Secure microSD Vault

FPGA emulating MicroSD runs Google ProjectVault HDL code.

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I have made a trial to make this device for the last 10+ years now it is coming reality:

microSD where you can implement your own SD Card side processing (SD Card protocol emulation), and include any security imaginable..

System Diagram

Fits into Micro-SD slot, 4 Layer PCB, Xilinx Artix FPGA A15T to A50T, Murata DCDC Regulators, SiTime MEMS oscillator, 2MByte Micron SPI Flash, NAND Flash, one LED, ambient light sensor, 10 pin extension header with 4 I/O's and JTAG (JTAG pins can be used as 3 input only pins),

Designed to run google geophyte HDL


  • 1 × XC7A35T FPGA
  • 1 × N25Q16 2MByte SPI Flash in BGA package
  • 2 × LXDC2HL Power Management ICs / DC-DC Converters and Controllers
  • 1 × Red SMD LED 0402 SMD LED
  • 1 × IR LED 0603 IR LED

View all 13 components

  • First results with ORP design

    Antti Lukats01/29/2016 at 18:41 0 comments

    Well it almost works with the ORP (open reference project) design from Google. Here is kinda of proof, the image is read back from the NAND flash chip visible in the front (Artix is a other side back). The NAND flash is 1 Gbit, and to big surprise Google geophyte was configured to this size, so it all worked with no changes applied.

  • evaluating google ORP code

    Antti Lukats01/26/2016 at 08:57 1 comment

    .. and wasted full weekend. I should use F words and other words, so I want say it here.

    I looked like it all could just work, but then it did not, and refused and refused and..

    So until today the only code that has actually been working as SD card emu on this hadware is my own old simple code.

    Google ORP code has passed a few times as much as until CMD 18 too, but got frozen in all attempts so far before coming operational.

  • SD Emulation working..!

    Antti Lukats09/04/2015 at 19:48 0 comments

    This is amazing, I did take some old code from 2011, imported to Vivado, generated bitstream, flashed the SPI Flash with #Hack ToolZ inserted into SD Card Reader - and as soon as plugged it into the PC USB port it was recognized as Removable media with readme.txt

    And changing the README.TXT would controls as example the LED on the board.. or does something else.

    The best thing is that this code would also fit into #DIPSY this is COOL, id say its DIPSY.COOL !

    README.TXT is coming from FPGA Block RAM !

    Quiz how many BGA packages total?

    Answer: 5 !

    1. FPGA (other side)
    2. NAND flash the large black in this foto
    3. SPI Flash, the shiny part
    4. 9 ball CSBGA on Murata DCDC 1.8V Module
    5. 9 ball CSBGA on Murata DCDC 1.2V Module

  • It is working and first use case

    Antti Lukats08/27/2015 at 00:45 0 comments

    The first board, well I managed to place the FPGA 180 degrees wrong. The second board was assembled today and this time all components are OK. All so far working too.

    First actual use, microSD Artix is logging the SD Card init boot sequence of the ZYNQ Bootrom

    The actual PRODUCT of interest is that small board in the microSD Adapter, at the other side is Artix A35T the red wires going to the right are JTAG.

    This the "code" in the FPGA, 6 pins connected to ILA = Integrated Logic Analyzer

    First SD Commands are visible.

    This design uses all ready Vivado IP Core Catalog stuff, no manual coding done at all.

  • Bottoms up, one side done..

    Antti Lukats08/25/2015 at 17:29 0 comments

    Partial hand assembly without stencil, there is one tombstone. the part in the front is optional it is hard to get right without stencil so it is not assembled at all. The shiny part is chipscale spi flash, it is really low height too.

  • PCB's Arrived!

    Antti Lukats08/25/2015 at 07:46 5 comments

    The GOLDEN area is defined by UHS-II spec as "cooling" area for heat transfer from microSD card to the socket and main PCB.

  • Artix arrives as free sample

    Antti Lukats08/20/2015 at 07:52 0 comments

    There seems to be no direct stock availability in Europe for A50T, but we should get some A35T samples to test the board. Waiting in excitment.

  • push to github

    Antti Lukats08/17/2015 at 18:59 0 comments

    pushed to github all hardware CAD source files and generated files too

  • Prototyping with Zynq

    Antti Lukats08/13/2015 at 19:25 0 comments

    While waiting for the microSD Artix board, will start Zynq porting of the geophyte SD emulation code using this adapter setup

    Soft Propeller Zynq DIP module is inserted into small adapter board that fits the pin header in old old SD Card break out board.

  • Technology fixed, PCB order confirmed

    Antti Lukats08/13/2015 at 10:20 0 comments

    After some more fix of the clearances the PCB fab is ready to start production!

    The green parts are the DCDC converters from Murata. Left small device is SPI Flash, the largest part is NAND, in the right back is the Si1143 sensor, and IR LED (pictured as red, but it is clear actually).

View all 17 project logs

Enjoy this project?



eywdck2l wrote 09/29/2020 at 13:54 point

It looks like you have a 22µF ceramic capacitor.  Considering that the capacitance of an MLCC will decrease with voltage applied, it is only a fraction of the 100µF recommended in the 7 Series FPGAs PCB Design Guide (UG483).  How did you know it was enough?

  Are you sure? yes | no

stiffstone wrote 04/17/2018 at 22:49 point

Where can I get two of these?

  Are you sure? yes | no wrote 06/23/2017 at 01:59 point

What happened to this project?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Tommy Thorn wrote 10/09/2015 at 18:56 point

Where can I get two!? :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Antti Lukats wrote 10/09/2015 at 18:58 point

we have a very limited amount of working units. I check next week what we can do..

  Are you sure? yes | no

Richard Johnson wrote 11/18/2015 at 16:32 point

Can I order two please? My former roommate worked on the ATAP project (he did the OS for google's reference impl)

  Are you sure? yes | no

HIEU wrote 02/15/2017 at 09:43 point

I like this project. Can you share code for me? Thank!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Michael Kothe wrote 10/09/2015 at 08:08 point

Where can i get one?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Andrei Errapart wrote 08/16/2015 at 15:31 point

What is the estimate for the power consumption?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Antti Lukats wrote 08/16/2015 at 21:53 point

Depends on design, it can be below 200mW. If you look the 3D rendering, then there is visible FREE COPPER area, this is taken from SD UHS-II specication where this are is for cooling and thermal transfer from Card to the Socket and main board.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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