New in the Maker Shed: Netduino, a .NET-powered open source electronics platform


Just in! The Netduino is an open source electronics platform using the .NET Micro Framework. The board features a 32-bit microcontroller and a rich development environment, making it a perfect solution for engineers and hobbyists alike. Here’s everything you need to know to get up and running with this amazing little micro controller.To use Netduino, you’ll need to be running Windows XP or later and the free Visual Studio Express 2010 (or the full version).

The Netduino team is hard at work on a fully open source development, compiler, and deployment tool based on MonoDevelop and Mono.

You can download everything you need from the Netduino site. Here are the links you’ll need:

  1. Microsoft Visual C# Express 2010:
  2. Microsoft .NET Micro Framework v4.1 SDK:
  3. Netduino SDK v4.1: (for 32-bit Windows) (for 64-bit Windows)

Step 1: Download and install everything
First off, you’ll need to download everything you need from the links above: Visual C# Express, the .NET Micro Framework v4.1 SDK, and the Netduino SDK (32-bit or 64-bit depending on which variant of Windows you are running).

Step 2: Connect the Netduino
Using the supplied Micro-USB cable, connect the Netduino to your computer. If all goes well, Windows will find the driver and install it. If not, make sure all the cables are connected well, unplug the USB connector from your PC and plug it in again.

Step 3: Fire up Visual Studio
With the Netduino driver installed, you’re ready to launch Visual Studio. Locate it on your Start menu, and run it. After a few seconds, you’ll see the opening screen; click New Project. From the dialog that appears, choose Micro Framework and click Netduino Application. Give your new project a name, and click OK:

Step 4: Write some code
009.5 Solution Explorer.png
Now you’re ready to program. Let’s do a basic Blink program. In the list of files to the right of the screen (under Solution Explorer), double-click on Program.cs to open it in the editor. Look for the comment that says // write your code here and replace it with the following:

OutputPort led = new OutputPort(Pins.ONBOARD_LED, false);
while (true) {
    led.Write(true);	// turn on the LED
    Thread.Sleep(250); // sleep for 250ms
    led.Write(false);	// turn off the LED
    Thread.Sleep(250); // sleep for 250ms


Step 5: Configure the project
You’ll only need to do this step once for each project you create. By default, Visual Studio will try to run the program in an emulator, which isn’t any fun. You need to tell it to deploy the application to the Netduino, so click Project and choose YourApplicationName Properties. In the list to the left of this window, click .NET Micro Framework and change the Transport setting to USB:

Step 6: Deploy your program

Click the Program.cs tab at the top of the screen to return to your source code. Press F5 (or click Debug and choose Start Debugging). In a few seconds, the program should be running on your Netduino and the lights will start blinking!

In the Maker Shed:


Software, meet hadware. The Netduino from the Maker Shed.