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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2014
The Netduino Plus 2 is the latest version of the Netduino board. A Netduino is similar in layout to an Arduino UNO (AVR processor based prototyping board) but uses a 3.3 V 168 MHz 64 bit ARM7 processor instead of the 5 V 16 MHz 8 bit AVR processor the Arduino uses. There is an Arduino DUE board which uses a 3.3 V 84 MHz ARM processor but it is not 5 V tolerant so it cannot be used with 5 V shields while the Netduino is 5 V tolerant and should work with most 5 V shields.

The Netduino also has built-in Ethernet and SD Card hardware and software support so no extra shields are required. The Netduino I/O pins are 5 V tolerant so it should work with most 5 V Arduino shields. What the Netduino does not have is the ability to directly use Arduino libraries. This is because the Netduino is programmed in C# using Visual Studio 2010 while the Arduino is programmed in C/C++ programming using their own IDE. The combination of C# and VS is very powerful and allows full debugging capabilities. The Arduino IDE is fairly limited and only allows "print" style debugging. Where the Arduino programming environment out shines the Netduino is in libraries written by others. Using these much of the code you would otherwise need to write (to operate an LCD display, talk to an I2C device, etc.) is already written and debugged for you. The Netduino .NET micro framework does have 3rd party code available, just not as much.

The Netduino also suffers from a lack of support (as of this writing) by Microsoft. While they did make the .NET micro framework open source they have not kept it as up to date as the full blown .NET framework. For example, the micro framework still requires VS 2010 while the .NET framework uses VS 2013. Not a deal breaker (VS 2010 Express is free) but still something to consider if you program using VS 2013 regularly.

So in summary the Netduino is a faster more capable alternative to the Arduino UNO/MEGA/DUE boards. If you like VS then it is definitely for you. It supports manage C# code as well as multitasking and has Ethernet capabilities built in. If your needs are much simpler and you don't need a full IDE then the Arduino may be a better choice.

As a side note, the Netduino is designed to be completely open source / design. Since it has a built in ISP header it can be programmed directly like the Arduino. That is, you do not have to use the Microsoft .NET micro framework and could directly program the device yourself using open source tools.

UPDATE (10/29/2014):

As J. Madison points out there is now Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 support plus experimental 2014 support. the firmware on the Netduino is unchanged, but the PC tools and Visual Studio support has been split. This also means that you can install the Netduino SDK on VS 2010 and VS 2013 at the same time. Hopefully Microsoft will continue work on this power prototyping tool and keep the firmware up to date as well.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
This a great way to learn about microcontrollers, whether you are an avid computer programmer (like me), or whether you are interested in learning programming while dealing with the hardware. Before purchasing Netduino Plus 2, remember that you need a breadboard, resistors, jumper wires, and other things. Power supply is optional if you do not want to power via USB. I also recommend doing the blinking LED tutorial, to make sure the Netduino Plus 2 works, before proceeding with the more advanced projects.

== Pros ==

* Comes with built in Ethernet jack
* Well packaged
* Comes with USB cable
* Very sturdy and well built

== Cons ==

* Mini USB has some trouble when plugged in to the board. But do not panic you just need to put a little brute force.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
I haven't played much with boards like these (I have done a little work with the Arduino). Since I am an avid C# user and fan I love how they set this up. Using the built-in SD card, Visual Studio and some basic electronics I learned in college I put together an 8 channel light controller in a day and a half (including my sub-par work working skills). The software took me about an hour to write.

I love using C# and being able to debug programs on this board using Visual Studio, and would recommend this if you are getting started and are more comfortable in C# or Java instead of C++.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 27, 2013
I had been looking into getting an Anduino board to experiment with microprocessor boards but was hesitant about not being able to use the programming environment (Visual Studio 2010) I was comfortable in. When I discovered this board and it's compatibility with .NET I snapped it up as it meant I could program within Visual Studio. The device seems very reliable and tough which you want when you are learning the ropes and likely to do things that could go outside the boards working parameters. I've overloaded it a few times but it seems to always turn back on after its built-in safety shutdown. Obviously being a newer device than the Anduino the support network and learning resources aren't anywhere near as thorough although the Netduino forum is a good start. I'd like to see improved learning materials for beginners, currently there isn't anything I'd happily recommend, but being able to see syntax errors in Visual Studio as you work and use the debugger teaches you a lot.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2014
I have been buying and using the original Plus boards for several years successfully, having built my own shield. I recently decided to upgrade to the Plus 2 boards. So far, I have been completely unsuccessful in getting the GPIO, PWM, or Analog Pins to work. It's likely something I am doing wrong, I am still working on the issue and I believe that in time I am likely to succeed, however....

The reason for my low rating is that the main (perhaps only) point of contact for technical support seemed to have vanished from the support forum. Without support, this product will be very difficult to work with. It may be possible to get questions answered from other users, but the manufacturer's support is no longer available. I hope this is a temporary situation, time will tell.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2013
I wrote software for this no problem. Nice project board for any detailed project. No video output so if you need that you are better off with the Raspberry PI
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2012
Installed micro framework, plugged in and within minutes I was running programs on the device. I added a lcd shield and a rs232 ttl adapter and am controlling my alarm system over the Ethernet. It only took a few 1000 lines of c# code. Incredible.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2014
Great board, easy programming.

I have tried many boards out there but with my background in Visual Studio and Visual Basic this is perfect board to work with.

My first program was up and running within 15 minutes with a temperature probe and output to LCD screen.

I only wish this devices came with a real time clock.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2015
This may be the 1st negative review I've ever written on Amazon. I was really disappointed in the Netduino Plus 2. I was hoping the increased memory and ability to code in C# would allow me to create some much more sophisticated logic for my project, but it just wasn't the case. In order for this thing to work, you need to get the right version of Visual Studio, the .net micro framework, the netduino SDK and the firmware on the Netduino. It is like getting all the planets to align at once. After many hours installing and re-installing, I finally found the right combination to be able to send programs to the device. The documentation on the website is not updated and you have to go to the forums to find what you need in terms of installation. Not impossible, but not very welcoming, compared to my experience with the Arduino Uno and Mega.

Once I got Visual Studio working with the device, I had problems after every time or two, after updating the Netduino with my program. The device would basically fail to allow you to connect to it. To solve this I'd have to boot the device a special way and the run a program that cleared out the device's memory. Lame.... I even tried simple led blinking programs and had problems after the 1st or 2nd upload.

After spending too many hours trying to get this running, the device is going in my junk electronics box. I don't care as much for the $ wasted, the time was my biggest loss.

If you want to save yourself some time, just get a Mega and read and write to the SD card if you need to deal with larger amounts of data.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2013
This makes a great project for the computer wizard's hobbies. If you you like to tinker with computerize projects this is it!
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