Radiona ULX3S Open Source Hardware ECP5 FPGA Development Board Launched for $99 and Up (Crowdfunding)

Last summer, we wrote about Radiona ULX3S education board combining a Lattice Semi ECP5 FPGA with an Espressif Systems ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth WiSoC.

Designed for a digital logic course at the University of Zagreb, the board is open-source hardware with KiCAD hardware design files released on GitHub, and programmable with the Arduino IDE (FPGArduino) and ProjectTrellis open-source toolchain.

Radiona ULX3S Lattice ECP5 FPGA Educational Board

At the time, there was only a version based on Lattice ECP5 85F with 84K LUT, but they’ve now made versions with cheaper variants of ECP5 FPGA and launched the board on Crowd Supply.

Radiona ULX3S specifications:

  • FPGA (one of the other)
    • Lattice ECP5 LFE5U-85F-6BG381C with 84K LUT
    • Lattice ECP5 LFE5U-45F-6BG381C with 44K LUT
    • Lattice ECP5 LFE5U-12F-6BG381C with 12K LUT
  • System Memory – 32MB SDRAM @ 166 MHz
  • Storage – 4–16MB Quad-SPI Flash for FPGA config and user data storage; MicroSD slot
  • Audio – 3.5 mm jack with 4 contacts (analog stereo + digital audio or composite video)
  • Video – Digital video (GPDI General-Purpose Differential Interface) with 3.3V to 5V I2C bidirectional level shifter
  • Display – Placeholder for 0.96″ SPI color OLED display (SSD1331 driver)
  • Wireless Connectivity
    • ESP32-WROOM-32 module with WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5.1 LE (Standalone JTAG web interface over WiFi)
    • Antennas – 27, 88–108, 144, 433 MHz FM/ASK onboard
  • USB – 2x micro USB ports, one connected to FTDI FT231XS and the other to the FPGA
  •  Expansion
    • 56 GPIOs (28 differential pairs), PMOD-friendly with 3.3V/1A 2.5V/1.5A power output
    • 8-channel ADC, 12 bit, 1 MSa/s via MAX11125
  • Misc – 11x LEDs 11 (8x user, 2x USB, 1x WiFi); 7x buttons (4x direction, 2x fire, 1x power); 25 MHz crystal onboard, external differential clock input; MCP7940N RTC with CR1225 battery backup
  • Power Supply
    • 5V input via USB port
    • 3x Switching voltage regulators: 1.1V, 2.5V, 3.3V
    • 5V output
    • Low power sleep – 5uA/5V standby
  • Dimensions  – 94 × 51 mm

ECP5 FPGA + ESP32 Module

The company has also released the workshop materials on Github with instructions for Linux and Windows. Support is available on Gitter where you can chat with other members of the community.

A comparison table for various Lattice Semi ECP5 development has been published as well. Note that it does not include the tiny, Feather board compliant, OrangeCrab that has just launched for $99 with ECP5 25F FPGA on GroupGets.

ECP5 Development Board Comparison
Check on Crowd Supply for the full comparison

Radiona ULX3S is available in three versions with the following pricing:

  • Lattice ECP5 12F (12K) – Early bird: $99; $115
  • Lattice ECP5 45F (44K LUT) – $135
  • Lattice ECP5 85F (84K LUT) – $155

If you feel up to it, you could also buy the bare board for $10, but you’d need to source and solder the components yourself. The crowdfunding campaign has just launched, and it’s going well so far for over $20,000 raised surpassing the $15,000 funding target. Shipping is free to the US, and $12 to the rest of the world with rewards expected to start shipping on June 16, 2020.

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Daniel
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Daniel

For 130 US$ you can get the Terasic DE10-Nano, which has a not only 110K LUT-Capacity, but also a huge following due to the MISTer fpga retro gamers.

DurandA
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Unfortunately the Cyclone V does not have an open-source toolchain.

dgp
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dgp

The prices are a bit painful. The orangecrab looks cool but for almost $100 … maybe not.
If I need $100 worth of LUTs I need more IO than that.

Somebody
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Somebody

A pity they have to make these so expensive due to free US shipping, which should have been free EU shipping (where the creators are located). Crowdsupply, alas, was an unnecessarily expensive platform to chose.

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