Monthly Archives: December 2011

Leaving the FEZ comfort zone – say hello to the breadboard

I’ve been very busy over the last weeks, but now I’ve taken some time to get deeper into the “core electronics part”, which simply means that I got a breadboard and some electronic components like resistors, transistors, LEDs and a lot of wires.

The first step was to get a normal LED on the breadboard blinking by connecting it directly to the Digital IO ports on the FEZ Panda board. Sounds easy but I did not want to break anything so after carefully reading some postings about the topic I connected die Digital IO port to a 220 Ohm resistor which was connected to the LED and then back to Ground. Using the OutputPort class on the given IO port the LED was blinking. That easy :)

As it was not as complicated as I thought it would be, I remembered the 2×24 LCD panel that I got from a friend. I wasn’t sure how it exactly works, but as I found out it has a HD44780 controller on-board that accepts 4-bit commands using additional wires for signals and power. And there is even a very useful C# class at the GHI Electronics website, nearly ready to use.

And guess what? After connecting the wires and including the pre-defined class I got the LCD working! Awesome!

I actually had to de-wire everything to put it back in the boxes for storage, but it’s not as hard as I thought to put everything together, so manybe I’ll use the LCD in some of the next projects.

And the next part of equipment is waiting: I just soldered the needed connectors to a 4×7 segment LED element, so stay tuned ;)