NETMF Processor Setup

Last modified July 28, 2015


This document is a step by step procedure for preparing NETMF mainboards for program development.

This procedure should be followed for new mainboards and whenever a new SDK is installed.

NOTE: Do not plug-in the device until instructed.

Installation of the Development Software.

  1. Find the installation instructions: navigate to GHI's Home page, click on Support, click on .Net Micro Framework.
  2. The page that comes up has a few sections, the first section is "Installation Steps"
  3. Read through it once, then follow the steps in the order given
  4. When done, come back to this page.

It is a good idea to periodically check GHI's website Support page for updates and/or new releases.


The processor may or may-not have the latest firmware; if it doesn't have the necessary version, it will not work with the development system. This is explained in sections below.

Also note that Static discharge from anything, including the human body can damage the processor.

Connecting to the PC

The NETMF processor communicates over USB with the computer.  Some processors (many SoMs) may not have sockets and/or USB connectors, the manual for those products contain instructions for interfacing with the PC.

If the processor has a USB connector integral to the board, plug a USB cable from the computer to the board (the board will be red).

Processors without an integral USB port will use a Gadgeteer socket to connect the power/USB module to the board. For these boards connect the module into a "D" labeled socket on the board, then connect the power/USB module via a USB cable to the computer. These mainboards are black.

The first time a processor is connected to the computer, Windows will need to load a USB driver to communicate with the processor. Wait until Windows indicates it has successfully loaded the driver (via a small dialog), then proceed to the next section.




There are two pieces of embedded software loaded onto every .NET Micro Framework (NETMF) mainboard from GHI. It is important that the  versions of this code are compatible with the SDK.

GHI's "FEZ Config" utility is used to check version compatibility; and, if necessary update them. FEZ Config is bundled with the SDK; during installation an entry was added to desktop.



One of the most troublesome steps of working with NETMF devices and the Windows system is communication. USB hardware varies greatly across computers. If there are problems in the following steps, read the sections on USB in the NETMF Troubleshooting

If none of the tips in the Trouble-shooting Guide help, and FEZ Config still has errors or does not show version numbers, the processor may have a very old loader (TinyBooter).  In that case, follow the instructions to Update Loader (TinyBooter) before doing anything else.

Run FEZ Config:

The "Device" panel should show USB followed by the USB device name. In the above picture, the USB device for the processor is named EMX_EMX; names vary with different devices.

Click on the button labeled "Check device for update."  FEZ Config will list the version of firmware on the device, the version required by the SDK, and whether or not the firmware needs updating. 

The Last Step: Update Firmware

If the device has the current firmware no more action is required. Otherwise, based on the output of FEZ Config, follow these steps:

  1. If required, follow the Loader update procedure for your device. 
  2. If required, follow the Firmware Update directions
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