FEZ Hydra, a product update and clarification

The open source FEZ Hydra is arguably one of the most complex open source designs made with EAGLE! From the start, we made sure everything was designed with tools that are easily accessible to the open source community. Not only was the hardware designed using EAGLE, but the software can be compiled with an open source GCC compiler.

Today, we are announcing an update to the FEZ Hydra. The new FEZ Hydra+ is 100% backward compatible with the original FEZ Hydra but it exposes all signals on 0.1"-spaced-pads allowing users to use these signals through NETMF directly and easily, without going through Gadgeteer. Of course, the sockets are still available for those wanting to use .NET Gadgeteer. The new 100% compatible FEZ Hydra+ replaces the original FEZ Hydra; however, the original FEZ Hydra will be available for purchase until the end of this year.

At $30, the board sells at near cost, as a “thank you” from us to the open source community. However, a clarification is needed here, especially to our commercial customers. FEZ Hydra was designed using simple tools that are easily accessible to the open source community. These tools do not provide signal integrity checks and the board did not go though FCC/CE testing, like we do with our System on Modules. The noise on the original FEZ Hydra and FEZ Hydra+ can interfere with the system, such as in networking, and cause random, but very rare, failures. We would also like reiterate that the boards sell at near cost to help developers and the open source community get into NETMF at lower cost and it is not meant to be used commercially. There is no guarantee we will continue on developing the FEZ Hydra software.

Due to the reasons above, we will be adding a “for non-commercial use” wording in the device name in the software. However, this does not prohibit you from using the FEZ Hydra commercially, but it is not recommended that you do so. Please contact us directly with any related questions or concerns.

FEZ Hydra will continue to be open source and all the sources are freely provided for commercial and non commercial use, as highlighted by the Apache2 and creative commons licenses. The links to the design files and source code repository are available on the product page.

FEZ Hydra+: http://www.ghielectronics.com/catalog/product/530


@ Gary - Nice!

So, apart from the pads, any differences from the original FEZ Hydra?

Sockets [em]and [/em]breakout pads — godefroi will not be happy, neither will I…

Exactly the same

Why so? You now have both options, gadgeteer or not.

It’s a pointless waste of resources. If I use sockets, it is way much more comfortable to use G-Plug, or a breakout module on a cable. Now, if I use pads, why in a world would I want an expensive socket on the board?..

A good compromise would have been a Hydra+ without sockets soldered, only socket pads exposed.

And then there will be people who can’t solder sockets and original Hydra is not available.

Hard to make everybody happy. :wink:


It should be easy for GHI to not populate the sockets…

You are paying $30 only, no matter what our cost might be. This is an excellent deal for a powerful and open source product I think. Oh, and still supports gadgeteer fit those who want it and pads for those who do not want gadgeteer.


… and its open source so you can make your own derivative should you choose. Take the Gadgeteer sockets off and shrink it and you’re done. Totally easy. Should you care.


Not really that good of a compromise if I have to solder the sockets, when my main attraction to Gadgeteer is not having to solder.

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We very easily could have not soldered the sockets but that kind of defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do. We wanted to put out a cheap open source product that gave users an easy path into NETMF, that being pure NETMF or Gadgeteer. A user can now learn both Gadgeteer and NETMF on one board with no soldering until they are ready to so.


I like the improvements, including the compromises. For prototyping its great, and keeping it open source enables moving forward to a product phase if needed.

Still not sure of anything has been done to some of the challenges on noise?

It’s not fair to say that, because we all know that I could not make it cheaper, because I do not buy things in huge quantities. I know that. But does that mean I cannot advise people of how to do things better?

How I see this new Hydra, is that it simply got $5 more expensive just because of bunch of pads. I don’t understand why this is a compromise. We already had one: Hydra for $25 and G-Plugs for $3 or something. Why wasn’t that good? Anyone interested in sockets and Gadgeteer, can buy Hydra, and [em]only then[/em], if interested enough, move to soldering. It’s even more convenient, because it’s very easy to remove any custom soldered module. And now what? GHI spent quite a good lump of money redesigning and remanufactoring a perfectly good design, but didn’t introduce anything new. Putting a few G-Plugs into Hydra’s bag would have been easier and cheaper.

With some change we made, the new design should be better as far as noise but, as we explained, we didn’t do any testing to keep the cost low.

nobody said anything about making it cheaper DIY :wink:

But have to say, I am loving my g-plugs too…

[quote=“Rajesh”]It should be easy for GHI to not populate the sockets…

Easy doesn’t always correlate to making business sense.

Hm, actually, I don’t know how I feel about the holes+sockets. It’s quite a powerful board for cheap, so while it could’ve been made a bit cheaper even, it’s probably a reasonable compromise.

Awesome, hands down my favorite NETMF mainboard and now with standard pins!

Great news, lots of available PINs and a great price.
Patiently waiting for it to be available in France.

Thank you guys!