DSP-Crowd's Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
€1,226 pledged of $21,326 goal
backers
By Johannes Natter
€1,226 pledged of $21,326 goal
backers

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

048a57f2492366014726c6cc1f601b81 original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

About

Hello Raspberry Pi Users, FPGA- and DSP-Beginners and Experts! Welcome to DSP-Crowd's first Kickstarter

We are very pleased to introduce our first gadget: The Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector. Our board combines the advantages of two well documented and supported systems. Guess which ones ;)

Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector top view
Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector top view

Correct! The first one is the Raspberry Pi. For those who still don't know the Raspberry Pi: It's a very low-priced single-board computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. By September 2016, 10 million devices of the Raspberry Pi family have found motivated users. Because of its row of GPIO (general purpose input/output) pins, the Raspberry Pi can be used in a lot of situations and projects besides ordinary personal computing stuff.

Our connector (on the left). And the Raspberry Pi Family (middle and right side)
Our connector (on the left). And the Raspberry Pi Family (middle and right side)

The second system which is involved is the DE0 Nano Development and Education Board made by Terasic. It contains a powerful ALTERA Cyclone IV FPGA with more than 22k logic elements, which can be transformed into whatever digital circuit you want. If you ask "What can I do with this thing?" we would say "Everything you can't do with an Arduino or Raspberry Pi!".

DE0 Nano. FPGA-Evaluation-Board developed by Terasic Inc.
DE0 Nano. FPGA-Evaluation-Board developed by Terasic Inc.

But there is a catch! The biggest advantage of FPGAs, which is high-speed low-level programming, is also a drawback. Because of the low abstraction FPGA development can be very frustrating and time consuming. At a certain point of your project you may want to analyse and process the data inside your FPGA using high level programming languages like C, C++, python etc. And although it is possible to integrate a complete CPU into an FPGA this isn't really a cool option. For beginners, it is simply an overkill and even most FPGA experts find it to be inconvenient.

Because of that, we at DSP-Crowd developed our connector to make it easier for you to enter and enjoy the powerful world of FPGAs.

Function

To see how the boards are connected to each other, check out the following system overview:

System Overview
System Overview

The picture shows four main components. On top there's your circuitry. The connector provides all pins from the Raspberry Pi and DE0 Nano headers on its upper side. With the included bread board you can extend these two systems with anything you can imagine.

In the middle you can see our Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector. It extends the two boards with either one, two or no network interfaces, see configurations below. Because of the integrated ID EEPROM, the connector and its network interfaces are recognized by the Raspberry Pi on startup without any configuration or installation steps. Just Plug and Play.

The dashed orange lines show the connector's power system. The Raspberry Pi as well as the DE0 Nano can be powered through the connector by just a single USB-Micro B cable. That means no messy cable tangle distracts you from your projects, see the picture below:

Only one USB-Micro B cable is needed to power all three boards
Only one USB-Micro B cable is needed to power all three boards

Additionally, the network interfaces on the connector are powered by an on-board voltage regulator. Therefore no power pins, neither on the Raspberry Pi nor the DE0 Nano, are used by the connector => All the power pins are belong to you.

The last two components in the system overview are the Raspberry Pi and the DE0 Nano themselves. The connector is designed to be also useful if you only have one of the two boards. That means you can use the connector with only the Raspberry Pi, only the DE0 Nano or with both boards connected. In all combinations the system can be powered by the mentioned single USB-Micro B cable.

Programming the DE0 Nano

After downloading an initial design to the FPGA, the DE0 Nano can be programmed (non-volatile) and restarted with standard Linux tools. No additional software is needed. See the following pictures of the command line on the Raspberry Pi:

Programming the FPGA (non-volatile)
Programming the FPGA (non-volatile)

 

Restarting the FPGA
Restarting the FPGA

To make this process even easier we created some handy scripts for you. Check out our software repository at GitHub: https://github.com/DSP-Crowd/software

Pin Mapping

The following picture shows the connector's pin assignment. With the DE0 Nano connected to the Raspberry Pi, you can use a lot of new high-speed GPIOs! For the communication between the two boards, only a few pins are reserved.

Pin Assignment
Pin Assignment

Supported Boards

The following Raspberries are supported by the connector:

  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Raspberry Pi Zero W
  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model A+
  • Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ 
  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Use cases

Configurations

Our users will always be able to select exactly what they want. Because of that, we provide three configurations of the Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector. The white bread board is included in all configurations but not shown on the pictures.

Configuration A - Minimal

If you just need a connection between the Raspberry Pi and the DE0 Nano, you can choose the Configuration A connector. This configuration is especially useful for users of the brand new Raspberry Pi Zero W!

Configuration A. Connector with no network interface. Especially useful with the brand new Raspberry Pi Zero W! Bread board is included but not shown!
Configuration A. Connector with no network interface. Especially useful with the brand new Raspberry Pi Zero W! Bread board is included but not shown!

Configuration B - Standard

For those of you who want to use a good old LAN cable, the Configuration B connector provides one network interface.

Configuration B. Connector with one network interface. Bread board is included but not shown!
Configuration B. Connector with one network interface. Bread board is included but not shown!

Configuration C - Complete

Sometimes it can be very useful to have an additional network interface. For those cases, we made the Configuration C.

Configuration C. Connector with two network interfaces. Bread board is included but not shown!
Configuration C. Connector with two network interfaces. Bread board is included but not shown!

Summary

At this point we would like to round up the advantages this setup has:

  • The Raspberry Pi as well as the DE0 Nano have a great and helpful community
  • Both boards are well documented
  • The Raspberry Pi supports your FPGA project with a lot of cool stuff like ready to use Linux images, hundreds of useful tools which can be easily installed by a package manager and a lot of hardware shields
  • With the included bread board users can add their own unique circuit to the system
  • No installation required on the Raspberry Pi for the connector itself
  • After short installation, the FPGA on the DE0 Nano can be programmed with standard Linux tools. Thus, no additional software is needed
  • Both boards are powered by the connector. Therefore, only one USB-Micro B cable is needed to supply the whole system
  • Use the power of two abstraction layers in your future projects: Program the Raspberry Pi with high level programming languages like C++, Python or whatever you want and additionally use the many high-speed GPIOs the DE0 Nano provides
  • No complex Soft-Core processor is needed which allocates a lot of your FPGA's space
  • Because the design in the FPGA stays small, the simulation is much more comfortable and faster
  • No complex and proprietary "system builder" is needed
  • The Linux kernel and distributions on the CPU-side are maintained and updated by a great community
  • Three different configurations of the connector are available. You can choose the one which fits your needs

Current state of the project

Our connector already passed several revisions. The current prototype is fully functional. The design has been significantly improved by our manufacturing and EMC partners (who are located in Germany and Austria) and only minor changes will be made for the final product:

  • PTC-Fuse will be added. Little 0805 part
  • Adding fiducials
  • Replacing the EMC dummy resistors with ferrite beads

Additionally, the necessary drivers for the DE0 Nano board have been activated inside the official Raspberry Pi Linux kernel, see https://github.com/raspberrypi/linux/issues/1781. Just execute the following command on your Raspberry Pi to get the drivers:

On a new device you can just install the official Raspbian Image from https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian. The drivers for the DE0 Nano are already included in this image.

The connector itself is recognized by the Raspberry Pi without installing anything.

Finance

Our funding goal makes it possible to manufacture the boards to a reasonable price and gives us some time to complete the project.

Stretch goals

For the CE and FCC certifications we need additional time and money. If we reach a stretch goal of 45k, we are able to put the finishing touches to your connectors.

Everything above will give us time to create tutorials and optional software components as you wish. But keep in mind that our priority is to manufacture the boards first!

Can I support this project otherwise?

Yes you can! Besides giving us money you can help us very much with these things:

Spread the word!

You know someone nerdy who would like to add our boards to his/hers electronic collection? Then please tell them about the DSP-Crowd and our Raspberry Pi to DE0 Nano connector!

Follow us at:

Give us feedback!

With a little of your time we can make the DSP-Crowd to something special. If we know what our users want we can act accordingly!

Join the development!

Since we produce Open-Source Hard- and Software, you can always use our stuff and modify it as you wish. If you have an idea for an app, a Linux driver, a hardware extension or anything else, please feel free to fork our repositories and show us your project!

About us

We are an Open-Source Hardware startup located near Salzburg in Austria (No Kangaroos!) with the goal to help makers who are interested in FPGAs and Digital Signal Processing to get started in these fields as painlessly as possible.

As soon as our Kickstarter campaign reaches our funding goal we will release all hardware design files on our GitHub page. A PDF showing the schematic of the connector can be released immediately if requested.

We have a rough concept for future extension boards, focus on following topics:

  • Audio signal processing
  • "High speed" analog signal processing
  • RF to baseband conversion
  • Additional digital IO boards

We would enjoy to define the details of these extension boards in close contact with our users. You can always visit us at our homepage on dsp-crowd.com

Team

  • Johannes Natter
    Since he was 15 years old, Joe's passion is programming all sorts of things. At the age of 27 he graduated at the University of Applied Science Upper Austria in Hagenberg with a master's degree in Embedded Systems Design. He also has 5+ years experience in embedded software development. Today he wants to help makers all over the world to enter the interesting world of FPGAs and Digital Signal Processing
  • Josef Lohninger
    is a Co-Founder of the DSP-Crowd and wants to bring this project to life. He and Joe complement one another in a perfect way.

Our goals

  • Serve the user
    We listen to you and we are happy about any feedback we get
  • We see our users as a part of the crowd
  • Create Open-Source Hardware for and with you
  • Teach people FPGA programming and digital signal processing

External partner

Besides our manufacturing and EMC partners Joe's best friend Alex also supports us with a lot of tips to create a successful startup. His company Hochzeitsbüscherl provides wedding boutonnieres for your very special moment.

Plan

  • April
    - Integrate minor changes in current prototype.
    - Test changes with existing prototypes.
    - Inform our partners about the Kickstarter kick-off. Arrange appointments.
    - Take care of the Kickstarter campain. Social media etc.
  • May
    - Inform our partners about the final lot size.
    - Finalize the test adapter, which is used in the manufacturing process to test the connectors as well as programming the ID-EEPROMs.
    - Close collaboration with our manufacturer to optimize the production process
  • June
    - CE and FCC testing.
    - Optional Buffer: If something still must be changed because of CE, FCC or production (not expected)
    - Production and quality control
  • July
    - Defeat the bureaucracy monster and planning the shipping processes
  • August
    - Shipping the boards

Shipping, Tax and Customs

If you live outside of the EU, you will be responsible for any applicable duty/VAT charges and customs.

Risks and challenges

As in every project there are risks. But because our connector follows the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid) the risks are kept as minimal as possible for you.

We already discussed the manufacturing process with our dedicated and established partner. Because no fancy parts or packages are used, the production will be straight forward.

For the CE and FCC certifications, we have another qualified partner who improved the design of the connector already significantly. We expect the certification process to be quite painless.

At this stage, we are confident that our project can be completed successfully and we are committed to do that fast and reliable but we need your support to make it happen eventually.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge €1 or more About $1.08

    Altruistic master

    You just want to see this project succeed? Be careful, if you pledge here, you get nothing in return but a VERY BIG ... Thank you!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    2 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge €19 or more About $21

    Early Bird - Configuration A

    Be an early bird and get one Configuration A connector for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge €24 or more About $26

    Configuration A

    One Configuration A connector

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge €25 or more About $27

    Early Bird - Configuration B

    Be an early bird and get one Configuration B connector for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 4 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge €29 or more About $31

    Configuration B

    One Configuration B connector

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge €35 or more About $38

    Early Bird - Configuration C

    Be an early bird and get one Configuration C connector for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 10 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge €39 or more About $42

    Configuration C

    One Configuration C connector

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge €89 or more About $96

    All-rounder: Configuration A, B and C

    A + B + C = Fun. Get one of each Configuration for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge €114 or more About $123

    5x Configuration A

    Get five Configuration A connectors for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  10. Select this reward

    Pledge €139 or more About $150

    5x Configuration B

    Get five Configuration B connectors for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  11. Select this reward

    Pledge €179 or more About $193

    2x All-rounder

    Get each Configuration (A, B and C) two times for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  12. Select this reward

    Pledge €189 or more About $204

    5x Configuration C

    Get five Configuration C connectors for a reduced price

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    0 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)