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AU$ 4,643
pledged of AU$ 9,000pledged of AU$ 9,000 goal
14
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, September 12 2019 10:58 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated September 12, 2019

NovaPi NP01 - a stackable Virtex-5 FPGA hat for Raspberry Pi

Give your RPi a powerful FPGA hat + 4 PMOD headers. Expand IO, high speed logic + digital interfaces. Ideal for projects, mining + R&D.

NovaPi NP01 - a stackable Virtex-5 FPGA hat for Raspberry Pi

Give your RPi a powerful FPGA hat + 4 PMOD headers. Expand IO, high speed logic + digital interfaces. Ideal for projects, mining + R&D.

AU$ 4,643
pledged of AU$ 9,000pledged of AU$ 9,000 goal
14
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Thu, September 12 2019 10:58 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated September 12, 2019

About

 Update: 08SEP19

The boards are back! We decided to go ahead and manufacture NP01, and they are all looking great. 

Final manufactured boards

Here's how they look confirming mechanical fit in a stack:

NovaPi NP01 is a new Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA hat designed to suit Raspberry Pi and its clones. Only 25 available! 

"NP01 + Raspberry Pi makes for an ultra low cost crypto currency mining system"

Using the very large and fast Virtex-5, NP01 is currently the most powerful FPGA hat available for direct interfacing to the RPi using the 40 pin GPIO connector - it also works as a standalone FPGA device for independent applications. 

  • Large fabric fast FPGA device
  • 4x Digilent Pmod™ compatible headers, 1x SDRAM & 2x independent SRAM ICs
  • Suitable for development in Verilog and VHDL
  • Multiple boards can be stacked on Raspberry Pi either in series (eg bus interpretation) or in parallel (eg bus decoding, multiple interfacing)
  • RPi IOT-enabled FPGA
  • Low power wide operating voltage 3.3V-6V

The prototype NP01 board in our pictures has passed initial bring up tests and is ready for manufacture. To supercharge your RPi and bring the limited run of 25 boards to life, please click Back This Project.  Please note: this project is intended for experienced users.

Raspberry Pi + FPGA

With the popular Raspberry Pi  as a base and with access to an FPGA, you will have the power of high speed complex logic, combined with all the benefits of the well-known RPi connected platform.  

Raspberry Pi 4 

With the new addition to the RPi family the NP01 pin out appears compatible, and we have thrown together a comparison to demonstrate this. 

RPi 4 and NP01 pin out comparison
RPi 4 and NP01 pin out comparison

What could I do with NP01 + RPi?

Anything you can program it to do with Verilog and VHDL. 

There are also 4x Digilent Pmod™ compatible headers that connect to an extensive range of specialized peripheral boards, opening up a huge range of applications.

The NP01 is ideal for porting activities due to its large amount of resources, high speed capability and generous IO (eg porting projects from Intel (Altera), MicroSemi (Actel) to Xilinx). You could explore state machine ability, pre- and co-processing, low latency trading, crypto currency mining, large scale parallel peripheral and IP block interfacing... and more. 

Original CAD of the prototype NovaPi NP01 hat on a Raspberry Pi base
Original CAD of the prototype NovaPi NP01 hat on a Raspberry Pi base

1. NovaPi NP01 hat on Raspberry Pi Model 3B+

The RPi paired with NP01 via the RPi GPIO header becomes a powerful resource for building and developing new applications where fast, complex logic enables new features and technologies.

The NP01 hat below is operating on a Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ with the power supply busy executing memory tests. The interfaces on the left are (lower) JTAG and (upper) soft JTAG for access to chip scope-style internal FPGA instruments.   

NovaPi NP01 hat on RPi - with a soft JTAG connection to FPGA chip scope-style tools via PMOD1
NovaPi NP01 hat on RPi - with a soft JTAG connection to FPGA chip scope-style tools via PMOD1

2. NovaPi NP01 standalone 

NP01 can also be used standalone (no RPi) for FPGA independent applications such as designs based on soft core processors (MicroBlaze, TSK3000, 6502, Z80 etc) in conjunction with PMOD-based peripherals for the creation of complete systems.

The photo below is a view of our prototype NP01V01 board powered up as a standalone device using the Virtex 5 FPGA, four PMOD headers and the FPGA RPi interface.   

NovaPi NP01 standalone - powered via RPi GPIO power pins (+5V)
NovaPi NP01 standalone - powered via RPi GPIO power pins (+5V)

Add multiple NP01 stacked boards for parallel or series bus configurations 

By changing the board orientation and using multiple boards, NP01 is designed to optionally interface in series or in parallel for alternative configurations and applications. 

The example diagrams below demonstrate that with two NP01 boards on the RPi base and topped with a basic display screen hat, you can alter the purpose of the entire computing unit.   

Stacking configurations - Option 1. Series or Option 2. Parallel
Stacking configurations - Option 1. Series or Option 2. Parallel

Option 1 - Series stacked interfacing

 If NP01 is stacked in series, it allows bus interpretation, data modification/conversion, caching/buffering and data path control, eg running a splash screen prior to boot.  

NovaPi NP01 Series Bus stack - CAD rendered image
NovaPi NP01 Series Bus stack - CAD rendered image

Option 2 - Parallel stacked interfacing

If NP01 is stacked in parallel it allows bus monitoring, bus decoding, bus copying, bus mastering, and multiple interfaces of the same type, eg multiple RPi interfaces to multiple hats.    

NovaPi NP01 Parallel Bus stack - CAD rendered image
NovaPi NP01 Parallel Bus stack - CAD rendered image

Pmod™ devices are Digilent’s line of small IO interface boards offering an ideal way to extend the capabilities of programmable logic and embedded control boards. 

PMODs communicate with system boards using 6, 8, or 12-pin connectors that can carry multiple digital control signals, including SPI and other serial protocols. These modules allow for more effective designs by routing analog signals and power supplies only where they are needed, away from digital controller boards - Digilent Pmod™ Interface Specification. We bought our Pmod selection at Digikey.

There are four PMOD compatible headers on NP01 opening up a large range of applications for RPi/NovaPi. We have implemented our PMOD interfaces to include 4x differential pairs, with 1x differential pair capable of being a differential clock input or 2x single-ended global clock inputs on each PMOD interface.

Example 1 This photo below shows NP01 porting several arcade games with the use of 1x double PMOD for VGA, 1x PMOD for sound and 1x PMOD with an 8x LED array to indicate status. 

The LEDs show:

  • Green = power on
  • Orange = Xilinx's FPGA successfully loaded and 'DONE' signal
  • Blue = Xilinx DCM PLL (Phase Lock Loop) is locked  
NP01 using four PMOD headers running arcade game
NP01 using four PMOD headers running arcade game

Example 2 This photo below shows NP01 loaded with a socZ80 example where a PS2 PMOD and microSD card are used in the project. The LED and breakout PMOD are for debugging. 

NP01 running four PMOD headers for a socZ80 project
NP01 running four PMOD headers for a socZ80 project

Projects

We can offer a series of 22 open source software projects and 38 tests plus full schematics that are on our site - www.nova-pi.com

Here is a snapshot below of what you can download. The projects are created in Altium Designer and use Xilinx webpack ISE to compile and synthesize.   

NP01 example projects
NP01 example projects
NP01 test projects
NP01 test projects

Key Component Specifications

  • Xilinx Virtex-5 LX50, 1136-FCBGA, 46080 Logic Cells, 3600 LAB/CLBs, 2211840 RAM bits, 480 IOs
  • 4x 12POS Digilent PMOD-compatible headers supporting plug-&-play hardware modules
  • 32MB SDRAM (16MB x 16) Alliance/Micron memory IC, parallel 167MHz 5.4ns 54-TSOP II 
  • 2x 512KB high speed 10ns SRAMs configured as 2 private bus 256KB x 16 memories
  • 4x (2x set, 2x programmable) LEDs (1x blue, 1x orange, 2x green)
  • 1x Push button
  • 1x Microchip LVDS clock, low jitter ±10ppm frequency stability, 150MHz frequency
  • 1x RPi GPIO IN FPGA IO input
  • 1x RPi GPIO OUT FPGA-controlled RPi colour-coded header output
  • 1x Micron SPI flash memory IC for auto-loading bitstream into FPGA, 128Mb (16M x 8), 133MHz (and user accessible after FPGA has loaded)
  • 1x standard Xilinx JTAG header (XPT029)
  • 200x 1mm Tinned and accessible test points for 'dead bug' interfacing
  • 3x Onboard power supplies: 3.3V @ 3A, 2.5V @3A, 1.0V @3A 

 NP01 Schematics, UCF and Constraint files

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1I_ajZihSpTtUMBaUW_WApxSg8ftw7Lcp?usp=sharing

Dimensions X-Y
Dimensions X-Y
Dimensions X-Y-Z
Dimensions X-Y-Z
System Block Diagram
System Block Diagram
Schematics - top level diagram
Schematics - top level diagram
NP01 pinout diagram and signal allocation - top
NP01 pinout diagram and signal allocation - top
NP01 pinout diagram and signal allocation - bottom
NP01 pinout diagram and signal allocation - bottom

Low power, wide operating voltage 3.3V-6V

NP01 has been designed with battery applications in mind, allowing it to operate between 3.3V - 6V with reverse polarity protection. It is capable of operating down to 3.3V thanks to the 100% duty cycle capability of the TPS82 series DC DC converter. 

NP01 is optimized for low power by disabling the power heavy Virtex-5 high speed rocket IO circuitry. Due to the board's low power operation it can be powered by the RPi header pins and also operate with the RPi 5V connected power supply.  

Powered by lithium battery pack
Powered by lithium battery pack

The photo below shows a test application for the simultaneous and independent testing of SRAM1, SRAM2, and DRAM which utilizes approximately 50% of the device and operates at a current of ~370mA from the RPi 5V supply, including the RPi at idle.  

NP01 power draw
NP01 power draw

The image below shows the Device Utilization Summary for the same test application as above, indicating that we can use a Virtex 5 FPGA at 50% with a very low power consumption.   

Device Utilization Summary
Device Utilization Summary

The Virtex-5 FPGA is supported in Vivado and ISE. It is very large and fast, has a lot of high speed internal memory and high performance resources, and retails as an individual chip for ~US$788.00. Link to datasheets: XC5VLX50T-1FFG1136C datasheets

NovaPi NP01 will be manufactured as a limited run of 25 boards. We are splitting production costs equally per board so there is one price and tier of reward.

The orders will ship from Sydney, including boards destined for US, Europe and Asia. Please note that you will be responsible for any duties or taxes levied by your country.

The images in this campaign can be downloaded here: 

 https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1XJkEX2RxqC_lJNec38IF_KzvWGpkvFUi?usp=sharing 

SRKH Designs is a small design team making high quality precision electronics hardware for military, industrial, university research and commercial applications. 

NovaPi series

We have on hand a limited number of Xilinx's powerful Virtex-5 FPGAs so the production run is small. Due to size, speed and especially how they are programmed with a highly time-stable language, we think the NP01 board will be a useful, long-lasting development tool for designing, testing, porting and experimenting. Depending on the success of NP01 we will make NP02 with exactly the same form factor and a different FPGA.

Virtualette

High density microcomputer supporting Linux/Android operating systems.

http://www.virtualette.com/
http://www.virtualette.com/

CBII

Apple II peripheral card with 5V DIP IC interface and FPGA. Successfully crowd-funded.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/CBII.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/CBII.html

CBI

Vintage computing Apple II peripheral card FPGA project. Successfully crowd-funded.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/CarteBlanche.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/CarteBlanche.html

MDACII

Digital to Analog converter for quantum qubit research.

Inverter/power system

IoT enabled, power factor corrected, AC to DC, DC to AC with 3.6KW battery charger power system with support for line synchronization, MPPT with fully programmable voltage and current.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/20120003_INV.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/20120003_INV.html

SSB

FPGA based traffic detection and management system with onboard option for dual core Linux computer.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/SSB160117FCC.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/SSB160117FCC.html

Nanoboard series

FPGA dev board with array of popular peripherals with background programming and debug capability.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/NB2.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/NB2.html

DB45

Samsung S3C2440A ARM9 coupled to an FPGA for IoT combo.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/DB45.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/DB45.html

SOM04

HIgh performance Linux computer with display port and HDMI in System on Module format.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/SOM4.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/SOM4.html

ZBOC

A battery management system for high capacity prismatic cells. Used in boating and electro light aircraft.

http://www.srkhdesigns.com/ZBOCv02.html
http://www.srkhdesigns.com/ZBOCv02.html

Risks and challenges

R&D risk aversion is complete and the board has passed bring up. We are ready to commence manufacture of the 25 remaining boards. Our BOM is robust with no supply issues with devices in stock, and the front end engineering tasks have been completed with our contract manufacturer. We have a very long track record of successful design and manufacture. As we have already taken care of pre-production and covered the risk, the good news is there is a very short time frame between end of campaign and delivery of reward.

Please note that NovaPi boards are designed for users who are familiar with electronic design and debugging, and familiar with safety precautions when working with electronic equipment. The prototype NP01 is a development board that will be the responsibility of the user to program.

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