Great Sites and Blogs for Learning about .NET Gadgeteer

As anyone following my blog or twitter feed could probably tell, in between HTML5 Web Camps and Game Camps, I’ve been doing a fair amount of work (and play) with .NET Gadgeteer. It’s a great platform for learning about electronics and microcontrollers, and since the code is in C# and based on the .NET Micro Framework, it’s familiar territory, at least on the software side.

As I’ve been moving from complete newb to a bit more experienced, I’ve had the pleasure of presenting some talks on .NET Gadgeteer with fellow Mid-Atlantic Microsoftie Pete Brown, including at CMAP Code Camp last month (Pete has a post up on his blog with a series of videos of our talk, recorded by Lewis Berman, from Loyola University, where the code camp was held).

Pete’s blog is a great resource for all kinds of geekiness, from Silverlight and WPF tips, to posts about his adventures in synthesizer assembly and programming, with of course a healthy dose of .NET Gadgeteer for spice.

I’ve also run across a few other sites and blogs that are extremely valuable for any folks looking for more information on .NET Gadgeteer, so I figured I’d post them here.

Manufacturers

First, a list of the folks building Gadgeteer boards and modules:

  • GHI Electronics – One of the first companies to release a .NET Gadgeteer mainboard, the FEZ Spider, and supplier of many modules as well.
  • Seeed Studio (note the extra “e”) – Maker of numerous sensor modules, from gyro and compass to accelerometer and GPS.
  • Sytech Designs, Ltd. – Makers of the Nano mainboard and several modules.

Community and Microsoft Sites

Here are some good places to go to ask questions about .NET Gadgeteer hardware or software:

  • TinyCLR Gadgeteer Forum – Run by GHI, this forum is dedicated to .NET Gadgeteer topics, and is very active, with a number of smart and friendly folks from the community pitching in to help newcomers get started. I’m grateful to the many folks who’ve patiently answered my questions there. (UPDATE: The forum has been relocated to GHI’s main site, and the new location is: https://www.ghielectronics.com/community/forum/)
  • Seeed Studio Forum – here you can find tech support for Seeed products.
  • Official .NET Gadgeteer Forums – Several members from the Microsoft Research team responsible for Gadgeteer post here, so this is a good place to get info straight from the source.
  • Core Gadgeteer API documentation – when you need to know what an API is for, this is a good place to start.
  • Gadgeteer Source on Codeplex – when documentation alone isn’t enough, you can always check out the source code to see what’s really happening under the covers.
  • Skewworks – run by Thomas W. Holtquist, and supplies additional software useful in .NET MF and Gadgeteer projects, including UI libraries and operating environments that allow for running multiple applications without reflashing.

Blogs

Here are some good blogs I’ve found that you should bookmark:

Supplies

Although you can do a great deal with just a mainboard and a few modules, eventually you’re going to want to go beyond, and for that you’ll probably want some additional supplies, things like a breadboard, jumper wires, etc. While I’ve gotten a good bit of my supplies from the local Radio Shack (rumor has it that the new leadership at the company is looking to take them back to their roots of actually supplying a useful selection of electronic components rather than just being another consumer electronics and cell phone retailer), one of the best places I’ve found to get just about anything you might need for your Gadgeteer projects is Sparkfun. While they don’t sell Gadgeteer mainboards or modules, they do have all kinds of cool supplies, from LEDs to header pins for your Extender Module, jumper wires, servos, motors, and more. You can even make a wish list, so that those who know what a geek you are can help you with your habit…here’s mine:

.NET Gadgeteer is shaping up as a neat and easy way to take the plunge into electronics and microcontrollers. I know for me, the higher-level API that Gadgeteer favors eased the learning curve and kept me interested by making it easy to succeed. Now that I’ve spent some time with the hardware, I’m digging deeper and getting into breadboarding circuits and learning even more. I’ll be sharing some of my adventures in hardware, along with my usual fare of .NET, HTML5 and Javascript.

Have I missed anything…know of additional resources for Gadgeteer? Drop me a note and let me know!