iCESugar-nano is a $19 iCE40LP1k FPGA board with 3x PMOD connectors

Muse Lab’s iCESugar-nano is a tiny FPGA board based on Lattice Semi iCE40LP1K-CM36 programmable via its USB-C port through on-board iCELink debugger, and exposing I/Os for three standard PMOD connectors.

The board is fully supported by Yosys open-source toolchain ( Yosys+ nextpnr + IceStorm), and the onboard debugger supports drag-and-drop programming so that you can just drag the FPGA bitstream into the virtual disk to program it through a USB Type-C cable.

iCESugar-nano FPGA boardiCESugar-nano specifications:

  • FPGA – Lattice Semi iCE40LP1k FPGA with 1280 LUT/8KB SRAM/PLL
  • Storage – 2MB SPI flash (W25Q16)
  • USB – 1x USB Type-C port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 14x usable IOs with 1x 12-pin PMOD connectors and 2x 6-pin PMOD connectors
  • Debugging – On-board iCELink debugger based on Arm Mbed DAPLink
  • Misc – Adjustable clock (8/12/36/72MHz), LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
  • Dimensions – 3.9 x 1.8 cm

iCESugar-nano pinout diagram

Documentation, schematic PDF, links to tools, and an Ubuntu virtual image with all tools pre-installed can be found on Github.

I first found the board for $19 while browsing Aliexpress, but it can also be purchased on Tindie for the same price. There are also some kits with a choice of PMOD expansion boards with eight LEDs, an 8-position DIP switch, a microSD card socket, or a 0.96-inch LCD.

iCE40 FPGA PMOD expansion boardsIf you’d like something a bit more powerful, Muse Lab also developed the iCESugar-Pro board with a 24K LUT Lattice LFE5U-25F-6BG256C FPGA, 32MB flash and 32MB SDRAM capable of running Linux on a RISC-V softcore. That board is sold for $47 on Aliexpress, and you’ll find resources for development on Github.

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