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FPGA Group

1 Post authored by: mbozdal

I have been chosen as a roadtester for DEO-NANO P0082 and my kit has arrived. I decided before going roadtest project, it will be nice to give a heartbeat and step into FPGA world. Before you go reading, I want to say I am not an FPGA expert but I want to be one   I just had a course during my master. If you confused something or think something is wrong, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.

 

Let's start with what is FPGA? To be honest it is a hard question and I will answer in some extent. FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Arrays so the name suggests we can program(configure) FPGA after the fabrication. FPGA is not a microcontroller or microprocessor but you can design a microprocessor on FPGA. Basically, it is a reconfigurable device and you can design any digital circuit on FPGA with its hardware limitations.

 

Let's see how we program an FPGA? Well, when I say programming FPGA, we don't write a software program. We do design a hardware with hardware description languages(HDL). The most two popular languages are Verilog HDL and VHDL (V stands for very high speed integrated circuit). I don't go into which one is better than other because I don't know the answer. I can say it is not easy to program an FPGA as microcontrollers. It is more complicated and harder but this doesn't mean we shouldn't play with it.

 

Why do we use FPGA we have such a great microcontrollers with affordable prices? Microcontrollers are manufactured for general usage but FPGA is a custom designed.

 

- Microcontroller is manufactured for general usage but FPGA is a custom designed.

- Microcontroller works instruction by instruction but FPGA works concurrently so it is nature is parallel

 

I think these two are the main reasons which led other advantages like speed and flexibility. Hence, FPGA is concurrent as nature it will be faster than a microcontroller if designed properly. There for it is used highly in the military, telecommunication, and R&D. My project will be implementing AES on FPGA and see the advantages. I didn't use AES before. I know it can be hard and time is limited. If I can't complete on time, I will represent another project which is different types of multiplier circuits. It is a multiplier, how many types can be? Well, there are different types. Some are optimised for speed some are space. If I have time, I will implement both.

 

I think I mixed up many things Let's unbox the DEO-NANO P0082.

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This is the box of the kit arrived in Element14 cardboard with shiny bags which are at the background. I really like the bags. They are so shiny

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It includes DEO-NANO FPGA board, an extendable mini USB cable, and some brochures

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This image can give an idea about the size of the board. It is a little smaller than a credit card.

This is the power-on test. Just unbagging the DE0 nano and plug it to PC, you will see the LEDs are flashing.

 

Initial thoughts:

Positive:

The kit looks handy.

Negative:

The quick start guide says there are two CDs inbox but I think they are not sending CDs anymore but not updated the quick start guide. Actually, I don't want CDs but if it says, they should be inbox.