Arduino vs Netduino : the more things change, more they remain same.

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Arduino and Netduino are kinda of like small computers that have allowed us to do marvelous things, like controlling our environment and more they are not really that expensive Arduino mega 2560 is 7k and Netduino plus is 5k, if you have not heard of this before, this article is not really for you.

I recently got new Netduino Plus thanks to my sir for lending it to me, and I have been playing with it. I have done few small Arduino projects so far, so I was interested in seeing how they were all that different. I have to say, I was very impressed with it, but there are differences you should know about before you jump into using a Netduino.

The basic difference is Netduino is C# based on .net for programming liking the intellisense part a lot, and Netduino is 48MHz where as Arduino has 16MHz, both are open source.

The Netduino board is the same size and shape as an Arduino UNO board. There is a place to install a 6-pin header at the back of the board, though no header is installed, in the same spot Arduinos have a similar header. The TX and RX monitor LEDs that Arduinos have do not exist on the Netduino.


** Netduino IDE only works on windows as you might have expected that by now, but you can setup the entire IDE for free, you will have to use visual studio 2010, which is easy to use.

Netduino has very good debugging environment, we can emulation and in circuit debugging(like any C# program which breakpoints and stuff) which is really great unlike Arduino, when you start debugging it downloads the code in Netduino and stops at the breakpoint so you can check each line while debugging.

Netduino does support the option to program it in Visual Basic but i prefer C#, Intellisense FTW. Here are some of difference between Netduino Plus and Arduino Mega 2560 Rev 3.

Category Difference
 Chip power Internally, the CPU runs at 3.3V, not 5V like the Arduino, though it uses the same power sources
 Digital I/Os Go from 0V to 3.3V, not 5V. It will work with most 5V logic circuits, input and output.
Analog Inputs Must not go higher than 3.3V!
 PWM Outputs PWM is often used like an analog output. Since 100% averages to 3.3V instead of 5V, circuits may work differently
 Libraries None of the Arduino libraries, which are C and C++ code, will work on the Netduino without modification. If you use a board-specific library, you may have to rewrite it.
USB Connector Uses cell-phone type mini USB connector
I/O Current The pins on the CPU can drive a maximum of 8mA of current, which is less than Arduino
CPU 32-bit Atmel ARM, instead of 8-bit ATmega
Speed 48MHz instead of 16MHz
Program Memory 128K instead of 256K
RAM 60K instead of 8K
EEPROM Netduino has none
In-circuit debugging Netduino has it
Emulation Netduino development environment has it

if you are making a project that requires a lot of processing power and awesome debugging environment than get yourself Netduino, if you want to use Arduino shields and libraries then Netduino is not for you.

Getting Started
Here are some links to get you started on Netduino:

Netduino Site
Netduino Getting Started PDF
Atmel Microcontroller Data
Atmel Microcontroller Full Datasheet
Netduino Schematic
Netduino Forums

Development Software
Microsoft Visual C# Express 2010
.NET Micro Framework SDK v4.1
Netduino SDK v4.1 (32-bit)
Netduino SDK v4.1 (64-bit)
.NET Micro Framework Reference

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