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Time and Weather, with RSS, XML, SNTP and Netduino

As winter approaches I thought this project was a good fit for our Hardware Friday post. It's a pretty cool "First" project too!

[Netduino Plus] SNTP clock / RSS news reader

Here's my first project with a Netduino Plus. It's now nailed(!) to my office computer desk, and tells me the time and weather forecast.

It gets the time from an SNTP time server, adjusts it for Summer / Winter times, reads the 3-day weather forecast from the an RSS news feed on the BBC website, and displays it on a Itron GU126x64 Vacuum Flourescent Display module.

To save memory, the RSS reader uses the Windows Sockets library, rather than the HTTP library, and processes the XML data itself, one character at a time.

I've attached the code below. It's my first Netduino project, so don't expect perfection! If you want to reuse the SNTP code, and are not in the UK, you will need to change the calculation for the start and end of British Summer Time, and also the summer/winter time offset. The RSS feed is currently set to display the 3 day forecast for Manchester, UK, but it can be changed to display your own weather, news, or any other RSS feed.

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The Solution/Project is pretty straight forward and well (as in smartly) commented.

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//-----------------------------------------------------------------------
// Netduino Plus program to display the Time and next 3 days weather 
// forecast on a Moritake Itron GU126x64 Vacuum Flourescent Display
//
// The time is taken over the internet from an SNTP server, and the 
// weather forecast from a BBC RSS feed.
//
// You will need to change the RSS URL if you don't live near Manchester, UK
//
// You will also need to change the Timezone/Summertime code if you 
// are in a different time zone.
//
// No copyright - do anything you like with this code, but dont blame me 
// if it all goes horribly wrong!
//
//
// Version Beta 0.2   Gary Bleads (gary@bleads.co.uk)       August 2011
//
//-----------------------------------------------------------------------

//-----------------------------------------------------------------------
// GU126x64 VFD Wiring:
// 
//  NETDUINO                VFD         SIGNAL
//  --------                ---         ------
//  DIGITAL IO 9            PIN 4       NOT RESET
//  DIGITAL IO 10           PIN 1       SPI SELECT
//  DIGITAL IO 11           PIN 5       SPI MOSI
//  DIGITAL IO 13           PIN 7       SPI CLK
//  GND                     PIN 2       GND
//  +5V                     PIN 3       +5V  
//
// (NOTE : display requires high current, possibly up to 750ma
//    Only use +5V USB Power for netduino, not the 9volt power jack!!!)
//-----------------------------------------------------------------------

The techniques used in this project, such as the RSS and XML handling, the SNTP function, etc, seem to ones that could be used in any number ways and projects.

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