My attempt at making an FPGA experimenters board in a popular form factor :)
Well, it has been over a year since my last project update. My humble apologies for the very long hiatus between updates...
In summary, here is where my FleaFPGA 'Ohm' project is currently at:
- First run of production boards delivered successfully, albeit at a higher than expected unit cost and more difficult than anticipated production test cycle :-(
- Newest project I managed to successfully get working on FleaFPGA Ohm (and release on github): project Oberon to FleaFPGA Ohm
- I have (rather obviously) stopped all work on this hobby project until recently, mainly due to non-hobby matters. I am still waiting for my energy levels to return to normal so that I can devote more time to my hobbies wherever possible :-(
- I have received a ton of feedback (good and bad - thanks for both!) about my FleaFPGA Ohm. I have since used this information to design a new lineup of FPGA development boards starting with Ohm Mk2 pictured below - watch this space! :-)
- I've not yet decided on doing a second production run of Ohm boards (by me personally). However, I have received (and I'm receptive to) several submitted offers from interested parties to manufacture Ohm, so I am considering these offers going forward. In the event that all falls through, there is the option of putting the related Gerber PCB files up on Github for others to make more Ohm boards as they wish ;-)
Anyways, that's it for now. Thanks, as always, for reading about my slice of homebrew madness!
Seasons Greetings Everyone! :)
Just thought I'd post a quick update around my FleaFPGA Ohm production run...
Short summary: Indiegogo boards have been assembled and functionally tested! Furtner details (and pictures) may be found on my Indiegogo campaign page:
Well, that's all for now. More to follow soon...
Happy Holidays! :)
Please forgive the delay in my latest Project log - life always getting in the way of the fun etc. etc...
I wish to start off this blog by extending my sincere thanks to those who backed my FleaFPGA Ohm project on Indiegogo! Without your support this project would quite likely have stayed a personal endeavor.
Now that the campaign is over, it's time to look forward to the production run. Parts have been ordered and should all arrive next week. PCBs have been fabricated and are already on-hand. Test and assembly plans devised and awaiting final review...
Assuming no major hold-ups, I expect to see the first assembled Flea Ohm boards roll off the assembly line in around two weeks time. Watch this space!! :-D
First off, I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who liked or have been following my Ohm project with interest to date! I also want to thank those of you waiting on production news for your patience..
Now for the good news: I am pleased to announce the launch of my FleaFPGA 'Ohm' board as an Indiegogo campaign! Exciting times! :-)
Please do check it out (including the embedded video). Those of you who are interested in obtaining an 'Ohm' board, now is your opportunity to register your interest in my own take on an FPGA-based platform through the above link. Thank you!
Kindly stay tuned for further updates. Should you have any questions regarding the production run, kindly post those either here or over at Indiegogo. Thanks again!
In last month's project update, I wrote about the redesign and testing of my 'Ohm' FPGA platform. This month, I am pleased to present some pictures of my first newly-assembled and tested (of what I now consider production-level) Ohm boards:
Here are a few close-ups of my Ohm in the rather slick-looking (in my humble opinion) transparent Adafruit case :)
So, this effectively concludes the (re)design and prototype test phase of my Ohm project (yay!). Things left to consider are:
1.) How many boards to make initially (which will in part help determine the final unit price)
2.) Finish off my User Guide for the Ohm platform (already begun, but not yet completed)
3.) Uploading of a new Youtube video of my re-designed Ohm board in action! :-D
Kindly keep an eye out for answers to the above in my next project update. Glad to finally get things to this point as it has been a long time coming. Thanks again for reading. :-)
PS: Also last month, I hinted at the possibility of a releasing a second board based on my larger Ethernet-based variant. I have decided to create a separate .io project page for it in due course (time permitting)
Hello again :-)
Apologies for my late reply. Winter can be a challenging season for those with inept immune systems.. :-(
While I overcame my health hurdles, in my last blog update you may recall I was to make attempt at building Ohm pre-production boards? Well, turns out the PCBs that I had received were indeed of an inferior quality :-( So I am now in the process of moving my Ohm board design to another PCB house..
Now, while that was all going on, another major thing happened.. I basically had another crack at building a pi zero sized FPGA devboard again. Here's the result - (re)introducing my 'Flea Ohm' board! :-)
.. and here it is running a test configuration in the shape of the Minimig core:
So.. now it looks as though I now have two possible designs to explore further (ie. Ohm and as-yet-unnamed Ethernet variant :-) Time permitting, I hope to do a small run of one or both boards (depending on interest) in the near future.
Thanks for reading! More to follow..
A fair lot has happened since our last blog post. Unfortunately that included getting a chest infection put me out for at least a fortnight - but I am feeling much better now :)
First attempt at assembly of pre-production Ohm PCBs:
So I received my Pre-production Ohm boards and had some fun assembling them. I say 'fun' because it seems I may need to tweak my soldering process for these pre-production ready PCBs. Following is a picture of a slightly overdone pre-production Ohm board (notice the slight charring along the top of the PCB near the main GPIO header):
Luckily for me, this board wasn't a total writeoff (only one DRAM failed during functional testing), which is great because I've got a 45KLUT FPGA installed on it.. :) Illness forced me to 'take a break' from any further project work before I could attempt to make any more -
Hopefully I will be more successful in my 2nd attempt tomorrow :)
My first Ohm 'hat' (yay! :-)
Also, I managed to assemble my retro game 'hat' for Flea Ohm! Not 100% tested yet, but at least the PS/2 and Game ports worked fine with the overcooked Ohm board in the previous pic ;) There are even more interesting hats to create (and even the retro gaming hat can of course be improved on..) but hey everything has to start somewhere heh :-D
I did not have any ESP-12E modules on hand, so I slapped on a plain old ESP-12 instead. I will need the 12E variant if I want SDIO, but I may instead move on to an ESP-32 version as I previously wanted to - time permitting of course.
Re-rise of the pi zero variant??
Another thing that happened before I got sick: Now all of you may remember this project of mine started out as a pi zero sized board? Well I have definitely not forgotten about it! About a month ago I had decided I was going to have another go at making a zero-sized fpga board - this time using the physically larger FPGA package as used in my current Ohm:
(To be continued.. :-)
Hello again! :)
While I eagerly await on (what I hope to be) the final revision of my Ohm board, thought I'd drop one more update here..
1.) OV7670 module testing went well :)
2.) Fixed a few more minor errors with the PCB, as well as tweaked the following specs:
3.) Started work on my very first (and relatively simple) 'hat' for the Ohm board - a 'retro ports breakout' hat containing:
Looking forward to seeing the final boards when they arrive (hopefully) by next week's end (I hope I've covered everything..) More to follow!
**** EDIT 09/06/2017: For reasons mainly relating to time, I have decided to use the ESP-12E module (ie. ESP8266) for Revision 'A' the retro breakout hat (and possibly move to ESP32 for later versions when I am in a better position to support it). I have the following interfaces wired up from the ESP to the FPGA:
Both expansion hats and pre-production Ohm boards are almost ready to be shipped back to me. Next week will be an eventful one.. ;-) ****
Hello again! :-)
Well a few things have happened since my last update. Since that time, I ended up having two second-round prototypes built: one with 10/100 Ethernet and another with Gigabit Ethernet. Pictured below is the Gigabit Ethernet version (with and without user accessory modules plugged in):
Ethernet tests: This one was a pleasant surprise - wasn't expecting my Gigabit variant to work (was still happy to release the 10/100 variant if it did not work..), but work it did! :-D Gonna do some more testing on it, but I have decided to upgrade the spec. to include it in the final board..
CSI port testing: Didn't go so well.. After finally getting around to diving into this in a major way, I discovered my solution to be unsatisfactory due to problems with shared i/o pins for csi and parallel camera support :-/ Therefore, I decided to delete the CSI port and instead focus on parallel CMOS camera module functionality (but with the possibility for CSI support via 'SLVS' configuration of suitable GPIO pins)..
Deleting the CSI header did free up more user GPIO pins (which are always welcome.. :-), so I added an extra single-row header strip above GPIO-B to access the extra GPIO (see below):
This now leaves parallel CMOS camera and some GPIO-related tests to carry out. To be continued.. thanks for reading! :-)
Hello again! :-)
Quick update on my Ohm project: Prototype testing is now almost complete. Only thing not tested to date was the CSI header, thanks to a silly error that slipped under the radar..
Based on these tests (among other things) I've updated my PCB design to include all fixes and/or tweaks arising from it:
One of the things that really bothered me was the lack of user GPIO breakout. So I increased the GPIO count to 55 user pins total, thanks to the inclusion of a 20-pin 'GPIO-B' header, as well as increasing the pin-count of the 'GPIO-C' header :-D
There were also other changes and tweaks as well - I will write a more comprehensive list of the changes when I have more free time.
Next step: Review the above as soon as possible and see if I can knock one up quickly.. ;-) Thanks for reading!