Handheld FPGA emulation of your favorite '70s LED studded microcomputers

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I'd really like to play around with a microcomputer with real physical blinkenlights and I want an excuse to do a project with FPGAs. But really small, like pocket size so I can make it into a PCB badge for the cons I never go to.

v2.0 specs:

  • Lattice ICE40UP5K FPGA with 5280 LUTs
    • runs the emulation - modified Altair target of the s100fpga project (
    • blinks the LEDs
    • watches the pushbuttons
    • SPI interface to the ESP32 for booting and control
    • internal 48MHz oscillator
  • ESP32 module with 4MB flash
    • runs Micropython
    • boots the FPGA configuration
    • UART server for the FPGA's RS232 emulation
    • 4MB flash partially used as filesystem for FPGA configuration bitstreams
    • TODO: web interface to UART console and bitstream control
  • LED matrix
    • 5x 8-bit vectors:
      • 16-bit address
      • 8-bit data
      • 8 status bit indicators
      • 8 run state indicators
    • scanned by the FPGA as fast as possible to reduce flicker
  • Pushbuttons
    • TODO: use buttons to drive state machine to control virtual front panel switches
  • Power
    • runs from LiPo battery or USB 5V
    • LiPo charging circuit
  • Debug
    • surface mount .1" center header matches the ESP-01 pinout so off-the-shelf ESP-01 programmers can be used to load ESP32 FW
    • header can be omitted for ICT pogo pin programming

  • Blinkin' LEDs and killin' bits

    ajlitt02/16/2020 at 22:55 0 comments

    I've been working on this project off and on for about four months now. Someday I'll get to posting stuff about the architecture, project direction, blah blah. But for now, here's the Blinkencard running the once-popular killbits program, but without switches with which to kill the bits:

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ATmel91 wrote 02/17/2020 at 21:42 point

Can you provide more information? Like project code, PCB/Schematics, for the FPGA and the ESP32? Thank you :) I absolutely LOVE this project!

  Are you sure? yes | no

ajlitt wrote 02/18/2020 at 02:17 point

Thank you! Check the GitHub links in the sidebar. PCB is finished and working, while ESP32 and FPGA code is a work in progress.

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ATmel91 wrote 07/05/2020 at 22:49 point

Thank you so much!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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