FPGA for hobbyist ??

Started by kunil April 19, 2005
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

>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
On Mon, 18 Apr 2005 23:15:13 -0700, nets <no@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
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.

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
kunil <kunilkuda@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
On 20 Apr 2005 05:46:07 -0700, "kunil" <kunilkuda@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