Demand Peripherals
Robotic and Industrial Controls for Linux

BaseBoard4

The BaseBoard4 is an FPGA based peripheral controller card that has a Xilinx FPGA, a USB interface, user accessible LEDs and buttons, and four expansion connectors with eight FPGA pins on each expansion connector.

Features:

- Xilinx 100K Spartan 3E
- USB download to the FPGA
- No JTAG dongles or drivers
- Full-speed USB interface
- USB powered
- Works with Linux and Windows
- Eight LEDs
- Three pushbuttons
- Three 3-pin servo headers
- Four 16-pin expansion ports

 

Software:

The primary use for a BaseBoard4 is to host up to nine different Pin Peripherals or Card Peripherals. A good introduction to this is on this web site's (home page). The Pin Peripherals Quick Start Guide shows how to install and test the BaseBoard4 with Pin Peripherals.

The other use for a BaseBoard4 is as an FPGA development platform. Since it does not need JTAG for new code download, it is a particularly nice platform for Linux. More information on using the BaseBoard4 for FPGA development can be found here, and the User Constraints File can be found here.

 

Hardware:

The BaseBoard4 is powered by the USB connection and work equally well with the Windows (tm) and Linux versions of the Xilinx WebPack tool set. The BaseBoard4 does not require expensive and complex JTAG programming devices and drivers, and instead uses a simple USB serial port for download of all FPGA code. Since the USB transfer speed is over 8 Mbps, a download usually takes less than 50 milliseconds.

The BaseBoard4 has at its core the XC3S100EVQ100, a 100K gate Xilinx Spartan-3E FPGA. The XC3S100EVQ100 has on-board hardware multipliers, and several flexible clock synthesizers. Much more information on this FPGA can be found on the Xilinx web site:
http://www.xilinx.com/support/mysupport.htm#Spartan-3E

Also on board the BaseBoard4 is an FT245RL, an FTDI USB interface. The FT245 has a USB serial interface on the host computer side and a parallel interface on the FPGA side. Data transfer rates through the FT245 can exceed 8 Mbps. More information of the FT245RL is available at the FTDI web site:
http://www.ftdichip.com/Products/FT245R.htm

Other parts on the BaseBoard4 supplies (1.2, 1.8, 2.5, and 3.3 volts) and a Xilinx CPLD that implements the glue logic required during FPGA code downloads.

The BaseBoard4 Manual is available here, and a schematic of the board is available here.