The OSFPGA Foundation aims to promote open-source FPGA tools and IP blocks

OSFPGA

There are been some initiatives to work on open-source tools for FPGA. Major FPGA vendors have made limited efforts, with for example Xilinx recently releasing the source code for HLS FPGA tool’s front-end, but most of the work is done by the community with projects like Symbiflow dubbed the GCC of FPGAs, or Project IceStorm for Lattice Semi FPGAs. Industry veterans and academics have decided to launch the Open-Source FPGA (OSFPGA) Foundation that aims to bring together companies, universities, and individuals to advance open-source FPGA capabilities, establish cooperation channels, promote outreach and education, and coordinate joint efforts around an open-source FPGA ecosystem. The OSFPGA Foundation goals go beyond just providing open-source tools, as the vision statement also mentions “open-source FPGA & eFPGA fabrics”, the Github page also includes IP blocks with the FuseSoC package manager for IP cores, the Skywater Open-source FPGAs, and LiteDRAM lightweight, configurable DRAM core. Current board members include: Dr. Naveed Sherwani, chairman of Silicon Federation. He […]

It’s now easier to customize Raspberry Pi OS images

Raspberry Pi Imager v1.6

When I need to flash a Raspberry Pi OS image, I usually download the image from the Raspberry Pi website before flashing it to a MicroSD card with either balenaEtch or USBimager. The Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi Imager last year, but I never used it, except to try it out, because at the time, it would just flash the image to the MicroSD card like other tools, and since I’m working with SBCs from different vendors it did really not bring any benefits to me. But with the v1.6 release, the Raspberry Pi tool has become more useful to advanced users, notably those who like to set up the image in a headless Pi. Before we had to flash the image, mount the MicroSD card, and go edit /boot/config.txt to enable SSH and other settings. Now, it’s possible to do the same from Raspberry Pi Image v1.6 by pressing Ctrl+Shift+X to bring the Advanced options to configure: […]

Xilinx open sources Vitis HLS FPGA tool (Front-end only)

Vitis HLS software architecture

While there are some open-source programs for FPGA development such as Symbiflow or Yosys, FPGA vendors usually only provide closed-source programs for developers wanting to work on their chips. But Xilinx has recently made a move to fulfill its “commitment to supporting open-source initiatives for developers and researchers” with the release of the source code of Vitis HLS Front-End. What is Vitis HLS exactly? Before we look at the source code release, we may want to know what Vitis HLS does exactly. The company describes it as a high-level synthesis (HLS) tool that allows C, C++, and OpenCL functions to become hardwired onto the device logic fabric and RAM/DSP blocks. It implements hardware kernels in the Vitis application acceleration development flow, and to use C/C++ code for developing RTL IP for FPGA designs in the company’s Vivado Design Suite. Vitis HLS design flow goes as follows: Compile, simulate, and debug the C/C++ algorithm. View reports to analyze and optimize the […]

Little Bee is an affordable, open hardware current & magnetic field probe (Crowdfunding)

Little Bee Current Probe

Little Bee is an affordable, open-source hardware, and high-performance current probe and magnetic field probe designed to debug and analyze electronic devices at a much lower cost than existing solutions such as Migsic CP2100B or I-prober 520. This type of tool is especially important for power electronics, which has become ever more important with electric vehicles, alternative energy solutions, and high-efficiency power supplies. Little Bee B1 hardware specifications and key features: Based on Anisotropic Magneto-Resistive (AMR) magnetic sensor. Adjustable bandwidth (10 MHz and 1 MHz) Adjustable gain (1x and 4x) Automatic zeroing SMA Output Connector for connection to any standard 1 MΩ impedance oscilloscope input Current sensing Bandwidth – DC – 10 MHz Sensitivity – 0.25 Volts/Amp Max Current – +/- 5 A Noise – 3 mA RMS at 10 MHz bandwidth, 2 mA RMS at 1 MHz bandwidth DC Accuracy – +/- 15% Insertion Impedance – 100 nH in parallel with 70 Ohms Maximum Wire Size – 4.25 mm […]

Voltage Measurement HAT for Raspberry Pi offers 16-bit analog inputs

MCC-128 Voltage Measurement HAT for Raspberry Pi

MCC has launched the MCC 128 voltage measurement DAQ HAT for Raspberry Pi for data acquisition and data logging systems. It includes 8 analog inputs with 16-bit resolution for a range of -10V to +10 V at the data rate of 100 kS/s. This data rate can be increased by stacking up to 8 HATs for 64 channels of data which can produce a faster data rate up to 320 kS/s. The MCC 128 DAQ HAT is compatible with all Raspberry Pi models with the 40-pin GPIO header, excluding the original Pi 1 A or B with the 26-pin header. It is recommended to use the SPI interface for connecting LCD displays using the GPIO header. The configuration parameters of the board are stored in the EEPROM to allow automatic set up of GPIO pins to Raspberry Pi after the connection of the device. Key Features of MCC 128 DAQ HAT 16-bit, 100 kS/s A/D converter Single-ended and differential input […]

USB2IO high-speed interface explorer tool combines Intel Cyclone 10 FPGA and STM32H7 MCU

USB2IO interface explorer

In the second part of 2020, we’ve seen a fair amount of USB debugging tools for electronics designers and hardware hackers including the Glasgow Interface explorer with an ICE40 FPGA. But if you need even more flexibility or higher I/O speeds (up to 300 MHz), DAB Embedded USB2IO interface explorer should help thanks to the combination of an STMicro STM32H7 MCU and an Intel Cyclone 10 FPGA. USB2IO interface explorer hardware specifications: MCU – STMicro STM32H743 Arm Cortex-M7 @ 480MHz CPU clock An external 64MB QSPI flash for extra FPGA code storage; FPGA  – Intel Cyclone 10LP (10CL040) with 40k logic elements, 1,134 Mbit embedded memory, 126 DSP blocks External memory – 32MB SDRAM for MCU and FPGA (64MB in total) Storage – 64MB QSPI for connected to MCU for FPGA code storage I/Os via 20-pin external header/connector 16 x GPIO mode (single-ended), 8x LVDS pair mode or a mix of 2 modes depending on firmware configuration Supported logic levels […]

Balena EtcherPro multi SD card writer now up for pre-order

Buy Balena Etcher Pro

We first wrote about Balena EtcherPro in December 2018, as a relatively low-cost multi-SD card writer, designed by Balena for people who needed to flash several micro SD cards, USB drives, or boards. At the time, mass production was scheduled for Q2 2019. But it took a bit more time than expected, and the company is only now taking pre-orders for the device with a $50 deposit, and $990 price tag excluding VAT and shipping. EtcherPro highlights and specifications: Display – 7-inch RGB touch screen for control Ports – 16x USB 3.0, 16x SD card slots, 16x MicroSD card slots to flash up to 16 drives/devices at once Flash at speeds up to 52MB/s when flashing 16 drives/devices simultaneously, or up to 200MB/s for a single drive/device Supports SD, microSD, USB drives, and single-board computers (or compute modules via carrier boards) Flash an image from a physical drive source or an online source (URL) Clone physical drives/devices Stackable to flash […]

Protocol Droid is a USB bridge board to I2C, CAN Bus, RS485, UART, SPI, etc. (Crowdfunding)

Protocol Droid

We’ve seen some interesting USB hardware hacking/debugging boards in the last two months with Tigard, Ollie, and Glasgow Interface Explorer each with their own price point and features, but with the goal of replacing multiple other programming or debug boards you may need for your projects. Protocol Droid is another one of such USB boards for electronics designers and hardware hackers. It offers I/O connectivity via terminal blocks for I2C, CAN Bus, RS485, UART, SPI, and other interfaces. Protocol Droid key features and specifications: MCU – Unnamed STMicro microcontroller Host interface – Micro USB port Core Interfaces: I²C controller & peripheral modes SPI controller & peripheral modes RS485 controller & peripheral modes CAN Bus UART 2x PWM 2x ADC 2x DAC Debugging / programming interfaces – 7-pin JTAG/SWD unpopulated header Power Sources – 3V & 5V DC with limited current via 2-pin terminal blocks All interfaces are available simultaneously through the USB port., and the developer provides a program to […]