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Good luck for the "new" NETMF developers


#1

I worked with NETMF since 2 years, I’ve built a complete drone system around. I don’t mean a toy to play in my garden.
I developped a full drone system that I sold to armys and government, planes and helicopters with electric and glow engines (I can prove it).

It was not easy since I faced an infinite amount of bugs in drivers,etc… Support was sometimes good, sometimes not.

I redesigned my system a lot, by always removing part from the NETMF layer because it didn’t worked well.
Now that I have a stable system, a new hammer is hitting… Discontinued product.
The half part of my system is… discontinued… I was about to ask GHI to build a PCB, and now I just have to… restart…

Really thank you. It’s a prosper period, and I like to lose time and money. Probably you are finding that it’s “the cycle” to remove so much part of your catalog at a time, but It’s really disgusting for some of your customers.

I clearly know that my message is useless, but I feel really angry !

I really wish to the new developers a good luck…


#2

I think you are talking about removing Gadgeteer vs NETMF code??

I am quite surprised you are building a commercial/military device using prototyping hardware and if you have sold a Gadgeteer powered device to them all power to you :slight_smile:

For such a project surely you would use plain NETMF and custom boards?

It’s is a shame that some GHI modules have been discontinued but that is the nature of the world, if people don’t buy them then why have the overhead of keeping them in stock?

Remember all the schematics are available to the boards / modules and it’s fairly trivial to get a few made for yourself.

Please don’t see this is a negative reply as i think it is a cool project you are developing and is something that i have also be slowly working on in the background…

Are there particular modules you are missing?

I am sure there are plenty of people here including myself that are happy to try and help.


#3

@ GMISoft - Just a couple of quick notes, there aren’t any modules that we removed that could not be reproduced or ordered directly from us with a MOQ. As @ Justin mentioned the schematics and dimensions are openly available to help you reproduce any thing that you might need. While you may need a different source there is nothing that you can’t get your hands on to keep continuing your product line. The second thing I would like to mention is that creating a custom board doesn’t rely on a discontinued module. Again the sources are still available and you can create any custom board you would like. We would still be able to help you take your prototype and create a custom board from it. Please feel to direct message with any other questions or concerns regarding your custom board or discontinued modules.


#4

@ Justin : I mainly miss Barometer, Daisylink, IO60P, Distance, current (in legacy).

I used these modules to control lot of servos and get multiple sensor source to detect “unstable” activity and engage failover processus.

Sure, these modules can be reproduced somewhere, everything can be rebuilt, and it’s the case for every component, but what a timeloss…

We were supposed to mount new type of machines in early september, and I wanted to buy the missing elements when I discover that they were discontinued.

@ Gary : How can I do my tests without prototyping material ? I have some stock, but some components are missing.You said sources are available, yes, sure, but how many times will I lose ? How many times will I need to change provider before find one that build the card correctly ?
It’s a huge timeloss for us.

So now I will remove completely gadgeteer from the “core” of the system. May be I will still use it for small peripherals. And switch to my backup solutions, and pay again for hardware and developments.

You also said that you can still build PCB with discontinued components, good news. I actually use the G400 board in my applications, can you guarantee you won’t discontinue it and PCB board using this chip will still be available tomorrow ?

GHI took an unilateral decision, for it’s own business, and I understand that, but as customer, my vision is : “GHI sold me components dedicated to prototyping, that they discontinue after the development phase”.


#5

We are also building a commercial product around a G120.
But in fact the G120 SoM is the only “original” GHI part we are using.
To play around I bought some Gadgeteer modules, but finally we put them all together on a couple of custom boards.
By this I still have all the Gadgeteer modules to prototype around with them.
And: I would never ever come to the idea to use a Gadgeteer program for my product. Plain NETMF is the way to go here. In the end we are way more flexible and have more processes under out control.
And if you need any of the discontinued modules, just send the eagle files to any PCB manufacturer, and they will build it for you.
Or ask GHI to build them (they have a new website to so some where).


#6

@ GMISoft -

Very interesting to hear what you have achieved. Well done.

Glad your going with the G400 as this is one of the products that GHI have promised to stock well into the future. As you have found out obsolescence is a big issue in product design. Especially for military systems where they expect(and contract) for years of support. Big defence companies have whole departments to sort all this out and monitor components for End Of Life notifications etc and will be reluctant to buy from any company that doesn’t provide this information. Often they will end up doing a one of purchase of stock to last out the expected failure rate and or cover additional build. This is very difficult for a small company to do, but it does mean you can be cheaper and more responsive that the big guys. At the end of the day these issues are what professional engineers are paid to predict, mitagate and generally deal with. It’s just part of the job. It has happened to me many times. For instance I had a board designed for a particular surface mount button that suddenly went out of stock everywhere and had a ridiculous lead time, and a GPS module from a company that got bought out by a competitor who decided to streamline the combined product line up. For the former I had to basterdize(technical term) some protoboards for the buttons and make a large enough purchase on the GPS units to keep me going until I cam respin the board.

Can I ask what you mean when you say removing a NETMF layer? Does that mean you are going to native code or just abondoning gadgeteer.

Certainly as Justin says I wouldn’t recomend Gadgeteer software for a professional project. However the plugin modules are very useful for prototyping.

For discontinued modules you can always buy Arduino or other hobbyist modules and stick them to a gadgeteer breakout with a bit of electric string. There is probably more selection availible to choose from anyway. But, do remember that the hobbyist market is not designed to provide the guarantees of future availiability you might wish. This is just not part of their business model.

I wish you the best for your endeavours and completely understand you the problems this presents(I have been there many times). Personally I think it would have been good PR for GHI to provide a little more notice on all this, but I don’t think you have been done wrong in anyway.

The SOM modules are different and GHI does make claims that these will be availiable for the long term. So as I said the G400 is a good choice.


#7

Sure GHI discontinued some items from inventory but they replaced the missing parts with a whole new service…where you can by and built whatever you want :slight_smile:

https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/topic?id=15906

Cheers,
Jay.


#8

Sorry guys, but what is the interest of having “plug&play” module to build a prototype if you don’t use it in a final version ?

In my vision, you develop a prototype with components, you develop your code, do your tests and once it’s validated you build the PCB.

The force of gadgeteer is in my opinion to build quickly interesting boards, and comercialize the PCB after that.

@ hagster : I move most part of the code from gadgeteer to computer
@ Jay Jay : yes, certainly, and when you will order it, you’ll probably see some “small” differences that will require new testing phases


#9

@ andre.m - That’s why I’m disappointed by that decision…


#10

…and now its time to see the drones in action! :clap:


#11

Turnkey assembly is the answer. It is about to be ready in few days.

And let’s please not compare the barometer to G400 or any other som. Anyone with sight commercial can reproduce the barometer and such anywhere and we are also available to create them… Turnkey assembly :slight_smile:

Things are different for soms, that stay around for long years.

My response is a general note not directed to anyone and we are very sorry for the confusion caused by the latest, rather major, changes. I think it will be all clear very soon.


#12

@ GMISoft

You built commercial products on the Gadgetter modules… that too for the army and government ? … are these modules rated for extreme applications ( MIL Spec) ?

Please let me know where you have deployed them … I would like to stay far away from them.


#13

@ Rajesh - You don’t need to go far away (or express quick opinion without knowledge of the context).

Drones are equipped with lot of system, and it’s interesting to have multiple verification to validate a situation. Also, simple things like

  • enable or disable fans or heaters
  • check electromagnetic perturbation
  • check pression incoherence
  • command gimbals
    -…
    could be done with gadgeteer boards.

#14

@ Rajesh - governments and military buy lots of things that aren’t rated for extreme environments. The SOMs are rated for neg40 to plus85. That is enough for nearly all requirements


#15

@ GMISoft, Goon on you commercializing supposedly prototype equipment; don’t let them tell you can’t. However, products going out of life unexpectedly is a fact of life, just take some bereavement leave and keep on trucking. Further, always have more than one way of doing something: if one vendor craps out just fail over to the next vendor. Between GHI, Sparkfun, Adafruit and others you can replace all the modules that became discontinued. I believe that because of the general availability of such components that GHI decided to discontinue their line of those types of products. Last, GHI will most likely build you any discontinued product of theirs anyway if you reach out to them; they are reasonable like that.


#16

@ Gus - Let’s say I wanted to revive 100 pieces of the good 'ole Panda 2 using turnkey assembly. Roughly what ballpark price should I expect?


#17

@ Iggmoe - there is a new estimater page, give it a try.


#18

@ Gus - Will the FEZ Panda 2 be added to the possible projects to choose from here?

http://www.turnkeyassembly.com/projects


#19

@ Gus, +1 for turnkey assembly. This is exactly the kind of service that I was hoping someone would offer. Produce a board with basic components already placed and when I get them I place the final components. Good for prototyping, and really scalable.


#20

Assuming we did not add it, anyone else can. The beauty of open source.