The FEZ Cobra has arrived!

The Arduino form-factor has been very popular on many products and now it is available on the all new FEZ Cobra III. Today, developers have three options, the low cost FEZ Lemur, the versatile FEZ Panda III or the high-end and parallel-display-capable FEZ Cobra III.

Based on the G120 SoM, the FEZ Cobra III has a 120Mhz processor with built-in networking and graphics support that will provide you with enough horsepower and memory for all of your IoT projects! Besides the standard Arduino-style headers, the FEZ Cobra III comes with two additional headers, providing access to 40 pins that cover everything from GPIO and Analog, to PWM and SPI.

The 40 pin header on the FEZ Cobra III follows a new defined standard created by GHI Electronics, called GXP (General Expansion Port). This allows everyone to create display boards with a standardized connection. For example, we have created a Gadgeteer GXP breakout board. This board allows any Gadgeteer display to be connected to the FEZ Cobra III, please see the image below. While we are still experimenting with the breakout board and other ideas, none are available just yet. Of course, you can connect any display using wires today.

One last note about the GXP header (the display port basically). The 40 pin 0.1" header is compatible with IDE hard drive cables. Those cables can be found at many computer stores. These cables can be used to extend the connection between the FEZ Cobra III and the display.

The latest SDK supports the G120 SoM and can be used with the FEZ Cobra III; however, the pinout enumeration (the pins class) is not in the SDK just yet. Fear not, the class is provided separately until it is available in the next SDK. You can find this class in the FEZ Cobra III Developer’s guide.

FEZ Cobra III:
FEZ Cobra III Developers’ Guide:


@ Gary - Great job for the GHI team and all involved but :wall: :wall:

Why, did YOU just place an order a couple of days ago too?

(s’ok, couldn’t afford it down here in low salary land anyway)

@ mtylerjr - yep, and that with the amount of shipping costs … I could have easily ordered some more goodies to play with instead of throwing the money at s&h … it’s even more painfull, since I was warned to wait …

That’s why the head banging …

[title]Decisions, Decisions[/title]

I have no experience with NETMF and Gadgeteer but I’ve decided to jump in. I’d almost decided to purchase the Spider II Tinker Kit when I saw the announcement for the Cobra III.

I have both .NET experience with Visual Studio 10, and hardware experience. I program the PIC micro controllers using Mikroelectronika development tools.

I remain unsold on Gadgeteer socket concept. I like the concept of being able to connect and program them without too much hassle, but by the same token, I don’t mind hashing up a little prototype board to do an interface to an odd breakout board or a Gadgeteer module.

As I see the differences between the Spider II and the Cobra III, it looks like I loose Gadgeteer sockets for a set of Arduino compatible I/O sockets with the Cobra III, plus I gain extra I/Os and a clean socketed video card interface. I also get a lot of capability built-in which would have required socket modules on the Spider II. For example, compared with a Spider II mainboard, it looks like I get the following modules already built into the Cobra III mainboard:

[ul]Client EDP module
SD Card Module
USB Host Module[/ul]
I wonder whether to program the Cobra III, I will need to use a different paradigm than I need to use to program the Spider II. It seems I will be responsible to telling the program where the I/O pins I want to use are, instead of telling the development environment in the designer that I’ll be using, for example, an I2C interface on a particular Gadgeteer socket. Does that mean that I still will using the built-in I2C support, or does it mean that because I am not using a Gadgeteer socket, I will need to bit bang the I2C signals?

Also, the specs state that the G120E module contains an Ethernet PHY, but I do not see how one accomplishes a connection to the internet with the Cobra III like it does with a Spider II.

I guess what I’m looking for here is a guide to the difference between going through the Gadgeteer sockets and the bare I/O of an Arduino compatible set of pins.

Does anybody have any suggestions or comments?

@ srogers - to me, it is very simple. Get gadgeteer if you do not want to use a soldering iron or you do not have experience with hardware.

As for the software, all are NETMF but gadgeteer wraps things for easier use. Advanced users will find both as good and may prefer to go directly NETMF for more control and portability.

You can connect any board with enc28j60 chip to the cobra to get Ethernet, including our gadgeteer module. However, spider uses the E version of G120 so you get the option, enc28 our use the built in phy. For WiFi and ppp, they are both the same as capable.

Details on how to connect WiFi or Ethernet to cobra well be added in few days once we announce the GPX gadgeteer board extender.

But with how awesome these devices are, you should order both :wink:

@ Gus -

Thanks for the information. It appears I missed the fact that the Cobra III has the G120 and not the G120E. I assumed I had the Ethernet PHY as a feature of the Cobra III. I guess I ended up switching back and forth between the specs for the Spider II and the Cobra III too fast.

It looks like direct connection to the video board on the Cobra III would prevent the use of the Gadgeteer board extender unless they are stackable. I’m assuming the odd socket on the Gadgeteer board extender would be the point to connect the Ethernet card to. Would it be possible to patch Ethernet from one of the other connectors, and use the video board connector w/o a cable with the display? It looks like the enc28j60 chip modules interface to the Cobra III with SPI.

I’m getting all warm and fuzzy with the Cobra III.

[title]What’s with the NHVN Display?[/title]
Made my first GHI purchase. I just got my Cobra III and a T43 display board, and some other stuff.

Guess what? No 40-pin direct connection for the Cobra III board on the T43 display board. Being a newbie, I thought that the 40-pin direct connection for the new graphics connector would be on all graphics boards. The announcement post shows a lot of images, including a T43 display with an unavailable socket adapter, and on very close inspection, an NHVN display with no adapter. There is no mention of the NHVN display in the announcement:naughty:. I searched the catalog for NHVN. I got bupkis.

Now I have a Cobra III and no video capability. I guess I jumped on the Cobra III a little too early. Looks like it will be a long time before I can start learning it. :frowning:

I need to return the T43 display and get an NHVN display. :frowning:

@ srogers - no not long time. You will have capacitive touch display connected to your cobra very very soon. NHVN stands for

Full details and announcement comes in the next week or two.

@ Gary -

I could not get the FEZCobraIII class (provided in the FEZ Cobra III Developer’s guide) to compile until I added a reference to GHI.Pins in my project. The FEZCobraIII class gets placed in the same GHI.Pins namespace. However, the class itself needs the G120 enumeration from the GHI.Pins namespace to compile.

The FEZ Cobra III Developer’s guide does not mention the need to include the GHI.Pins reference a project when trying to use the FEZCobraIII class.

GUS, I know it’s probably too late for this, NHVN displays are nice, but far over priced. Our company has been using for 3 years now. Excellent people to work with and never had an issue with any of the LCD we ever purchased.

@ VersaModule - I have asked about buydisplay some time ago, but as I understood, GHI has no plans to consider them.

@ iamin - that was not the response we gave you before :slight_smile: we did consider and looked at their offering and pinout. They are very different and require a complete different board.

@ Gus - What you say and what I say is essential the same thing :slight_smile: I can rephrase it: As buydisplay’s displays have different pinout, we do not consider offering a suitable board for these displays and we will stick to NHD.

Saying “has no plans to consider them” implies that they haven’t already considered them and dismissed them. It may technically be true, but it is misleading, and not at all what Gus apparently said originally.

Just saying.

Replace the word “consider” to the word “use” in my initial post. Are we all happy now?

But does it matter ? If you want to build a different board that supports a buydisplay display, that’s not that hard. GHI have decided not to offer this (based on the value that they have decided the Newhaven displays offer to their customers) but it doesn’t stop others doing the same… Heck, if you want to nominate one you’d like to see I am sure there’s people from the community who could put together an appropriate board for this. Personally, the reason this isn’t easy is likely because of the variety of possible interface options in buydisplay, so making a one-fits-all option may not be easy/possible.

Yes :whistle:

@ Brett - you are right but this community is used to getting everything FEZ and good to go :slight_smile: they keep us working hard, which is a good thing.

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[title]Cobra III Schematic Error[/title]

In the G120 User Manual, Section 3.1, Pin-out Table, module G120 pin 51 has an identification of P0.25 ANALOG_2. I consider this identification factual.

In the Schematic Diagram for the FEZ Cobra III, the title block has a reference to FEZ Panda III, even though the title line says FEZ Cobra III. I don’t know the significance of this odd reference to the FEZ Cobra III.

In the Schematic Diagram for the FEZ Cobra III, the G120 module rendering shows a pin 51 with the identification P0.25/AD2. I consider this factual as it matches the G120 User Manual information. However, the signal name that emanates from pin 51 in the schematic has the identification P0.25/[em]ADC1[/em]. I believe this identification exists in error, and should consist of P0.25/[em]ADC2[/em].

In the Schematic diagram for the FEZ Cobra III, the signal on X4-4 reads P0.25/[em]ADC1[/em]. I consider this an error as it matches the error mentioned in the preceding paragraph for the signal naming error at the G120 SoM. I think the correct signal name consists of P0.25/[em]ADC2[/em].