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Question Regarding FEZ and Cobtra Capabilities


Hi -

I’m a newbie to FEZ but have been a hobbyist programmer with .NET for the past few years…

I was thinking about writing an application using the FEZ Cobra board and have a few questions:

I would like to have a device that basically will listen for external events… either by hitting a web service, querying a SQL database, or some other mechanism, that will then sound the Piezo until a button is pressed.

I think I understand what needs to be done to sound the Piezo device and wire-up an event or whatnot for the button. But:

  1. Can code from the Cobra execute a SQL query for a SQL 2005/2008 or whatever database remotely? So I’m looking for something in SQL? I see it support SQL-lite, but I don’t want a local database. If so, is there sample code for this?

  2. WIth the onboard Ethernet, can I host a simple web server that perhaps can listen for POST/GET type messages to trigger an event, such as Piezo? If so, is there sample code for this?

  3. Can I write code to execute a POST/GET against an external web service looking for something? If so, is there sample code for this?

Any help would be appreciated before I make an investment to play…


SQL Lite is not supported on the EMX (Cobra) but is supported on the ChipWork X (see the GHI Electronics site).

However since you do not want a local database, but want to execute SQL on a remote SQL server. You could have a web service to execute a query and send the Cobra XML. You can consume this XML on the Cobra.

You can set up a simple web server on the Cobra and also do a GET/POST to a web server.

Cobra has native Ethernet and sockets, so you should find it easy to sound a peizo or activate a relay based on a database event.


If are are going to be talking to a SQL server over a REST API, make sure to remember security. Having an open gateway to your SQL server is not a good idea, espcecially if you are thinking about allowing the device to pass SQL queries to the server.

If I were you, I would draft a REST API that would allow for certain functions.


Adding to what others said, you can use the smallest fez to do what you want. You only need cobra if you need ssl but this is not important as all fezzes support rsa


Hi, all.

Thanks for the quick replies.

OK, it sounds like the Cobra would basically be overkill for what I want… which I think is this:

  1. Have a board that I can run a simple web server to accept POST/GET commands. Can the Domino work with the “Networking Toolkit”? It seems someone has already written a bunch of useful assemblies?

  2. I can write a simple WCF REST service to host on a web server to make SQL calls based on specific parameters that are passed in…

It looks like I can setup a Piezo, button, and maybe a network interface and/or wireless with the Domino?


Another question –

What would make me decide to purchase a Rhino or Domino versus a ChipworkX card?

It seems like the ChipworkX can do most of what the other two cards can do. I didn’t see where it comes with a Piezo onboard… can I simply purchase one from this site or do I need a special Piezo for that particualr board?

I assume the FEZ API that this site demonstrates wouldn’t work for that card along with the sampel code to access the hardware?


The ChipworkX is a very high powered board. It’s no so much about whether it has a piezo buzzer on board or not, it’s about the fact that it’s more than 100Mhz faster than any of the current FEZ line.


It depends on your budget. Chipworkx is a very powerful system


I would typify the Fez line as the enthusiasts board, not meant to be the highest of high spec but a great platform for one-offs or simple throw-together projects.

Chipworkx to me seems much more powerful and offering performance that a home tinkerer would rarely need.

EMX is more a mid-way solution, and in the Cobra “wrapper” is the best of both worlds - great for us home tinkerers but still powerful.


Thanks for the replies.

Just be to be clear, if I purchased a Domino, I’d also have to by the Ethernet Shield to have network acccess? If so, I can then load the "Networking Toolkit from CodePlex to host my own web server?

I can then purchase the Piezo and button to do my own coding based on the examples and whatnot provided on this site?

Otherwise, I can purchase a Chipworkx card, that has a lot more capabilties and power, but woud lack a Piezo… and I assume the programming isn’t quite the same (even though its C#) as using the Domino class libraries?

I assume I can also load the "Networking Toolkit from CodePlex to host my own web server?

I assume that I cannot buy a Piezo from this site and must by a different kind and wire-up to the Chipworkx card directly?

Sorry for all the questions, I just want to be sure I understand what I’m buying before making the plunge.


I think the Cobra would be better for you, since it has both oboard ethernet and an onboard peizo.

Buying a chipworksX because it has an onboard peizo is like buying a Ferrari because it’s yellow.


First, the ChipworksX card is not a standalone system. It must be integrated into a board. There is a ChipworksX development system which has all sorts of goodies, including a piezo.

If you want ethernet support I would look at the Cobra instead of a Domino with ethernet shield.

The Domino will only have support for four open sockets. The Cobra has many more (128?).

The cost of Domino plus an ethernet shield is about $125. A Cobra is around $150. For the $25 your get lots more ram.


And if it’s up to the piëzo; cobra has a piëzo too. :wink:


Yes FEZ Cobra would be the best option WCF doesn’t work on other FEZes.

Look at the comparison chart, specifically TCP/IP