So after several days of frustration and googling I finally managed to build a simple device using the Fez Spider Kit with NETMF 4.3 QFE1, NETMF Gadgeteer Package 2014 R5, Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 7 64 bits. The device is quite simple, it uses:
- LCD T35
- Camera module 1.1
- Ethernet module J11D
- Button 1.4
It simply streams video from the camera to the LCD, and listens to web requests to send the latest picture from the camera to a web browser. Nothing fancy, very basic functionality.
I am running a prototyping lab at my university and we bought 20 of these kits to use with my students in class. So, to implement a functionality like this, should be a breeze! It is not!
I encountered several bugs that required laborious workarounds. For starters, I had problems with DHCP:
No big deal, easy to solve. I ended up using static IPs anyway. Then I had problems with the WebServer:
That was a big deal, I had to add the Gadgeteer core source code to my project, modified and recompile it!
Then later I had a problem with the camera and ethernetj11d working together:
I found a workaround, but it requires modifying generated code. Bad idea! But I had no choice.
And finally, when I wanted to send a picture taken from the camera back to a web browser I had to use this workaround:
There it suggests that I need to implement the function ConvertToFile in my own code, the one implemented in the libraries is broken. This function takes more than 20 seconds to process a 320x240 BMP picture!!
I understand that some of these bugs are in the .Net Microframework maintained by Microsoft, but I have to say that I feel that I am now stuck with 20 Fez Spider kits. With a firmware so amazingly buggy, I can’t use them in my class or for any prototype. But I still want to, these devices are so cool and the concept they represent is so beautiful. Please don’t let me give up, fix all these bugs and release an update, I beg you.
A hopeful Gadgeteer user,