Finishing up

A project log for Spartan Mini FPGA handheld NES

A handheld FPGA based NES which utilizes the Spartan 6 FPGA by Xilinx.

Jon ThomassonJon Thomasson 03/07/2018 at 17:400 Comments

I finished up the Spartan Mini NES project today. This is a project developed around my Spartan 6 FPGA development project. The end goal of this project was to learn Verilog and FPGA design, while also creating a handheld NES gamepad. I left off last time with the wiring done to the perfboard shield that connects to the FPGA board. Since there wasn't enough room on that board to place the display and all the buttons I decided to bolt the shield to a larger perfboard that would fit all the components needed. I ran some measurements on the largest perfboard I had and mounted the shield to the board.

From there I wired up the joypad buttons, the SD card, speaker, and the Prop Plug connector for flashing the propeller board. For the speaker I bought one of these PCB mount varieties from Adafruit.

For the power supply I used 4 AA batteries wired in series and plugged directly into the barrel jack on the Spartan Mini board. I found that by placing the battery packs on the outer edge of the board, they could double as handle grips. I used velcro to hold down both the display as well as the battery holders. I did this in the hopes that it would be easier to modify or repair the board if it was needed in the future.

Here's the finished project.

I'm going to swap out the Alkaline batteries for some NiMH 2100mAh rechargeable batteries. The total current drain of this project as measured by my power supply was around 400mA, so hopefully that should give me around 5 hours or so of operation before recharge. All in all I'm happy with how this project turned out. It was a lot of fun diving into FPGA's and being challenged by aspects of electronics that I hadn't encountered before.