[time-nuts] FPGA protobards (was Re: Of rubidium life andpiggy-bank anemia....)

John Day johnday at wordsnimages.com
Sat Dec 1 14:20:17 EST 2007

At 01:29 PM 12/1/2007, you wrote:
>The lack of an FX2 or similar USB chip on the Darnaw board makes me wonder
>how you're supposed to program it.

I don't know about for Xilinx, but for Altera, a Byteblaster cable is 
pretty easy to make. Low cost varieties exist on eBay too. In fact we 
use a USB Blaster clone in the lab here from http://www.minford.ca 
which is a lot cheaper than the Altera version. Currently I seem to 
be engaged pretty much full-time on some Cyclone-II with NIOS-II 
projects and I prefer to have the USB-Blaster _NOT_ on the board.

Altera have also released a new Cyclone-III module for NIOS-II with a 
touch screen LCD from only $399 - which includes the USB-Blaster.

>  These are nice alternatives if you don't
>need a full 'starter kit' board like the ones from Digilent:

I decided to try and play with Xilinx parts early this year, but 
after buying a couple of Digilent boards I found the Xilinx 
tool-chain something of a pig to use. Maybe I am just too familiar 
with the Altera tools, so we sold the Digilent boards on eBay.


Jean's stuff is good. I have used a number of his small boards (all 
Altera - we don't do any Xilinx) and they have worked out very well.

John Day VE3CJO

>The same guy who sells these boards also hosts a good FPGA-specific project
>-- john, KE5FX
> >
> > Ulrich Bangert wrote:
> > > For that reason I have decided to buy me this smart device and
> > > experiment with it:
> >
> > > http://www.enterpoint.co.uk/moelbryn/darnaw1.html
> >
> > Wow.  That "connector" looks nasty.  What the heck are you supposed to do
> > with that?
> >
> > Let me suggest an alternative.  I've used several of the FPGA and CPLD
> > boards made by Digilent.  I have been pleased by all of their products so
> > far.
> >
> > http://www.digilentinc.com/
> >
> > The 3E starter board is $149.
> >
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