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PYNQ-Z2 Dev Board: Python Productivity for Zynq® - Review


Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 8
Product was easy to use: 8
Support materials were available: 9
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 55 / 60
  • RoadTest: PYNQ-Z2 Dev Board: Python Productivity for Zynq®
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Avenet Mini Zed Starter Kit

  • Detailed Review:

    First of all, Thank You Element 14 Community to give me this awesome opportunity to RoadTest yet another awesome piece of hardware. This indeed was an exciting Roadtest and a solid product from TUL ans PYNQ.


    NOTE : I am a Newbie in the field of FPGA and am still under process learning Zynq platform. So As of NOW I will review this kit from a Hardware and Design prospective and a Newbie  prospective of programmable logic systems. I will try to get into FPGA/ Zynq and will blog my journey of implementing a ML Model in future.   


    That being said, Let's dive deeper.


    1.   Unboxing

    As expected from Element 14, kit came packed very well and with NO Damage during the transit. One thing I noted was the kit was a BASIC KIT and NOT the Advanced kit that the Roadtest page mentioned, But It had everything to get me started with the board so no worries there


    The actual PYNQ-Z2 Board was enclosed in the lovely Pink Box and it had the board introduction Out Of The Box (quite literally)

    {gallery} Board pictures

    Board Front BoX

    Board Front

    Board Back BoX

    Board Back

    The package also included a AC-DC SMPS adapter, a 16GB uSD card with Pynq2.3 pre installed, an ethernet cable and a USB Type A to MicroUsb 

    {gallery} Kit Assy Pictures

    Power Adapter Box

    Switching Power Adapter with Assy

    Switching Power Adapter Ratings

    Straight CAT 6 Eth Cable

    USB High Speed 2.0 Cable with Choke

    Memory Card 16 GB Class 10



    2.   Getting


    {gallery} Geting Started

    Finding the Board on Router

    First Introduction : By the Way the default password is "Xilinx"

    Main Page

    Base Overlay Page

    Common Overlay Page

    Logictools Overlay Page

    Getting Started Sub Menu


    3.   Python and Jupiter Notebook


    Getting Sample Code Installed is the most easiest thing to do ( This kit is designed for Ease of Use definitely) Just get the git repo and clone it


    Once you start using Jupiter it will be really clear as on why Xilinx and the Pynq community choose it. it is Kinna the way we were taught in Primary Schooling And it is really effective way to learn. This approach also promotes documenting the code simultaneously


    4.   Demos

    This was one of the kit where I found that though it had plenty of demos I felt a lack of demos specially for the RPi, PMOD and Arduino I/F ( I hope to contribute in that regard once I understand the software better )  nonetheless the provided Jupiter notebooks are simply detailed and quite understandable. Xilinx and the PYNQ community also even added and introduction to Jupiter Notebook, Sweet.


    I will try and do a video review on few demos and tabulate it for better space management


    {tabbedtable} Tab LabelTab Content
    PYNQ OpenCV HDMI Face detection Example

    The Face Detection Demo I wanted to test out the capabilities associated with OpenCV and the computational time required by the PL and ohh Boy I was surprised


    PYNQ OpenCV Face detection using Webcam  Example

    Fun Example but not quite went the right way and no matter how much I tried Pynq didn't thought me as Pink enough

    PYNQ OpenCV Live Filter using Webcam  Demo

    As mentioned in the Video I Was able to get some Output and it was literally real time but @ 640x480 24Bit a decent High end processor with soft GPU could achieve the same results So Some More Digging needs to be done .. .. ....

    Analog Input Tests

    So for this test I was trying to find a Joystick but was not able to grab hold of either a Groove Shield or a Joystick module. So I programmed a Ramp function on a MSP430FR2443 MCU and hooked that to the Analog in (Don't worry Both are 3.3V tolerant) So I got the following results which is really decent. Given that this was recorded by MicroBlaze soft processor. Next would be to try some Direct Analog Data acquisition.

    Audio Recording and Playback

    So I recorded couple of samples and was not able to make out the weird sound that the speaker was producing. I do ought to use some filers though.


    Static Noise on Audio out connected to a Wireless Spkr over 3.5mm 2 Mtr cable

    Amplitude/Freq Spectrum of Audio recording

    Another fun demo showing the capabilities of the kit.



    5.   Few Issues I faced (or maybe didn't understand properly)

    (a)    Booting the kit.      So the first issue I faced was when ever I took out the board from its Pink box and plugged it to the wall supply it NEVER booted right away (Only the Done LED glows and nothing else) I had to remove the sd card, re insert the SD card and re-power the board at least once to get it to load the bin file.


    (b)     Loading Bit File every time.


    (c)     Power board from HDMI OUT port.



    6. Conclusion     I would like to conclude by saying that I was just able to scratch the surface and this is the Titanic of PS/PL systems and there's yet a ton to learn. I would also like you to please correct me if I may have made any mistake on understanding the concept or might have simply drifted away. I am still a Newbie to PL/PS and passionate to learn . Finally the kit is really a kit designed for people like me to getting started and make me feel quite comfortable handling the kit rather than staring at it all day long .


    Finally I would like to thank Element 14, The Community members and rscasny for giving me a chance to explore this domain, moreover letting me take some more time to do this quite challenging review.


    I Know, I have missed on couple of interesting things like How to create your own Overlays and Libraries and obviously some preliminary RISC V and ML/AL stuff so, I am planning to cover that in future blog posts as my journey learning the system better.


    Thanks for reading through the Review


    GS Gill


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