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Thursday, March 27, 2014

My first FPGA test - It worked!

I received today my cyclone IV basic dev board and I immediately tested the "my first FPGA" tutorial available on the Altera website.

You can find it here and it can be a very good way to test your new board and/or your software setup.

I followed the step by step process and I must say I understood most of it (still a few grey areas about timing constraints... need to review them a bit and check some literature maybe).

I had to cross reference the schematics of my board to identify the pins, took me a while -ehm, like 2 or 3 minutes actually- to identify the correct pin for the oscillator signal (it was not displayed on the main chip in the schematics).
Lol, I just noticed that on the board itself you can read "Clk=Pin25" and it is even printed in a quite visible font :)
As a general suggestion, if you buy a generic cheap board like I did, make sure you can find and download the schematics, you will definitely need them for the pin mapping!!

Anyhow, it all sounded pretty new to me, so I was quite sure there were about zero chances to see the binary counter running at the first shot.

Turns out I was wrong (oh, I really love to be wrong this way!! :) ).

100% completed, green is nice, but what actually was shocking was the view of the binary magic on the leds installed on the board (yeah, we geeks can spend hours watching a binary led clock).

I know, this post was not that informative, just wanted to share that I am happy that my FPGA "hello world" worked.
That's  the beauty of technology after all (for those who love it), it can surprise you every single day and you can count on the fact that tomorrow you may start playing with something new you don't know anything about.
Ain't it amazing?

An LED bus
blinks its four bits,
the MSB goes off, it starts again.
All in all  happiness 
is something little  (that blinks)

Originally Trilussa (a poet from Rome) wrote :

A bee settled
on a rose petal.
It sipped, and off it flew.
All in all happiness
is something little

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