While we now come across more and more FPGA development boards, very few are designed to be inserted into a breadboard. We’ve previously covered TinyFPGA BX, Fipsy, and QuickFeather FPGA breadboard-friendly boards.
All those boards are however based on entry-level FPGAs like Lattice Semi ICE40 or QuickLogic EOS S3, and if you’d like a more powerful FPGA board that fits into a breadboard, MicroNova Mercury 2 development board may meet your requirements with a Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA.
MicroNova Mercury 2 specifications:
- FPGA – Xilinx Artix-7A FPGA (XC7A35T) with 33,280 logic cells or XC7A100T with 101,440 logic cells
- System Memory – 4 Mbit (512K x 8-bit) asynchronous SRAM
- Storage – 32 Mbit SPI flash for configuration & user data
- Networking – On-board Microchip LAN8720A 10/100M Ethernet PHY
- USB – Dual-channel high-speed USB 2.0 micro USB port (ch A for config, ch B for user)
- 2x 32-pin headers
- Fast Ethernet signals
- 8-channel, 200 KSPS, 10-bit ADC via Microchip MCP-3008
- 2-channel, 225 kHz, 10-bit DAC via Microchip MCP-4812
- 40x 5-volt tolerant IO pins
- 10x FPGA-direct high-speed IO pins
- Debugging – 6-pin Expansion header for JTAG interface, FTDI chip for micro USB debugging/programming
- Misc – 3x User LEDs
- Power Supply – 5V from the micro USB port or external 4.5V – 5.5V power source
- Dimensions – 76.2 x 25.4 mm
The Mercury 2 board can be programmed with the Xilinx Vivado design suite, and the resulting bitstream can be flashed to the board over USB using mercury2_prog command-line programming utility aka Mercury 2 Programmer. You’ll find schematics and other documentation on MicroNova website.
If you don’t feel like connecting the board to a breadboard and deal with all the required wiring, the company also provides the Mercury baseboard that works with the older Spartan-3A based Mercury board and the new Mercury 2 Artik-7 FPGA development board covered in this article.
The baseboard comes with a 64-bit socket for the FPGA devboard, as well as a 4-digit seven-segment display, four push-buttons & eight toggle switches, a PS/2! port for keyboard or mouse, a VGA port, a Pmod-compatible connector, 3.5mm audio jacks, an analog temperature sensor, a light sensor, and a potentiometer for use with the analog-to-digital converter.
Mercury 2 DIP FPGA board can be purchased for $129 and up on Tindie or MicroNova store where you’ll get the options to get a higher capacity SPI flash, or Xilinx Artik-7 XC7A100T FPGA.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Digilent Cmod A7 and S7 have already been there from quite some time.
The one from Digilent is basically just an FPGA on a board. Looks like this one has 5V level shifting, external DACs / ADCs, ethernet PHY, and way more IO pins.