As a newbe to FEZ development having just bought a Domino board I was very impressed with it, especially the ease of development, the extensive driver coverage and the excellent documentation. I was very quickly able to get digital inputs and outputs, timers and a serial link to a LCD display working. The whole thing was even event driven without a polling loop is sight! Great!
Then I tried to add Real Time Clock support (I had already added a Super Cap to my own IO shield following the schematic for the new Panda II network shield). Now it all fell apart - program would not run, messages about checksum errors, a message about a component failing to load because version ‘x’ was found while version ‘y’ was required - but ‘x’ and ‘y’ are identical!
Now I remembered in my reading several times comming across comments about the importance of updating the firmware - problem was none of the docs explained how to do that or even how to check whether or not the versions match! With no clear way forward, I had ignored these warnings and just tried it and it seemed to work OK - at first!
The otherwise excellent “Beginners Guide to NETMF” is particularly irritating in this respect - an entire chapter on “Assembly/Firmware Matching” manages to talk round the subject at great length without ever explaining how to actually do the job! Much searching later the best I can find is a link to a YouTube video on updating the Cobra - But that is “video no longer available because user account was cancelled”. Good hint though - searching on YouTube itself finds a two part, 20-minute epic on “Updating the Firmware on a FEZ Domino” - trouble is it is in Russian! But I do then find a shorter English video from GHIElectronics which gets me going. Problem is dispite being very verbose on other matters, it glosses over the very part that gives me problems - getting the virtual com port to appear on my PC. Having finally got that sorted (not sure how - I fiddled about for a bit and it eventually came right!). But the specific firmware file it references for the Domino is nowhere on my PC, USBizi is the nearest I can find, so I use that. OMG! I Bricked my Domino! “Download completed sucessfully” but then “bad firmware” and I am still in the bootloader. An extensive search and a re-install of the SDK fails to reveal to find a specific Domino firmware, so in some desperation I retry with the same USBizi file. To my considerable releaf it works this time!
Problem solved, only moderate further hair loss!
Surely this could be improved to give a better user experience? Is it not possible to hook the deployment process in Visual Studio to at least do a version comparison and show an explicit error message, but preferably guide the user through a semi-automated update process if necessary?
Meantime I will post a step-by-step tutorial in a follow-on message to help others (including myself when I have to do this again!).