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GoForge - A Renesas FPGA Board

Data collection and design of a Development board for the Renesas SLG47910V ForgeFPGA chip.

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Renesas/Dialog Semiconductor announced to enter the FPGA market with a line of low-cost, very low-power devices. The ForgeFPGA™ Family of FPGAs will address the void of smaller devices.

The FPGA internal memory is OTP, but there is also the option to download a design through SPI from an ecternal Flash or MCU.

From the Go Configure ForgeFPGA Workshop 6.28 software, these are the details of the initial device offering:

Package:
    QFN-24

Supported Development Platforms:

  • ForgeFPGA Development Board (SLG7DVKFORGE) + ForgeFPGA Socket Adapter #1 (SLG4SA24-30x30)

Description: The SLG47910V provides a small, low power component for common FPGA applications. The user creates their circuit design by programming the One-Time Programmable (OTP) Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) to configure the interconnect logic, the IO pins, and the Macrocells of the SLG47910V. This highly versatile device allows a wide variety of FPGA applications to be designed within a very small, low power integrated circuit. The macrocells in the device include the following:

  • Dense Logic Array:
    • Equivalent to 900 4-bit LUTs;
    • 1.8 k DFFs;
    • 5 kb distributed memory;
    • 32 kb BRAM;
    • Configurable through NVM and/or SPI interface;
  • 50 MHz High-frequency Oscillator:
    • 3.41 MHz Low-power mode;
  • Phase-locked Loop (PLL):
    • Input from external source or internal oscillators;
  • Power Supply:
    • VDDIO: 1.71 V to 3.6 V;
    • VDDCore: 1.1 V ± 10%;
  • Power-On-Reset (POR);

  • 1 × Renesas SLG47910V IC, FPGA, 900 LUTs, 32 kb RAM, QFN-24
  • 1 × 1.1V voltage regulator To supply core voltage to the FPGA

  • Requirements collection

    MagicWolfi02/22/2022 at 02:17 0 comments

    Functionality wish list:

    • 4 LEDs and/or 1 RGB LED
    • 4 Push buttons
    • 2 slide switches
    • 1x 7-segment display
    • SPI Flash
    • PMOD connector
    • VGA connector

    Must haves:

    • 3.3V regulator for IO voltage
    • 1.1V regulator for FPGA core voltage
    • POR
    • Level shifters to Arduino Uno headers
    • Series resistors to all outside world signals

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David Shadoff wrote 5 days ago point

I received a shipment confirmation from Mouser on a GreenPAK development board from Mouser, which had also been out of stock (note: this is not the FPGA one).

This was a surprise with no advance warning, so I checked stock levels of the FPGA-related parts. Still no delivery date update for the Dev Board (SLG7DVKFORGE), but the FPGA chip (SLG47910V-SKT) now shows as being expected June 27.  Cross your fingers.

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 2 days ago point

This is exciting. Fingers crossed. I am also monitoring the Mouser website and should get an email notification when anything is in stock.

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Shadoff wrote 06/17/2022 at 17:38 point

Well, to add further confusion to all of this, all of the Dialog Semiconductor information has been ported to the Renesas.com website.  Looking at the documents, some have been rebranded (which is a reason for an updated publication date), but I haven't seen any new content or information in the 'updated' documents; only rebranding.

- Some links don't work.

- The Go Configure Software Hub v6.30 still points to links at the dialog site.

-> This may temporarily slow down requests for information.

Landing page for the FPGA stuff is here:

https://www.renesas.com/us/en/products/programmable-mixed-signal-asic-ip-products/forgefpga-low-density-fpgas#document

Separately, I have also received similar 'expediting in progress' updates from Mouser (more recently than listed below). It appears that actual release date is still not clear to the supply chain.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/09/2022 at 19:10 point

I threw together an Eagle 7 library with the SLG47910C and SLG47910V. This is totally untested and likely has mistakes,, so of course there is NO WARRANTY.

There's conflicting information on whether the QFN has a thermal pad. I haven't seen the actual chip yet, but the package outline doesn't show a thermal pad so I didn't put one in my Eagle footprint.

http://www.brouhaha.com/~eric/fpga/slg47910.lbr

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 05/10/2022 at 01:33 point

Nice. Thank you very much for contributing to the good cause.

I have not used Eagle in almost a decade, but might try the KiCAD import (if it does libraries) with this one.

How is the status of your dev board order?

In the meantime, I contacted Renesas and they sent me the datasheet, no problem. Lots of good stuff to read.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/10/2022 at 17:02 point

Maybe they don't like me because my email address is @gmail.com.

My order status with Mouser shows "will advise" for the dev kit and both models of socket adapter boards.

What's the date and/or revision of the datasheet you received?

I'd really like to see the schematic of the socket adapter board. Maybe it will be included with the socket adapter, or with the dev kit. Maybe you could request the docs on the dev kit and socket adapters from Renesas.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/30/2022 at 07:47 point

I just got email from Mouser with an order status update. The estimated ship dates for the dev board and the socket adapters is still "Will Advise", and the socket adapters still say "ordered from factory", but the dev kit has changed from "ordered from factory" to "expediting in progress". I'm not sure if that really means anything.

Renesas is still not replying to any of my email, even after I sent a new request a week ago from a different email address that isn't at gmail.com.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 06/17/2022 at 21:15 point

Renesas finaly today (June 17th) replied to my email request of May 5th, and sent me version 2.1 of the SLG47910 datasheet, dated February 3rd. The eval board and socket adapter/sample kits, quoted 1 week lead time when I ordered from Mouser on April 26th, are still backordered.

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 2 days ago point

I got the same version datashseet, and it was already branded Renesas. Let's see what happens on June 27th.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 04/27/2022 at 05:49 point

I just ordered the Dialog development board and socket adatper/sample kits from Mouser. They're quoting 1 week lead time, but we'll see.

At least they're not quoting 52+ weeks like nearly all other FPGAs, CPLDs, and micrcontrollers. Maybe they'll actually arrive within my remaining lifetime.

I also requested the preliminary datasheet from Renesas, but haven't heard back yet. I understand that it's preliminary, but they should just put it on their web site. It's been common practice for more than 50 years for IC vendors to publish preliminary data sheets, and everyone knows what "preliminary" means.

According to the configuration guide, which IS available for download, the config cells in the part are RAM, and they can either be loaded over SPI, either from a SPI flash chip or from a microcontroller) _OR_ from the internal OTP cells at power-up. Clearly the latter is what they expect people to do in production, but it sounds like development isn't going to require throwing away a lot of OTP devices, except perhaps if your design can't spare the SPI pins. For my purposes, I might use the SPI loading even for production.

The socket adapter boards can plug into the development kit board, but it looks like they are also useful in a standalone capacity. They bring out most of the GPIO pins to PMOD headers, and there's a header to supply power (if you don't have it plugged into the main development kit board).

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 04/28/2022 at 00:57 point

Interesting details. I would be interested to know how the order goes. At least for the socket adapter, they are claiming 2 pcs expected 2022-05-04. Fingers crossed for your order.

Available datasheets, even preliminary (as you said) would be nice.

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Shadoff wrote 04/07/2022 at 17:03 point

If you contact Dialog and let them know your goals, they will send you a (preliminary) datasheet for the products.  Lots of electrical values etc. are not yet finalized yet though (they seem to be finalizing these), which is likely why this is not yet public.

I wasn't able to obtain samples through Dialog (yet), and all of the links inside of GoConfigure software go to "you need access" areas on the Dialog website (even though I have an account which should provide me access to these things).

...However, I did see these SKUs appear on Mouser:

SLG7DVKFORGE - Dialog Semiconductor ForgeFPGA Advanced Development Board

SLG47910V-SKT - Dialog Semiconductor Dialog Semiconductor SLG4SA24-30x30 socket adapter, 50 SLG47910V samples. For use with - SLG4DVKADV

I believe that last part about "for use with" is wrong, and should instead refer to the development board I listed above (As the GoConfigure Workshop states).

The datasheet clearly states that the FPGA can receive its configuration from (a) OTP NVM, (b) external SPI (makes use of 4 of the GPIOs), or (c) from a microcontroller.

Due to the cost of the FPGAs (they stated less than a dollar), they seem to be assuming that the additional cost of external configuration memory would be prohibitive, which appears to be why they keep referring to OTP memory.

I am assuming that the "Advanced Development Board", at that cost, will provide access to all of these functions and more (i.e. probably some form of in-circuit analysis), as well performing one-time-programming if desired (but on a unit-by-unit basis).  But there doesn't appear to be any public information available on any of this yet.

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 04/13/2022 at 00:57 point

Thanks David. Those are a lot good comments and encouraging for me to continue with this project. In-circuit analysis debugging would be a nice feature, which is the most powerful debug tool with all the other vendors.

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Shadoff wrote 04/13/2022 at 01:32 point

They were scheduled to arrive at (and be shipped from) Mouser today, but seem to have missed that schedule. I'll keep watching.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/09/2022 at 16:37 point

I've tried contacting them two weeks ago, and again a week ago, and haven't heard anything yet. I'd really like to get the preliminary data, because I want to start my PCB layout. I've got the eval board and socket adapters on order. Mouser still quotes one week factory lead time, but it's been two weeks, and shortly after I placed the order Mouser changed the status to "will advise".

I didn't have any trouble registering and downloading the development software. I'd hoped maybe that would include the preliminary datasheet, but it doesn't.

I should try to be more patient, but I'm really excited about using these parts in my new designs.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/30/2022 at 07:44 point

I tried contacting them a week ago from an address that is NOT at gmail, and all I get is the same resounding silence. Getting rather frustrated.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jan Weber wrote 02/23/2022 at 23:44 point

Quoting your description:

"The user creates their circuit design by programming the One-Time Programmable (OTP) Non-Volatile Memory (NVM)"

OTP? that's useless

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 02/24/2022 at 01:23 point

I know. With the lack of datasheet, I'm guessing the SPI flash will be the volatile memory for development. A cost optimized product will use the OTP. Without the need of external memory.

Also this is probably the reason for their low power claim. 

We'll see.

  Are you sure? yes | no

GBDT Labs (US) wrote 02/25/2022 at 08:04 point

Well it says the dense logic section can be configured either via NVM (the OPT), or SPI. It's possible there might be some things (like the PLLs) that need the NVM to be set up - but hopefully not.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Hendrik-Jan wrote 04/11/2022 at 18:56 point

Hmm, maybe that's why Mouser SLG47910V-SKT says '50 SLG47910V samples' in its description. Maybe that's the way to go when prototyping: you made a small typo in your HDL? Get a new chip! :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

MagicWolfi wrote 04/13/2022 at 00:58 point

Interesting catch with the 50 parts. This might be a source to get samples, maybe not cheap depending on the price of the dev kit.

  Are you sure? yes | no

David Shadoff wrote 04/13/2022 at 01:41 point

The '50 samples' seems to be aimed at giving enough to make test boards (i.e. prototypes of final hardware, rather than development boards), after using the dev kit for the initial development. Test cycles on development would need many more than that. If you needed a new chip for each test iteration, you may need hundreds !  They seem to be aiming for sales of thousands per design, so 50 units can be treated as a mere consumable. They use this same model for their GreenPAK chips too.

By the way, the SPI load is triggered by holding one of the GPIOs high (the one used for chip select if using SPI) for a period at startup time... though I'm not clear on whether than needs to be brought low on a timer, or whether a pull-up would suffice... as the device itself would be driving this line low in order to load configuration from SPI.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Eric Smith wrote 05/09/2022 at 16:42 point

The press information focuses on OTP because that's what they expect customers to use for production. However, according to the configuration guide (available on the Renesas site), the FPGA is RAM based, and the RAM config can be loaded from SPI, either with the FPGA as a master reading from an SPI flash chip, or with the FPGA as an SPI slave being configured from a microcontroller. You give up four GPIO pins (GPIO 3 through GPIO6, out of 19 total GPIO pins) for the SPI interface,

  Are you sure? yes | no

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