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    The Summer of FPGAs has been a groovy series of educational events on FPGA-related topics. Now, this is your chance to flex your FPGA muscles and put your skills to the test, by enrolling in our latest design challenge!


    The Challenge


    The element14 Community is pleased to introduce the Summer of FPGAs Design Challenge, in partnership with Digilent.


    Submit your application with a summary describing an FPGA project of your choice, using Diglient's Cmod S7 for a chance to win a range of amazing prizes. The possibilities are endless—refer to the examples below to see what you could build.


    The Cmod S7 is a small, 48‐pin DIP form factor board, built around the Xilinx Spartan 7 FPGA. The selected 30 challengers will receive the FREE board to help power up their FPGA project!


    What can you build?

    Example applications could include:


    • Image Recognition
    • Home Scientific Equipment
    • Signal Processor
    • Proof of Concept
    • Processor Off Loading System


    The Sponsored Kit The Specs

    Digilent Cmod S7



    Buy NowBuy Now

    It has 32 FPGA digital I/O signals, 2 FPGA analogue input signals, an external power input rail, and ground are routed to 100‐mil‐spaced through‐hole pins. The Cmod S7 is well suited for use with solderless breadboards. At just 0.7" by 3.05" inches, it can be loaded in a standard socket and used in embedded systems.


    The board also includes a programming ROM, clock source, USB programming and data transfer circuit, power supplies, LEDs, and buttons.

    • Xilinx Spartan‐7 FPGA (XC7S25‐1CSGA225C)
    • 4MB quad‐SPI flash memory
    • Powered from USB or 5V external supply connected to DIP pin 24
    • USB‐JTAG programming circuitry, USB‐UART bridge
    • Push‐buttons and LEDs
    • Expansion connectors
    • 48‐pin DIP form‐factor header



    Be Rewarded on the Community

    For entering and taking part in the Design Challenge competition, you'll be rewarded the following badges:


    badgeApply to join the Design Challenge and receive a badge and points for applying! Make sure you've thought your application through, made it original and your own work. If you are building upon someone else's work, make sure you cite your sources. Direct copies of work will not be accepted.
    badgePost your first blog! We expect updates on how your Design Challenge project is going, so don't hold back, tell us your thoughts, difficulties, and how you're progressing. Remember that you're assessed based upon your updates, and don't be afraid - other challengers and members are there to help you with any problems you have, and it helps the staff to keep an eye on you!
    55 blogs! Wow, has it really been that long? We hope you'll keep us updated about your project at least once every two weeks, for 10 weeks. We'll not be impressed if you only put a one-liner in there, that's what messages are for. Blogs are to make sure you're giving us all of the juicy detail, trials and tribulations of what's going on, and it keeps everyone honest!
    badgeEven if you're not a challenger in the Design Challenge, we appreciate every member who joins in and gives a helping hand to applicants and members. If your messages are found to be helpful, we want to acknowledge that and reward you!


    The Prizes


    PrizePrize Category

    Grand Prize*

    • Digilent Analog Discovery Pro AD3450 USB

    Runner Up*

    • Digilent Analog Discovery Pro ADP 3250
    • Digilent Digital Discovery
    finisher prize

    Finisher Prize


    Multicomp Digital Multimeter

    *Or local equivalent


    The Judges


    Technical Judge Team
    element14 Community Judges
    element14 Community Team



    Need help? Comment and read the resources below:

    Technical Resources:

    Start up Reference:


    User Manual:


    Use Xilinx Analog-to-Digital (XADC) with breadboardable Spartan 7 FPGA module

    Use Xilinx Analog-to-Digital (XADC) with breadboardable Spartan 7 FPGA module


    Mechanical Drawings (DXF)


    148-pin DIP form factor head7UART status LED
    2FPGA programming DONE LED8Shared USB JTAG/UART port
    3Pmod connector9Power good LED
    4User push buttons10Spartan-7 FPGA
    5User LEDs11SPI Flash
    6Use tri-color LED


    Example Projects


    Software Notes:

    The Cmod S7 can be programmed with Digilent's Adept software. Digilent Adept is a unique and powerful solution which allows you to communicate with Digilent system boards and a wide assortment of logic devices. Find out more about Adept here.

    To create and modify designs for your Cmod S7, you can use Xilinx's Vivado Design Suite. Vivado is a software designed for the synthesis and analysis of HDL designs. Both variants of the Cmod S7 are supported by the free WebPACK edition of the Vivado Design Suite.

    If you are using the MicroBlaze Soft Processor Core from Xilinx, you can make use of the Vitis Core Development Kit or Xilinx Software Development Kit to create embedded applications for your Cmod S7.

    The Dates

    Project PhasesDates
    Application Period31st August - 13th October 2021
    Application Deadline13th October 2021 EOD
    Challengers Announced22nd October 2021
    Build Period22nd October 2021 - 3rd December 2021
    Projects Due3rd December 2021
    Winners AnnouncedDecember 2021
    Prizes ShippedDecember 2021


    The Terms


    Selected official applicants will be chosen to receive the "Kit" listed above. These successful applicants will be our sponsored challengers, and they must use Diglient's Cmod S7 within their project, and publish their final code and designs on the Community for others to use. Those not chosen as sponsored challengers may also join the competition and be eligible to win prizes, but they must base their projects around the kit listed above and adhere to all terms and conditions of the challenge.

    They need to post their progress and final project as at least 5 blog posts before the closing date (see above), when projects are due.

    Posts which use the FPGA most creatively, are media rich with photos, videos, and code samples will be viewed more favorably in the judging process.

    Please read the full terms and conditions of the challenge, attached below.


    Ready to join the challenge? Then Apply Here!


    If you are not successful in becoming a sponsored challenger but still want to enter, all you need to do is use the Kit as described above in your project and adhere to the same Terms and Conditions for a chance to be our winner! Non-sponsored challengers are eligible for the Finisher and Winner Prizes as well.