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Getting started on the netPI
Good day all, I just joined this forum roughly 15 minutes ago for the purpose of want to clarify on the capabilities of the netPI core or RTE. It may sound like a newbie question but please bared with me. I have programed on the Raspberry PI 3, which allowed me to control the IO pins of the board and interact with the external environment.  I want to find out,

1. Am I still able to write programs to communicate with the outside environment?
2. If so, then is this device more of a control and monitoring device where some other peripheral is performing I/O interactions?
3. Is there a provider in South Africa
Thank you for joining the forum.

First of all a word to netPI. netPI includes the schematics of a standard Raspberry Pi 3B. But some functions are not available on netPI as you can imagine like the audio port or the camera port since the netPI is adressing more the market of a computing unit rather than to be a personal computer. 

Since netPI is enclosed in a metallic housing also the 40 pin IO header (called HAT) you are used to from your standard Raspberry Pi 3B is not available as you know it. With netPI we have chosen a different method to get access to the 40 signals. We spend netPI a slot at its bottom where users can plug in additional modules which we call NPIX = netPI Extensione modules. So what is HAT for standad Raspberry Pi is NPIX for netPI.

netPI comes with an netPI OS preloaded on the SD card which support secure boot and some other security functions. But when you open the housing with 4 screws you can unmount the preloaded SD card and plug in your own SD card (with Raspbian OS) that you used a minute ago in your standard Raspberry PI 3B and it will start and work right away in netPI. 

Of course you can use the original netPI OS the device is coming with ... but then you need to develop all your software as Docker containers. Using Docker along with our netPI OS is obligatory since this a security feature. But as I said you can use your own software if you want. One remark. Please keep the original SD card coming with the device aside and do not format it. It contains also a key for starting the netPI OS. Once the SD card image got lost, you cannot start netPI OS with this SD card any more. So in any case use a second SD card for your test with Raspbian OS 

You said you are using GPIOs ... we have an NPIX digital input/output module already developed https://www.hilscher.com/products/produc...ix-4di4do/? which is named NIOT-E-NPIX-4DI4DO. It supports 4 digital inputs and 4 digital outputs and needs to be inserted into the bottom slot to use it. On this site https://www.netiot.com/netpi/industrial-raspberry-pi-3/ in the download section you find a manual for all NPIX modules we ever have developed. And in the chapter NIOT-E-NPIX-4DI4DO you find also the GPIO signals of the Raspberry CPU it is using.

What I like the most with netPI is Docker. Docker allows to deploy a complete ready to use software package on top of netPI OS. In case of your needed GPIO functions and NIOT-E-NPIX-4DI4DO I personally would load Node-RED on top of netPI OS as a container from here https://github.com/HilscherAutomation/netPI-nodered. This Node-RED includes a ready programmed NIOT-E-NPIX-4DI4DO node you are able to set/reset the DIs and DOs of the module with. All without any programming. So have you heard about Node-RED? Try it on you standard Raspberry Pi to get a feeling about its capability.

You never fail until you stop trying.“, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


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