BrainStem.NET Library – Intro

Since my last post I’ve been busy working on the Acroname BrainStem library. I want to give a brief background on this part of the project; follow this link to skip directly to a more detailed description, including downloads.

I chose the Acroname BrainStem GP 1.0 module as the microcontroller for the Andii project. This product has a ton of features in a very small package. I was particularly impressed with the multitude of supported platforms for their software libraries. They have C and Java libraries for Windows, MacOS, PalmOS, WinCE, and Linux. However, there was no native support for .NET. Practically all of my work of the past two years has been in C#, and quite frankly — I’m hooked. While it’s possible to import the various BrainStem methods into C# or write a managed C++ wrapper, I really wanted a native .NET libray.

Using the BrainStem’s serial protocol, and .NET 2.0, I’ve written a library that exposes most of the BrainStem’s functionality. I chose .NET 2.0 because of the new SerialPort class. On the more detailed page, I’ve included screen shots, documentation, and all of the source code. You’ll need Visual Studio .NET 2005 Beta 2 to compile it. If you have any questions please let me know.

4 Comments so far

  1. T R on August 28th, 2005

    Check out the VIA EPIA TC as an alternative motherboard. It has a built in DC-DC converter. Since you’re presumably getting power from the emaxx’s batteries, it does make sense to have a DC->AC->DC conversion. With the TC it would remove the need for the AC converter, reduce weight and increase efficiency for your bot.

  2. Paul on August 29th, 2005

    Thanks for the information T R! I hadn’t heard of the EPIA TC. I’m actually not using the E-Maxx batteries. I’ve found that the E-Maxx twin motors use up those batteries far too quickly. I was also a bit concerned about supply sags that might trip a reboot. Instead, I’m using a second 12V battery from batterygeek.net to supply the motherboard.

    I’m using an PW-200-M DC-DC power supply from mini-box.com, so I’m never doing an AC conversion. And this power supply mounts directly onto the motherboard with a very small footprint. But I really like the idea of the power supply being built directly onto the board.

  3. Christian Trahan on November 20th, 2005

    Paul,

    Question on .NET and Visual Studio. I see that MS has a free Express edition to download. Could I use the express edition for C# and accomplish Brain Stem or possibly PIC micro programming with? Do you have to have the full fledged product to do microprocessor development?

    Thanks
    Christian Trahan

  4. Paul on November 21st, 2005

    Hi Chrisitan,

    I replied to your other post on this, but you may not have seen it. Yes, you can use C# Express with the BrainStem and the BrainStem.NET library. You don’t have to have the full version of Visual Studio 2005.

    Paul

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