I have to admit I haven’t been able to spend much time understanding the current and future GHI product line but I have to make some decisions in the near future about what ecosystem to use for the new projects I have lined up and waiting for me. I definitely could use some input from the GHI community that has been so helpful in the past.
Here are the choices as I see them along with a few pros and cons
Choice 1: Stick with .Net Micro and the G400 like I’ve been doing for 8 or so years
.Net Micro, GHI and this community have been very, very good to me. My current major product literally would have been cancelled if I didn’t discover .Net Micro and GHI.
.Net Micro isn’t going to be supported anymore.
It does everything I need for now and for the foreseeable future and I’m pretty familiar with it.
It isn’t going to be supported in the future (I know I’m repeating myself here).
Choice 2: Bite the bullet and dive into C/C++
There’s a huge variety of low power controllers out there and more importantly, critical software libraries. I’ve mentioned the QP Framework in the past and this is a big, big plus for my future projects.
It is incredibly painful getting all the details right for even a simple bare metal C/C++ project. .Net Micro took care of all this stuff for me which was a huge plus for a reluctant programmer like myself.
My current fiddling around with STM32 processors and bare metal VisualGDB has been 80% figuring out how to the get a project configured properly with all the right libraries and startup code and 20% (or less) actually writing code I care about.
Consultants are much more readily available in the C/C++ world and we have used them on a few occasions very effectively in the past.
Choice 3: Buy into TinyCLR 2.0 and SITCore
All the benefits of .Net Micro that saved by butt.
It is pretty unclear to me what the capabilities of the SITCore processors and TinyCLR 2.0 are now and will be in the near future (6 months or so). I’ve been searching the Forum but at this point I haven’t been able to figure out a few key numbers. For example, a) the 20260s have either 7 and 8 UART ports but are they all available after all the pins have been mapped to other functions? b) How much external memory will be available on the production SOMs? I’ve found the generous memory on the G400 to be extremely helpful in making my programs more robust. And maybe most important is c) What is the power consumption and how effective are the low power modes?
A few last points: The overall cost and risk of our projects is overwhelmingly software design, development and test. I build oceanographic research equipment. Fairly complex, mostly battery powered autonomous systems. Production quantities will never be enough to drive the GHI train in our direction but spending money on NRE to get something customized for us in order to reduce risk is usually well worth the investment.
Sorry for the long post but this community has been incredibly helpful in the past and this decision is keeping me up at night. Like I said earlier, I’ve drunk the GHI Kool-Aid and am a big fan. I just haven’t figured out if I should keep drinking the Kool-Aid.
Thanks - Gene