Getting started with .NET Gadgeteer

Hi guys,

I’ve been following the .NET Gadgeteer story for numerous years now and had always been tossing up whether to bite the bullet and get involved, or wait until I have an actual idea/use so I can warrant tinkering away for many foreseeable hours/days/weeks/months…

So I’m leaning more towards the latter of late. However, I’ve been doing some research and want to ensure I make the right decision from the beginning. I couldn’t find a ‘getting started’ sticky, and I have been trawling through the forums (and more broadly doing ‘Google searches’) to see if I can spot the specific answers to the questions I have, but either they don’t exist, or I didn’t search hard enough, so apologies if this is a repeat post.

Background about me:
I am a tinker’er at heart, and do programming as a hobby (primarily VB.NET, VBA), but want to learn C#.NET, and thought a good way to do that might also be through .NET Gadgeteer. I don’t have a very technical understanding of electronics (apart from building kits as a kid) and my profession is in no way related to using electronics or programming, so it’s all self taught (and definitely a hobby).

Questions:

  1. I couldn’t help but notice that the .NET Gadgeteer range seems to have discontinued some products I had been keeping my eye on for years. For example, the GPS module. Is there any particular reason for this?
  2. I’m looking at purchasing the FEZ Spider II Tinker Kit (the other $200 kit seems to be discontinued now). Is this a good starter kit to purchase? Should I buy any additional modules to also begin with (no specific build purpose just yet, more to learn what is possible)?
  3. I know there seems to be a much bigger Arduino presence, as such, there are a lot more modules available and at a much cheaper price. Is it possible to use Arduino modules (for example a GPS module) and code it somehow to work with my .NET Gadgeteer project? How difficult/easy is this and what is required? Will I still be able to easily program it via Visual Studio VB/C# .NET?

I think these are my main questions for now. I’ll likely have more later on as I inch closer to making my decision what to purchase, and then obviously a river of questions beyond that once I get started.

Sorry for the long post. But I hope someone out there can provide some assistance.

many thanks
lianp

1 Like

If you take a look at the Supports pages you will find a link to this document and a number of other helpful pages.

https://www.ghielectronics.com/downloads/Gadgeteer/NET_Gadgeteer_for_beginners.pdf

Background about me:
I am a tinker’er at heart, and do programming as a hobby (primarily VB.NET, VBA), but want to learn C#.NET, and thought a good way to do that might also be through .NET Gadgeteer. I don’t have a very technical understanding of electronics (apart from building kits as a kid) and my profession is in no way related to using electronics or programming, so it’s all self taught (and definitely a hobby).

Pure commercial pressures I believe. Those modules that have been discontinued just weren’t selling in high enough volumes.

As with any of the Tinker Kits they contain enough modules for you to ‘have a play’ and build a basic project. The SpiderII is an excellent board and has only recently been released.

Yes it is possible and you will normally find a lot of help from the forum members or the codeshare pages.

@ lianp - If you were in Calgary you could join in on one of my Hands On Gadgeteer Classes that I teach at the local Microsoft Store ( http://www.zingpow.ca/blog/post/Hands-on-Gadgeteer-Class.aspx ).

We have lost some modules (low sellers I’m afraid), but you might be interested in the series of projects that I’m working on currently on building Gadgeteer Modules based on various Breakout Boards (currently I’ve finished the SparkFun Sound Detector Board just trying to find some time to do the video for that as its part of a Gadgetee/Azure/Power BI project), currently testing the Mikro Thunder Click and Embedded Adventures MOD-1016 AS3935 Lightning Detector modules (in retrospect this was a pretty big project to do with all the testing etc required but I’m be close to finishing). Next up are a SparkFun Load Cell Amp, Adafruit Thermocouple Amplifier MAX31855 breakout board and a Adafruit Analog Output K-Type Thermocouple Amplifier - AD8495 Breakout.

The reality is pretty much any breakout board you could use with Arduino, you can use just a easily with Gadgeteer.

Thanks for the info guys.

@ Duke Nukem, unfortunately I do not, otherwise that would have been great. I tried doing a quick search, but couldn’t find anything in the London area, would you know if this is true or not?

thanks