There is a new .Net Micro Framework board in town !


In the past few months, MikroElektronika release the Quail Board as a solution for building hardware prototypes using all the best features of .Net Micro Framework and the related “click” boards for a lot of type of external devices, like sensors (humidity, temperature, …), wifi module, OLED and so on.




The Quail board is based on the powerful STM32F427 MCU, a Cortex-M4 at 180 Mhz with 2 MB of Flash and 256 KB of RAM with the related porting of .Net Micro Framework 4.3. Added to the MCU we can find 8 MB of external Flash, USB port for external mass storage (other than the USB port for debugging and powering the board from PC) and 24 screw terminals (to avoid to use a “click” board and connected your component directly to the board).

To simplify prototyping, it has four sockets you can use to put up to four “click” boards without needs to solder your components. These sockets aren’t like .Net Gadgeteer sockets we know but MikroElektronika had developed a new type of standard socket called MikroBUS.




A MikroBUS socket consists of two female headers both with 8 pins related to the most used MCU features :


  • SPI, UART and I2C pins for communication with other components like sensors and so on;
  • Pins with single function like PWM, Interrupt, Analog Input, Reset and Chip Select;
  • Pins for powering external devices with +5V, +3.3V and ground;


All the boards that supported the MikroBUS and provided by MikroElektronika are called “click” boards (about 50 so far) because it’s so simple to connect them to the board … with a simple “click” !


The idea of this new board with related support for .Net Micro Framework started with a collaboration between MikroElektronika and a team of software and hardware professionals from France called MikroBUS.Net. Thanks to this team we have an SDK for using MikroBUS on Quail board (like other SDKs for Netduino and .Net Gadgteer baords) and the source code for all “click” boards drivers written in managed code (using C#).


Other than original “click” boards you can reuse your .Net Gadgeteer supported modules (from GHI Electronics) thanks to the G-Adapters that are able to adapt .Net Gadgeteer socket with MikroBUS socket. Until today not all drivers are available for all modules but the team is still working on them. Another interesting feature is the “Virtual Socket” : you can connect a component to the board using the screw terminals without MikroBUS socket but using it like you had a socket. In this way you can use the provided driver even if you don’t have the component not mounted on a “click” board.


Of course you can develop your applications using a first class IDE like Visual Studio 2013 (also the Community Edition) and manage code with C# as language.


It was just a quick introduction but in the future we’ll deep into it to understand how to use and develop with this powerful board !