Help with custom ProAsic3 dev board

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Help with custom ProAsic3 dev board

Postby oliglaser » Sun Jun 27, 2010 9:50 am

Hi all,

I have purchased a FlashPro4 programmer and a few ProAsic3 60K gate FPGAs. I have a small business and I etch a lot of my own boards when prototyping.

Having spent hours reading various documents from the Actel site, I have got some idea, but I am still not totally sure of the different connections, voltages etc necessary to set up a basic dev board (i.e one chip with voltage/clock source and a few I/Os to mess about with to get started) Seems FPGAs are a little harder to get up to speed with than Microcontrollers - I have done similar boards with things like PIC32 with not much trouble, but finding it harder here.

I was hoping to fine a schematic that shows a basic setup but not much luck really.

If someone could point me to a schematic or similar that would be great.

Main points I need clarifying:

Various voltage levels

Which pin for clock source and what clock source

Connection for ISP with FlashPro4

Thanks.
Last edited by oliglaser on Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Thoma HAUC » Mon Jun 28, 2010 6:52 pm

Hi oliglaser,

Did you took a look at this link?
http://www.actel.com/download/rsc/?f=A3PE_PROTO_KIT_SS

If you did not find enough information I am able to help you as I use often Actel FPGAs (SX, AX & ProASIC3).

Thoma
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Postby oliglaser » Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:32 pm

Hi Thoma,

Thanks for the reply.

Yes I have been looking at those schematics to give me an idea of what is needed. Was looking for something a little more simple though, although I know the principle is roughly the same.

With this one I am planning on probably etching myself so it will be a very basic one (possibly two) layer board. I have done similar with Pic32 when prototyping, although I'm sure I will be ordering some proper boards at some point (I will be using them at as high a speed as possible eventually in my USB scope)

I have been also reading the ProAsic3 handbook and I think I am getting up to speed with most of it. Stuff like which pin to use for the clock input with PLL on a 60k device and the FlashPro4 connections (resistors, termination etc) I'm not totally sure of though. For instance it says the west side CCC has a PLL, but I can't see any mention of the actual pin name/number. EDIT - from a bit more reading I believe the one with e PLL is GFx0, 1 or 2 in the 60k gate version. (F stands for west side?) I have picked GFA0.

If you have used these chips, it would be great if you could take a look at my schematics when I have finished it to check them.
oliglaser
 
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Location: Manchester, UK

Postby Thoma HAUC » Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:04 pm

Hi oliglaser,

As soon as you complete your schematic, I can proceed to a schematic review. Send me a private message.

Thoma
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Postby oliglaser » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:57 pm

Ok - thanks very much, I will do that.
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Postby oliglaser » Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:38 am

Hi Thoma,

Been a long time replying as I have had other projects to keep me busy.

Just got back to this now and I thought I'd send you where I'm up to so far with the schematic (can't use the PM as it has been disabled apparently)

It's just the basic power and clock connections. Obviously I will be adding connections for I/O testing too, but just need to know if this setup will work for programming purposes, i.e am I on the right track?

Thanks for any advice you can give. Here is the link:
http://freepdfhosting.com/4c5160f3bc.pdf
oliglaser
 
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Postby Thoma HAUC » Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:37 pm

Hi Oliglaser,

I will take a look this week.

Thoma
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Postby oliglaser » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:36 pm

Hi Thoma,

Just to let you know I managed to etch a board and populate it, and against all odds it worked first time! I just implemented a basic counter that flashes some LEDs, but it's a start :-)
I used a crystal oscillator made with a 74HC inverter for the clock.

If anyone else ever wants to do anything similar and is having problems I am happy to pass on the schematics, gerbers etc. Obviously 99% of the time one would get a proper board done, but with the ProASIC3 dev kit costing ~£450 I thought I would save a few quid as I only wanted a basic board to get started with.
Now implementing a 300MHz design in one of my projects is the next step, think I'll be getting that board from my PCB house though.. :-)
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