iCE40HX1K-EVB open source hardware FPGA board designed with KiCAD and working with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain first prototypes are ready and run!



iCE40HX1K-EVB is our first iCE40 FPGA which works with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain.

It’s 5×5 cm 4 layer board with iCE40HX1K on it, 512KB 10 nS fast SRAM, UEXT as programming connector, so you can program it with OLinuXino (which can run also the tool chain on it) or with Olimexino-328 or any other boards we have with UEXT.

The original ICE40 development board from Lattice has FTDI on it, which we skip as to program it you need just SPI signals to load the bitstream to the on board Serial SPI Flash. Having the sources we easily modified the programming part and now all our Arduino and Olimexino boards can load the code generated by ICESTORM.

All free iCE40HX1K singals are available on right angle bus connector, to this bus connector we designed 4 additional boards:

  • iCE40-ADC fast 100Mhz ADC with BNC input connector so you can make Digital Storage Oscilloscope with p to 512 KB buffer
  • iCE40-DAC fast 100Mhz DAC with BNC output connector will allow you to make DDS generator with odd forms using the on board SRAM
  • iCE40-DIO fast IO with level shifter Β with programmable by I2C DAC threshold in range 1.5-5.5V, so you can capture digital signals with different levels making inexpensive Logic Analizer
  • iCE40-IO with VGA and PS2 keyboard connectors board

iCE40-IO will allow you to emulate small retro computers.

All additional modules are stackable and the bus pass through them, so you can stack more than one ADCs or more than one DACs etc if you need more IO.

Next week we will test all modules, make corrections (if necessary) and run production. The price of iCE40HX1K-EVB will be EUR 22.00 and if everything goes smoothly we will have them in stock by June 1st.

These same boards will be used in the Tuxcon workshop “First steps with FPGAs” on July 10th.

29 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Viorel Bianu
    May 06, 2016 @ 18:02:14

    Well. I hope the tests will be OK. I like the board and I’m interested to test it.


  2. Dzun
    May 06, 2016 @ 19:10:06

    What ADC and DAC will be used?


  3. Petr Moses
    May 06, 2016 @ 20:43:32

    It would be amazing to see it in OSHW notebook πŸ™‚


  4. hg
    May 06, 2016 @ 21:38:28

    How wide is the SRAM? 8 bit, 16 bit, 32 bit?


  5. SK
    May 07, 2016 @ 00:27:53

    Nice. Interesting to see the Sillicon Blue markings, doesn’t Lattice stamp them with their own brand name now?


  6. andrea v
    May 07, 2016 @ 00:50:59

    that’s great to see those addon modules, expecially ADC/DAC..
    what about the iCE40 -4k part ?
    is that pin-compatible, i.e. just a matter to solder the proper part?


  7. fwflatt
    May 07, 2016 @ 02:43:50

    Great work ! I’ve wanted to learn FPGA’S since they were introduced many, many years ago, but could never afford the exorbitant costs. Although I am now retired, I still have that desire. I am pleased to see that you have developed such a low cost platform to get me started.


  8. kostas
    May 07, 2016 @ 18:59:06

    “iCE40-IO will allow you to emulate small retro computers”
    How to emulate retro computer if the 1K device can’t fit a cpu.With an 8K device maybe.


  9. jimenez
    May 08, 2016 @ 16:18:17



  10. sergio
    May 09, 2016 @ 02:03:56

    100MHz ADC what does that actually mean in terms of samples per second?


  11. Trackback: Olimex iCE40HX1K-EVB Open Source Hardware Lattice FPGA Development Board To Sell for 22 Euros
    May 09, 2016 @ 08:51:04

    Any update on a64 olinuxino? I’m willing to get one.


  13. David
    May 10, 2016 @ 05:56:37

    Olimex, why didn’t you put the 4K FPGA on the board instead of the puny 1K part?? The price difference is only around $1 or so and both parts are TQFP (the 8K part is BGA). Will the board work with iCEcube2? Icestorm still looks half-baked (still no simulator?)


  14. David
    May 10, 2016 @ 06:40:50

    I see from the Rev-A schematic that the Olimex board uses the 100-TQFP 1K FPGA which costs $3.95 ea. in qty.-100. The 4K FPGA comes in a slightly larger 144-TQFP package and costs $5.55 ea. in qty.-100. The qty.-100 cost difference is only $1.60 for a part that is much more useable!

    Some Options (Digi-Key):

    iCE40HX1K-VQ100 $4.95 qty.-1, $3.95 qty.-100
    iCE40HX1K-TQ144 $5.71 qty.-1, $4.57 qty.-100
    iCE40HX4K-TQ144 $6.97 qty.-1, $5.55 qty.-100
    ICE40HX8K-CB132 $9.70 qty.-1, $7.76 qty.-100 (BGA)


  15. Erik Olson
    May 10, 2016 @ 18:42:30

    Eagerly following this board. It doesn’t quite fit my needs so I’m hoping for the open source schematics. Here are some of my thoughts:

    For retro computing projects, I need more IOs. At least 40 to interface with external hardware bus like 19 address in, 8 data I/O. A port expander SPI peripheral might help reduce external address/data bus lines, but limits the external bus speed. I need to do level shifting (to/from 5V) so a MachXO2 is another candidate (no Icestorm).

    I’m prototyping on the Lattice IceBlink-HX1K EVB with vq100 and enough IO. (IceStick, paradoxically, has more IOs from the tq144 but even less header pins).


    • pboddie
      Jun 24, 2016 @ 23:15:43

      A board with more exposed I/O signals would be great for retro stuff. I’m interested in replicating a 68-pin device, so we’re about half way there with this board. πŸ˜‰


  16. David
    May 11, 2016 @ 12:59:01

    OK got it. What about compatibility with the Lattice tools (iCEcube2)?


  17. Bob Ham
    May 18, 2016 @ 18:34:59

    Shut up and take my money!


  18. SK
    Jun 19, 2016 @ 18:53:07

    You should seriously consider a board with built-in USB for progamming – I know you hate FTDI after the accident (there are other options), but you should think for your customers, too.
    You will not be able to attract newcomers if you build the boards in such a way that they can be used only if the user has another Olimex board at hand.


    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Jun 20, 2016 @ 08:42:02

      when we make development board there is always question – should we embedd the programmer into it. our opinion is that we should not force our customer to buy programmer with each development board. to program ice40 you need SPI, we have examples how to do this with OLinuXino UEXT, Arduino (I bet anyone has at least one arduino at home) or even OpenOCD JTAG debugger, but generally this could be done with any board which has SPI on it.


      • sergio
        Jun 20, 2016 @ 15:06:15

        I will take this bet and you lose πŸ™‚

        My very friendly observation is this: when I looked at this board it was initially very interesting BUT when I saw it is not simply plug and play I looked for alternatives and found this ICE40HX1K-STICK-EVN. People are fed up buying stuff that they need to jump through hoops to make work. If all I want to do is get a feel for FPGA programming then I don’t want to waste my valuable time trying to get the dev board talking to my dev software. Look at the PICKIT 3 for example. People are still (to this day) asking for help via the internet because they cannot get a PK3 to talk to MPLABX and see the target PIC they wish to program. MicroChip is now doing the sensible thing and selling plug and play dev boards with integrated USB and programming interface included. Was it TI that started the trend with the very cheap TI launchpad (MSP430)? But in any case a great many hardware suppliers now seem to be doing this.

        If you build and sell plug and play solutions you will find that some people will buy with the intention to “play” with your products and they will never actually get around to it. If you sell complicated solutions (i.e. not plug and play), these same people will NOT buy but instead put off buying until they actually have some free time – which will probably never come because they will always have something else waiting on the shelf to play with.

        If cost really is the issue, make the USB interface configurable such that it can be used for programming the FPGA or act as a peripheral to the FPGA.

      • OLIMEX Ltd
        Jun 20, 2016 @ 20:54:39

        thanks for the feedback!

        the ice40 stick is not good example for dev board as uses just few IOs out of 144 pin IC, IMO completely waste of chip resources, no RAM, no expansion bus …their breakout board makes much more sense but too basic and have nothing except to break the IOs to connectors, we do offer here much more opportunities with additional VGA/PS2/ADC/DAC/ etc etc.

        everyone has Arduino at home and can use it to program this board

        and sure we offer plug and play solutions – the programmer can be MOD-USB-RS232 or OLIMEXINO-32U4 with 10 pin ribbon cable or ARM-USB-TINY-H πŸ™‚

      • SK
        Jun 21, 2016 @ 13:14:55

        You should list the MOD-USB-RS232 in the related products (or better yet – in the description).

        And then again – setting up 2 boards (and choosing the correct programming one) is not like setting up 1. Also, I believe a built-in programmer on the EVB would be a cheaper solution to a combination of the EVB + MOD-USB-RS232.

        We don’t say your solution doesn’t make a point or is not logical for many of the users, we just suggest there would be a market for the complete everything-included-in-the-package solution – especially when this will be considered as a base board with expansion boards of it’s own πŸ˜‰

      • Sergio
        Jun 21, 2016 @ 14:15:37

        I must re-iterate: I do not own an Arduino and I do not have access to one either at home or at work.

        I understand that you will offer the ability to plug modules together but this is not the accepted meaning of the term plug-n-play. Plug and play nowadays refers to “take out of box, plug into PC or monitor or TV or power outlet or smart phone (no fancy combination) and it just works”.

        I do not wish to belittle your “iCE40HX1K-EVB” product but it really is not plug and play as many people now understand the term to mean. I understand this product is not a TV and your target customer is technically much more sophisticated than the average TV user but even compared to many other dev boards available from other manufacturers it is NOT plug-n-play.

        Look at the micronova mercury board. Yes it is much more expensive (not exactly sure by how much as you would need to add other olimex modules to make the products more comparable) but it really is plug-n-play. I bought one of these a few years ago, put it on a shelf (same old story) then eventually gave it away as I couldn’t see myself using it “any time soon”. Then about a year ago I stumbled on some really good tutorials and decided I would give it another go. So I bought another one and that is now sitting on my shelf. There are many other products sitting on my shelves waiting for the day when I have 5 minutes to spare (including the olimex ESP8266-EVB).

        I know many of your customers are very intelligent people and they can make complicated things work BUT they have little time to waste. If you want these customers to buy without thinking (impulse sale) then take away all doubt about how simple your product is to get working. If they have to think about it they will put off the purchase and chances are they might end up buying someone else’s product.

        On the other hand if you want the less technically able to buy your product… think TV

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