SWEETENING THE DEAL
With a few days left in our campaign, we will sweeten the MaxProLogic deal. We will now offer our newly developed BLE Board. This board includes the Texas Instruments CC2640 chip along with a 2.4GHz antenna and matching network. This board plugs directly into MaxProLogic. It communicates with the FPGA over a UART serial link. The CC2640 runs proprietary firmware along with the radio control code. The CC2640 communicates with a custom app on the Android phone. We will be adding Apple iOS compatibility in the future. The MaxProLogic has a proprietary Verilog interface running in the FPGA that allows full bidirectional communication with the Android phone. You can use the BLE board to experiment with wireless communications or create a custom weather station. This BLE board is added as a $12 option to the MaxProLogic, JTAGBlaster, and VisiPort reward.
The CC2640 BLE Developers Board provides an ARM M4 microcontroller with 128KB of flash and a 4.2 BLE radio.
THE PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC WORLD!
Students and Hobbyists are migrating into the world of Programmable Logic in a big way in 2017. The appetite for FPGA Development boards is growing exponentially. The FPGA chip vendors are responding to this appetite by creating larger, MORE powerful and cheaper chips. Earth People Technology has created a new FPGA Development board that takes advantage of these newer devices: The MaxProLogic. Our most powerful and least expensive FPGA development board.
WHAT IS THE MAXPROLOGIC?
The MaxProLogic is an FPGA development board that is designed to be user friendly and a great introduction into digital design for anyone. The core of the MaxProLogic is the Altera MAX10 FPGA. This powerful chip has 4,000 Logic Elements and 200 Kbits of Memory. The MAX10 is easily scalable from the entry level college student to the most advanced projects like an audio sound meter with FFT. Among the many great features of the MaxProLogic is the MAX10 chip; ths a built in Flash for configuration and incorporates 8 channels of Analog to Digital Conversion. These two features alone create a far superior FPGA chip than any competitor on the market. It allows the user to create more diverse projects.
- MAX 10 10M04SA FPGA FROM INTEL/ALTERA 4,000 Logic Elements;
- 2.2 Mbit On chip Flash; 189 Kbit On Chip SRAM 8 Analog Input
- Channels; 12 bit; 1MSamples/Second 65 Available I/O’s at connectors
- 65 Inputs/Outputs available at connectors on board
- 8 Green User configurable LEDs 1 Power Pushbutton Switch; 1 User Configurable Pushbutton Switch
- On Board MicroSD Card Slot
- Two Power options: Standard USB (+5V @ 2Amp) Using Micro-B connector; 5mm Barrel Connector Accepts +12V @ 3Amp
- Switching Power Supply, Provides stable output under high load stress
- On/Off controller uses push button, optional bypass mode to allow board power up without On/Off control
- Two Clocks: 50MHz Oscillator; 32.768KHz Oscillator
- On board interface to Standard USB to Serial Adapters
- Temperature Sensor with +/-0.3C Resolution
- Standard Programming Connector fits any Altera USB Blaster
WHY THE MAXPROLOGIC?
The MaxProLogic is designed to make digital design easy and cost effective. At Earth People Technology we have years of experience helping students and hobbyists get started with FPGA design. We know that the learning curve in getting started can be a time consuming and frustrating process so we have created a User Manual that walks the user step by step from unpacking to completing an initial project to creating an epic application that will be worthy of wide attention. The Learning Curve with any new piece of hardware is always time consuming. We painstakingly crafted a guide that leaves out no details in creating a project under the Quartus Software Tool. We will explain how to organize project user files into a folder system for easy navigation. We will explain how to:
- Create a Project
- Add User Files
- Add MegaFunction IP Files
- Add Synopsys Design Constraints
- Assign Inputs and Outputs to pins of the MAX10
- Compile the Design
- Synthesize the Project
- Program into the MAX10
In short, the MaxProLogic will cut the time to get up and running significantly. We also include several pre-made, fully compiled, fully synthesized projects for the user. You can start your project by copying one of these pre-made projects and adding user code.
Simulation has always been a weak point for students and hobbyists. Most FPGA beginners write the user code, compile it, synthesize it, program the chip then test out the results. While this approach may work for small, simple designs, it quickly becomes a problem with larger projects. As the user code increases in complexity, better development tools are required to quickly isolate problems. The premier method for this is functional testing. ModelSim is included Free with the Quartus Prime Package. ModelSim is a powerful tool for finding errors in the user code before you go to synthesis. Earth People Technology has created a guide that walks the user through creating a project and verifying functionality of user code. This guide will explain the use of the TestBench, Tasks, and Models in verification of the user code. In specifics, the guide will explain:
- Create a ModelSim Project
- Create a Makefile and Compilation of user code
- Create a TestBench and Stimulus of user code
- Create Models for user code to Interact With
- Add Clock Signals, Resets, and Timing Elements
- Debug the Functionality of user code
The MaxProLogic leverages the Quartus Prime Lite Software for compilation and synethsis. This software tool is completely free and provides very powerful tools for the user. Also included free in the software tools is the simulation tool, ModelSim. Many beginners to the FPGA world are hesitant about using simulation tools. They feel these tools are too difficult to learn and use. This is where the MaxProLogic breaks that fear. The MaxProLogic comes with a user guide that walks the user from start up to full simulation. Each step is well documented and explained.
The MaxProLogic is Open Source Hardware based on the MAX10 FPGA. In addition to the on chip 8 Channel ADC and on-chip Flash, the board is loaded with great tools. The board has two power options, standard USB Micro B connector and 5.5mm Barrel connector. You can run the MaxProLogic from a laptop with 2.5W of power. Or you can run it from the +5V @ 2A wall USB chargers for 10W of power. The barrel connector can handle up to +9V @ 3 A for 27W of power. The MaxProLogic has a MicroSD connector on the bottom of the board. This allows the user to create a powerful long term Data Acquisition System. The board has an optional On/Off pushbutton switch that allows the user to turn the system on and off. There are two clocking options, 50MHz oscillator and 32.768KHz oscillator. You can view the schematic here:
The MaxProLogic has a built in connector to allow FTDI Breakout Boards or Equivalent to connect directly to the FPGA. There are two voltage level translators that allow both +5V and +3.3V devices to communicate via UART with the FPGA.
Risks and challenges
The MaxProLogic follows a rich heritage of Programmable Logic Boards from Earth People Technology. We have long history of delivering successful development/project boards for the Student/Hobbyist market. The MaxProLogic has gone through three prototype revisions to produce the perfect board. The purpose of this Kickstarter campaign for the MaxProLogic is to take pre-orders so that a larger order can be placed with the manufacturer.
-Oct 2017, Complete Kickstarter Funding Drive
-Nov 2017, Place Order for MaxProLogic PCBs, Parts, and Stencils
-Dec 2017, Fabrication of PCBs and Production Build of UnoProLogic2s
-Dec 2017, Place Order for VisiPorts and JTAG-Blasters PCBs, Parts, and Stencils
-Jan 2018, Start Delivery of Early Bird MaxProLogics
-Jan 2018, Production Build of VisiPorts and JTAG-Blasters
-Feb 2018, Continue Delivery of MaxProLogics, VisiPorts and JTAG-Blasters
-Mar 2018, Complete Delivery of all MaxProLogics, VisiPorts and JTAG-Blasters
- (30 days)