure, here is my initial list. I say initial because there are several others I’m interested in in the future.
[ul]Ethernet (if going with Hydra)
128x160 LCD
2 Line Display
LED Matrix
Multicolor LED
WiFi (if going with Spider)
IR Receiver
Camera (H or U depending spider/Hydra)
LCD + Touch
Music Module
SD Card
8 Channel ADC
Motor Controller[/ul]

Attached image are the couple most recent configurations I’ve come up with for Spider and Hydra (based on available sockets vs priority of needed modules), but out of sockets. :slight_smile:

Most of your needs are for simple X or Y sockets. This is easy to expand! We got some ideas for near future. I recommend to get a Spider for now and check back in near fitire for expand-ability options :slight_smile:

Thanks Gus (and everyone else) for the info. I think I might go with Spider, although still considering Hydra… and maybe Cobra II with WiFi. Choices. Bah!

One thing that might help is DaisyLink. Does each DaisyLink module connected together have to be the same modules? For example, can you connect Spider > Smart LED > DL40 > LEDMatrix? Can the end device not be DaisyLink (as long as its X or Y type)?

You can mix and match daisy link modules on the same bus.

If you are very comfortable with NETMF and completely understand gadgeteer and willing to do custom drivers then FEZ Cobra is the way to go. If you want plug and play with ease, then Spider is the way.

This is my personal opinion of course. Please study the products well before you order.

I think the DaisyLink stuff is going to help me get the top priority items I want. That and using Ethernet (connected to an Ethernet to Wifi bridge) socket to free up the S socket used by wifi. This also means that I should be able to move to Hydra (will just need to evaluate the importance of SQL for my application).

Earlier someone mentioned I2C can be chained. Does that mean I could connect multiple extenders (and add a socket to each one) to connect multiple I modules to one I socket on the mainboard? If so, what changes to software would I need to make to set/specify the address of each I2C module?

I2C uses an address of the DEVICE. Typically each device has it’s own address hard “coded” into it; some times you can have address lines for the chip that allow you to change the address it responds to - but in Gadgeteer modules, that’s unlikely. Read up on I2C here

Thanks again everyone with all the info! I placed my order for a Hydra and several modules. I still had to narrow the scope of what all modules I plan to start with, but the DaisyLink system helped a lot. I hope to see more DaisyLink modules in the future!

And FYI, GHI’s quality offerings and active forum support, and the help from everyone else in this very active community made the choice easy as far as GHI vs Netdunio Go.

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Welcome to the community!

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