[757labs] Ardunino, FPGAs and SOPCs
cfavreau at fab-favreau.com
Sun Nov 13 21:14:34 EST 2011
You have several choices for FPGA microprocessor/microcontroller type things... First off someone already implemented the Arduino on an FGPA: http://hackaday.com/2010/04/08/arduino-implemented-on-an-fpga/
You can also find an AVR core (I think the same one as used the Arduino FGPA thing) on OpenCores web site:
Along with a bunch of other processors and System on a Chips. Xilinx and Altera already have quite an offering with their SOPC (System on a Programmable Chip) such as MicroBlaze and PicoBlaze from Xilinx and Nios and Nios II from Altera (what I work with). FPGA's have quite a bit of RAM on board hundreds of kilobytes to megabytes (or at least it depends on the one you get). I have no experience with flash being on board as you generally store non-volatile things in external flash such as in the configuration memory or in other flash. If you want more than hundreds on kB then an external RAM chip is usually used.
If you want to learn all about microcontrollers then Arduino is an excellent way to go. Also TI has the lunch box if you are on a tiny budget and there is always the miriad of other Arduino like boards out there. The neat thing about the Arduino is you just need a USB port to get started... no power supply no extra crap. You can always get a shield (the boards that extend the Arduino) such as the proto shield with a little bread board on it.
If you are willing to spend a few dollars then Smiley's Workshops are a great way to go. He has one for Arduino and for the Butterfly (a demo board from Atmel). http://www.smileymicros.com/?&MMN_position=9:9
So having not read all the posts thoroughly those are my 2 cents. There are more than a few guys on this list that are very knowledgeable (all of us right?) so this is a good place to post questions.
, Chris F.
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