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FEZ Panda III


#1

We had an internal debate on what we should add/remove and we are getting the community involved.

Why did you love/hate in the original Panda?
What would like to see in the new Panda III?
Was having an OEM chipset (USBizi) important to you?
What did panda give that Cerbuino doesn’t?


#2

What did I love about Panda (II, I never had a I)? A lack of Gadgeteer ports. What would I like to see? A switch to MicroSD, and Micro USB. I’d also use the processor from the Cerb line.

In fact, a Cerb40 with a DC input jack, MicroSD, Micro USB, RTC enabled, and a reset button would be just about perfect.

Bonus points for having a footprint for an RTC battery holder. Super bonus points for having a 10-pin header (or footprint, at least) compatible with these: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2050601.m570.l1313.TR10.TRC2.A0.H0.Xenc28j60&_nkw=enc28j60&_sacat=0

Lastly, the Arduino footprint has way outlived its usefulness.

Wow, memory fails me. It was MicroSD. What I’d change then about that is that it wouldn’t reset when you inserted a card.


#3

@ Gus - the Panda2 was already a bit old hat when I got involved. I’ve got one and ran a few samples on it, but not much more. As such I don’t really understand how it fitted in with the line up at the time.

What I would say is that I’d rather GHI foccused on a smaller number of MCU vendors and get really skilled in getting the best out of there individual features. So be that NXP, Atmel or ST. Obviously the NXP has the synergy with your mbed side projects.


#4

I loved how the Panda 2 seemed to have most everything I needed for rapid prototyping and proof-of-concept stuff, at least as far as basic IO and control are concerned. (My applications aren’t typically concerned with LCD screens and keypads, etc.)

SD card was there to test persistent storage schemes. PWM and analog pins were sensibly exposed. There was a built-in LED to play with (blinky! blinky!) In short, the Panda II seemed like a great, self-contained introduction to NETMF.

Wishlist for Panda 3? Faster speed definitely. More serial ports maybe.

[EDIT]
I second @ godefroi’s suggestion for RTC battery holder. Also would be nice to include a beefy 3.3 and 5V supply for powering peripherals.


#5

Oh yes, RTC battery or at least the footprint for one if it’s too expensive.

Needs buttons for any firmware upgrades. I hated messing around with bits of wire when doing this. I have an original G120HDR that rarely gets used for this reason.

A few well labled LEDs are also great for testing too. No one ever uses all the GPIO anyway.


#6

There were two things I liked about the Panda I and II, but they are probably things that won’t come back: the carrier boards and the eBlocks.

The Panda I had the Tinkerer base board - the Panda II had the [other thing that I don’t remember the name of] base board. I didn’t use those on all projects, but it was nice to have one system with an expansion/breakout laying around for prototyping. I am not saying that they need to come back - just saying I liked them.

I also liked eBlocks. The expansion shield with simple 3 or 4 wire interfaces was simple and Fezzy. Of course, that’s what I like about gadgeteer too. But the eBlock cable made it really easy to wire up just about anything - even if you needed multiple cables to connect a single component (like a joystick). Again, not saying that they need to come back - I just liked them.

In those days I ran about 100 engineers through beginner .netmf classes and each one took away a kit that they used for all kinds of projects.

I like Gadgeteer. I like the plug and play, drag and drop, good drivers for everything. Panda was made in a way that made you think you could connect anything, not just things from the catalog. Yes, you can do that in many ways with Gadgeteer boards - there is no limitation - but the Pandas encouraged it.


#7

@ Gus - I heard you say to stop making new stuff, and keep focus and increase quality?? :whistle:


#8

Micro USB
We will begin switching out the mini USB connector on devices in lieu of the micro USB connector. As we begin new production runs of products we will be installing the micro USB instead of the mini USB connectors.


#9

The Panda III is a step towards focus and quality. :smiley:


#10

So what’s wrong with Cerbuino? Isn’t it a Panda clone?


#11

@ Simon from Vilnius - lack of RAM and flash. But other than that nothing.

That’s why we need to know where it is supposed to fit in the current lineup.


#12

The best thing about the Panda-II was that it was the perfect intro to NETMF micros board. It was cheap, stable, included all the premium libraries, and had a boat load of I/O.

The Panda-III should be the equivalent but for 2014. It should be:
[ol]
[li]Cheap (under $30)[/li]
[li]Stable[/li]
[li]Premium (I guess all GHI boards are now by default)[/li]
[li]Have a boat load of I/O[/li]
[li]mbed Compatible[/li]
[li]Come in two varieties: 1 with built-in WiFi, 1 without[/li]
[/ol]

[I obviously have no idea how the ordered list is supposed to work in this forum…or its just broke]

I agree that hardware-wise this is basically a Cerbuino. I also agree that the Arduino form factor really should be deprecated. What would really be cool would be a Cerb40 type board and then a couple of motherboards it could connect to. Maybe one with the Arduino footprint and another with BBB footprint (no idea if that’s feasible…).

For me the built-in WiFi at a low price is of the highest importance. Otherwise, I would see no reason to have this vs. the Cerb boards.


#13

That was one of the questions I posted :slight_smile:


#14

Build it with the TI CC3200 and make it supper stable.


#15

+1 for stability. Best thing about the Panda II, and maybe NETMF 4.1 in general, was IJW. It just works.


#16

personal 2c worth here :slight_smile:

The problem with Panda iterations was always the layout - not prototype/breadboard friendly. You couldn’t even use a piece of perfboard since it wasn’t on regular 0.1" spacing, even without the Arduino spaced headers. Ditch the Arduino footprint. The “promise” of shield reuse is not worth it.

A cerb40-like with plenty of IOs, onboard power regulation and external power socket, RTC, uSD.

We need connectivity and that’s where it gets hard. BLE, WiFi, Ethernet… all options for specific needs, and certainly NOT one size fits all (sorry).


#17

How about a board with many standardized sockets, where you can connect specific modules for BLE, WIFI, UART, … to them. Wouldn’t that be a great idea :dance:

Wait, … sounds familiar :whistle:


#18

How about a cerb40 gumstick life form factor. But with a smooth routed rather than rough V-Cut PCB.

microSD card on one end.

Optionally uUSB powered.

1.17"(35.1 × 11.0 × 0.741 mm) sharp memory display on the back(top when flipped).

[EDIT] 2 buttons to the right off the display for menu control.

This could be the microView of the NETMF world.


#19

Indeed…


#20

I still don’t quite understand why are we talking about Panda III when there’s Cerbuino in the catalog. It is soooo similar in functions. And looks just like Panda II.

One can’t make one board that fits everyone’s needs. Besides, GHI has just dropped half of the their catalog, with the “focus and quality” mantra, and now we are talking about new products. Why not extending “focus” part for, say, at least 6 months?