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Discussion Groups | Comp.Arch.Embedded | FPGA for hobbyist ??

There are 7 messages in this thread.

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FPGA for hobbyist ?? - kunil - 2005-04-19 02:07:00

Just wondering, does hobbyist with fund less than USD200/month could
afford playing with FPGA ?

Is there any link that I can read about it ? (since looks like every
FPGA developer is belonging in big company and universities).

I want to know what kind of tools that I need (like the compiler,
development board, debugger, etc).

Thus, is there any link to cheap version of it :p
(I've read in Altera's page, nothing is below USD200)

Thank you


Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - nets - 2005-04-19 02:15:00

>Just wondering, does hobbyist with fund less than USD200/month could
>afford playing with FPGA ?

There is a starting point:

http://www.digilentinc.com
http://www.xilinx.com/products/design_resources/design_tool/index.htm

ISE WebPack is free.

-nets


Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - Rich Webb - 2005-04-19 18:49:00

On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 23:15:13 -0700, nets <n...@nothere.com> wrote:

>>Just wondering, does hobbyist with fund less than USD200/month could
>>afford playing with FPGA ?
>
>There is a starting point:
>
>http://www.digilentinc.com
>http://www.xilinx.com/products/design_resources/design_tool/index.htm
>
>ISE WebPack is free.

One of Altera's HDL toolchain is free, as well.
<http://www.altera.com/products/software/products/quartus2web/sof-quarwebmain.html>

There's also Icarus Verilog, a part of the GPL'd gEDA toolset.
http://geda.seul.org/tools/icarus/index.html

You don't need to program real FPGAs to learn VHDL or Verilog and use
the toolset simulators -- although eventually you'll want to.

In addition to the links above, look at http://www.fpga4fun.com/

-- 
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA

Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - kunil - 2005-04-20 08:46:00

Thank you so much for the advise.

I'm a bit crazy about building my own FPGA board.
Sounds cool, though I just want it to blink some LEDs :p

BTW, how can I connect the FPGA with external device (LEDs) ?

I have read in www.fpga4fun.com, all I need is to put JTAG pin to
external header (to Altera's ByteBlaster or other JTAG), put
configurator pin to EEPROM, put clock generator in global_clk line, and
the rest is my flavor.

Is it correct or do I miss something ? Is there any good reading about
how to interface FPGA with external device ?

Most of books/websites that I've read just teaching VHDL/Verilog only.


Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - Richard Willis - 2005-04-20 10:44:00

kunil wrote:
> Thank you so much for the advise.
> 
> I'm a bit crazy about building my own FPGA board.
> Sounds cool, though I just want it to blink some LEDs :p
> 
> BTW, how can I connect the FPGA with external device (LEDs) ?
> 
> I have read in www.fpga4fun.com, all I need is to put JTAG pin to
> external header (to Altera's ByteBlaster or other JTAG), put
> configurator pin to EEPROM, put clock generator in global_clk line, and
> the rest is my flavor.
> 
> Is it correct or do I miss something ? Is there any good reading about
> how to interface FPGA with external device ?
> 
> Most of books/websites that I've read just teaching VHDL/Verilog only.
> 
Check out the app note locatations on both Xilinx and Altera sites. Be 
prepared for a lot of reading though. Also, consider using a CPLD (eg. 
coolrunner) instead of an FPGA. The CPLD has onboard memory, so you 
don't have to worry about external flash memory hookup. They are a 
little easier to use as well, and you can program them in VHDL & Verilog.

Xilinx : 
http://www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xweb/xil_publications_index.jsp?category=Application+Notes

Altera : http://www.altera.com/support/examples/exm-index.html


Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - Adam Przybyla - 2005-04-20 15:45:00

kunil <k...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Just wondering, does hobbyist with fund less than USD200/month could
> afford playing with FPGA ?
> 
> Is there any link that I can read about it ? (since looks like every
> FPGA developer is belonging in big company and universities).
> 
> I want to know what kind of tools that I need (like the compiler,
> development board, debugger, etc).
> 
> Thus, is there any link to cheap version of it :p
> (I've read in Altera's page, nothing is below USD200)
	... try this: www.gaisler.com. Regards
								Adam Przybyla

Re: FPGA for hobbyist ?? - Rich Webb - 2005-04-20 19:48:00

On 20 Apr 2005 05:46:07 -0700, "kunil" <k...@gmail.com> wrote:

>
>Thank you so much for the advise.
>
>I'm a bit crazy about building my own FPGA board.
>Sounds cool, though I just want it to blink some LEDs :p
>
>BTW, how can I connect the FPGA with external device (LEDs) ?

Not that hard. Check out http://www.web-tronics.com/pc162.html or
http://www.web-tronics.com/scecibubl.html for some easy to use proto
boards for surface mount devices (gull wing, of course, not BGA).

Add a chunk of perf board to hold a power connector and JTAG header and
you've got a custom dev board.

>I have read in www.fpga4fun.com, all I need is to put JTAG pin to
>external header (to Altera's ByteBlaster or other JTAG), put
>configurator pin to EEPROM, put clock generator in global_clk line, and
>the rest is my flavor.
>
>Is it correct or do I miss something ? Is there any good reading about
>how to interface FPGA with external device ?

The best references are the device and family datasheets. In many cases
you MUST read the family datasheets for the real info; the individual
device sheets don't necessarily reprise all of the family info.

The more complex devices are evolving to service more precise I/O specs
than in the good ol' "LS TTL" days. Depending on the device, you may be
able to chose I/O voltage, slew rate, impedence, LVDS pairs, much more.

>Most of books/websites that I've read just teaching VHDL/Verilog only.

Take a look at "The Design Warrior's Guide to FPGAs" ISBN 0-7506-7604-3.

-- 
Rich Webb   Norfolk, VA