Use Raspberry PI as Iceprog programmer for iCE40HX1K-EVB or iCE40HX8K-EVB


Andreas Seltenreich sent us message how he is using Raspberry PI to program his iCE40HX1K-EVB and we add to the wiki section.

iCE40HX8K-EVB OSHW FPGA board is in stock


iCE40HX8K-EVB is upgrade of our iCE40HX1K-EVB with more logic cells FPGA so bigger Verilog projects could be synthesized.

GPIO1 34 pin bus is same as iCE40HX1K-EVB and all DAC, ADC, IO, etc modules are compatible, on top of this there are plenty of additional GPIOs on 4 40 pin 0.05″ step connectors.

512KB fast SRAM is on board, with iCE40-IO board you  can connect VGA monitor and PS2 keyboard, so you can make your own custom CPU (for instance RISC-V) computer with monitor and keyboard.



iCE40HX8K-EVB OSHW prototypes are ready to test


What you see is our new iCE40HX8K-EVB prototype.

It has same layout as our first iCE40HX1K-EVB board with same 34pin bus connector where iCE40-IO, iCE40-DIO, iCE40-ADC and iCE40-DAC modules could snap together.

We made all connections backward compatible so all code for 1K will work on 8K too. just here you have much more resources and more GPIOs which are wired to 4 small 40 pin 0.05″ step connectors. These can be connected to external boards either with cable either with female matching connectors which are in our shop.

Now we are testing for silly mistakes, if everything is OK will run it in production next month.

The price will be EUR 39.95


Using iCE40HX1K-EVB under Windows


Windows is still most popular desktop platform and many people use it. So far all our blogs were how to use iCE40HX1K-EVB with Linux and IceStorm Free and Open Source tools.

What are the options for Windows users? I can think of three options at glance:

  • Virtual machine: you can install VirtualBox or VMware Player then to install Linux OS on the Virtual Machine like Ubuntu or better Xubuntu which requires less resources and do not uses Unity 3D effects ;
  • Cygwin is another option and offers Linux like tools in Windows environment. You will be able to compile IceStorm from sources;
  • Wubi allows you to install Linux as Windows program, not dealing with disk partitioning and such, you install Linux, then if you want to remove just go to Control Panel and remove it as installed program;

Perhaps there are other ways to use Linux software under Windows, but these three are probably most popular.

Of course Windows users have one more options and this is the original Lattice FPGA software called iCEcube2. Here we will go through installation process of these tools too and how to use them with iCE40HX1K-EVB.

Intalling the iCEcube2 IDE and generating bit file.

First you have to go to Lattice Semiconductor web site and to register. You will have to fill lot of personal and work info and apply for registration then waiting your account to be created and you will get e-mail which you have to use to activate it. The account registration may take from few hours up to 1 day.

Once your account is activated you can go to Products -> Software Tools -> iCEcube2 and to download it.

To install it you will need to apply for Free License including information for the MAC address on your computer where the software will run! You can see the difference between IceStom and iCEcube2 in the first you have no restrictions whatsoever, the only free thing in the latter is that it’s cost-free you have no other freedom. Lattice may shut you down from using it at any time. Why is this? Edmund explained it well in his lecture at TuxCon 2016. Lattice didn’t made these tools, they buy from 3rd party, this is why they should have way to count their users to may pay licensee fees to the software vendor (you will see restriction iCEcube2 to be licensed by Cadence employees probably to not abuse Lattice with many licensees which Lattice pays for). Lattice make money only from selling chips, and generates loss from users who use small amount of chips like startups, small developers, people who learn FPGAs, as they use the tools but do not buy many chips which to justify the development tools price they pay to the vendor. So the tools they provide are named to be “free” but they are only cost-free, sponsored by Lattice.

When download it you should select Windows version:


Click on the Download button and select save the .zip file.


While your zip file is downloading go back to the iCEcube2 page and request you cost-free license.


Enter your MAC address and click on Generate License. If you enter a wrong MAC address iCEcube2 will not be able to start. You can request a new license with the correct MAC address.

To learn what your MAC address is run ‘cmd’ and type ipconfig /all .


Go to your email and you should see a new email, with the license file attached (license.dat). Save it to a convenient location.

After the iCEcube2 .zip file has finished downloading simply unzip it and run the .exe inside. During the installation you must provide the path to the license file:


Then the installation is fairly a straight-forward process and you can run the iCEcube2 IDE.

Double click on New Project on the left panel and fill the form and click Next.

You can download some examples for the iCE40HX1K-EVB from GitHub. The example should have at least two files: one is the Verilog (or VHDL) code and the other is the .pcf pin constraint file.7jpg

Click on Next and Finish, we will add the design and constraint files later manually.


First add the Verilog file: right-click on Design Files and select the .v file and add it to the project using the >> button or just double-clicking on it and click OK.


Then click on Constraint Files and add the .sdc file:


And then right-click on Constraint Files under P&R flow for the .pcf file:


Finally click on Tool->Run All:


The synthesis process should start and at the end will look like this:


From all the 3MB files that are generated only the .bin file is what we will use to upload to the FPGA.

You can compare the process with IceStorm where you only have to have two files and simple issue one command  ‘make’ compared to the claimed to be easier to use windows interface to  create the simple blink LED project.

Programming the iCE40-HX1K-EVB board with winiceprogduino

There are two types of programming: one is programming the iCE40HX1K-EVB on-board flash memory, which the FPGA reads every time it resets, and the other is directly programming (which often is described as configuring) the FPGA (the configuration is lost after power down / reset therefore).

Olimex provides a programming tool for Windows that uses the Olimexino-32U4 to program the SPI flash of the iCE40HX1K-EVB. First you need to program Olimexino-32U4 with the iceprogduino sketch as explained here. Arduino works under Windows too so the procedure is same as with Linux.

Then you need winiceprogduino.exe which programs the FPGA with the previously generated bin file. winiceprogduino is same as the linux iceprogduino but re-compiled for Windows with the DevC++ compiler.

You can download project, sources and pre-compiled version from GitHub. winiceprogduino takes COM port (the port that is assigned from Windows for Olimexino-32U4) and target file (the bin file we generated earlier with iCEcube2) as arguments and sends the file to the Olimexino-32U4 which programs it to the SPI flash or directly configures the FPGA, depending on the options you selected.

You can run winiceprogduino.exe and will see all options:


When you plug Olimexino-32U4 to your computer go to Device Manager and see which COM port is assigned to it. In our case it was COM10 and to program the blink led bin we should type:


FPGA will be programmed and you will see the LED1 and LED2 blinking.

Now you are set to create your own projects with iCEcube2. Have fun!


Hello World! with Verilog on iCE40HX1K-EVB with open source tool IceStorm


One of the workshops at TuxCon 2016 included using Open Source Hardware FPGA board iCE40HX1K-EVB and there we went through the development process with FPGA and Verilog.

For those of you who were unable to attend, we will now show you what you’ve missed. First, see the previous post about how to setup FPGA FOSS IceStorm tools here.

Now that the tools are set, let’s learn some more about FPGA. This is a very brief introduction and it is far from comprehensive, but the Internet has tons of resources you can use to learn more.

We will go through most asked questions on the workshop only:

What is FPGA ?

FPGA stands for Field Programmable Gate Array. They are digital integrated circuits (ICs) that contain configurable (programmable) blocks of logic along with configurable interconnections between these blocks. Design engineers can configure, or program, such devices to perform a variety of tasks.

How many times can one FPGA be programmed?

Some FPGAs may only be programmed a single time (they are called OTP) while others may be reprogrammed over and over again. For development boards we need the latter because when we develop we often make mistakes and we need to be able to program FPGAs multiple times. The FPGAs which can be programmed many times usually have external non-volatile memory. It contains the configuration file which is read at power up to the local RAM inside FPGA, and is used to define the interconnections between the blocks inside FPGA. So when you apply power to these FPGA they need some small amount of time to read their program and then start working.

When are FPGA used in one design?

FPGAs allow many tasks to be performed in parallel at very high speed. They are also highly integrated (some FPGAs have millions of programmable blocks), so you can complete complex hardware designs in a very small space. The trade off is that FPGA are programmed differently than the micro controllers (as you will see later), so they require a little bit more studying in order to get used to them.
If you application requires high speed, and complex parallel tasks, you need FPGA. Typical applications are: digital signal processing as video and audio filtering, the FPGA outperform fastest DSPs in factor of 500. Another applications are developing new digital ICs like processors or microcontrollers  with new architectures and instructions. FPGA are used also for physical layer communications, decoding and encoding high speed communication lines like HDMI, SATA, USB.
There is no sense to use FPGA in slow processes which can be done by microcontrollers, but they can be used to add fast peripherals to them. For example if you need very fast SPI to capture some fast serial signal, most of microcontrollers have SPIs which work up to 20-30Mhz clock, with FPGA you can make SPI which work on 100 Mhz or 200Mhz or 300Mhz and to buffer the data then to re-transmit slowly to the microcontroller who to do something with this data.
You can synthesize almost any digital circuit with FPGA, to make your own microprocessor with custom number of registers and instruction set, most of the companies which design microprocessors / microcontrollers first test their ideas on FPGAs.

How FPGAs are programmed (configured)?

Back in 1984 when the first FPGAs were made, design flows used for CPLD was taken and they were programmed by drawing schematics of digital circuits, then the CAD tool synthesized the schematic to FPGA configuration files which you can load to the FPGAs. This approach works well, but when the FPGAs become with thousands of logic cells and the schematics become more than several pages long the process become prone to errors exponentially with the size of the schematic. (Just imagine to draw internal schematic on modern processor with digital logic and then to test it).
At the end 1980s move toward HDL (hardware description languages) was made. Visualizing, capturing, debugging, understanding, and maintaining a design at the gate level of abstraction became increasingly difficult and inefficient when juggling thousands gates.
The lowest level of abstraction for a digital HDL is switch level, which describe the circuit as a netlist of transistor switches.
A higher level of abstraction is the gate level,which describe the circuit as a netlist of primitive logic gates and functions.
The next level of HDL abstraction is the ability to support functional representations using Boolean equations.
The highest level of abstraction sported by traditional HDLs is known as behavioral, which describe the behavior of a circuit using abstract constructs like loops and processes similar to programming language.

Verilog and IceStorm

Verilog is one such HDL behavior language, another one very popular in Europe is VHDL, but as FOSS FPGA tool for iCE40 IceStorm has support for only Verilog we will make all next demos in Verilog :).

Let have look at the first Blink LED project we programmed on iCE40HX1K-EVB in the previous blog post. It’s available on GitHub.

The Makefile

This is configuration file for the project which tells how IceStorm to compile it:

    PROJ = example


this is project name, it could be any other name, IceStorm will search for example.v source file and the result at the end will be example.bin which you can program to iCE40HX1K-EVB

    PIN_DEF = ice40hx1k-evb.pcf


this is external file which assigns the signals we will use in the project to the physical chip pin numbers, if we open it will see:

    set_io CLK 15
    set_io BUT1 41
    set_io BUT2 42
    set_io LED1 40
    set_io LED2 51


which means the 100 Mhz Oscillator clock is connected to pin15, button1 to pin41, LED1 to pin40 and so on.

    DEVICE = hx1k


this tells IceStorm which device is used, in this case device from HX series with 1K logic blocks

    yosys -p 'synth_ice40 -top top -blif $@' $<


invokes yosys to syntheses example.v Verilog sources ‘top’ is the name of the top module you could assume it as something like main() in C language.

    arachne-pnr -d $(subst hx,,$(subst lp,,$(DEVICE))) -o $@ -p $^ -P vq100


after yosys has synthesized the sources ‘arachne-pnr’ try to place and route them physically inside the chip, you can imagine these logic cells are as matrix and this tool have to decide how to arrange them so to make smaller distances between the connected cells and physical pins, and design to work at maximal possible speed. Look at -P vq100 switch it tells arachne-pnr what package is used for the device in our case VQ100 chip package.

    icepack $< $@


packs the text file output generated by arachne-pnr to .bin file read to be programmed in FPGA external Flash memory

icetime -d $(DEVICE) -mtr $@ $<


The icetime program is an iCE40 timing analysis tool. It reads designs in IceStorm ASCII format and writes times timing netlists that can be used in external timing analysers. It also includes a simple topological timing analyser that can be used to create timing reports.

    sudo iceprogduino $<


small program which uses OLIMEXINO-32U4 (Arduino Leonardo) with custom firmware as programmer for the iCE40HX1K-EVB SPI Flash


    module top( //top module


this describes the ‘top’ module in the code which will be synthesised, it will use some physical signals defined in ice40hx1k-evb.pcf

then we define what are these signals inputs or outputs:

    input CLK;    //input 100Mhz clock
    input BUT1;   //input signal from button 1
    input BUT2;   //input signal from button 2
    output LED1;  //output signal to LED1
    output LED2;  //output signal to LED2


with the keyword ‘reg’ we define registers i.e. analog of variables in programming language, but here these are with default width of 1 bit, in the registers we can store and read signals

    reg BUT1_r;           //register to keep button 1 state
    reg BUT2_r;           //register to keep button 2 state
    reg LED1_m0_r;        //LED1 value in mode = 0
    reg LED2_m0_r;        //LED2 value in mode = 0
    reg LED1_m1_r;        //LED1 value in mode = 1
    reg LED2_m1_r;        //LED2 value in mode = 1
    reg [14:0] cntr;      // 15 bit counter for LED blink timing
    reg [14:0] rst_cnt=0; // 15 bit counter for button debounce
    reg mode=1;           //mode set to 1 initially
    reg [11:0] clk_div;   // 12 bit counter


you can see that cntr and rst_cntr are with [14:0] in front of them, this means they are 15 bit long registers, clk_div is 12 bit

with the keyword wire you define internal signals which are additional to these defined in the top module

    wire clk_24KHz; //signal with approx 24KHz clock
    wire reset;     //used for button debounce

the keyword assign makes connection between signals, so every time right side signal changes the same change occur at the left side signal

    assign reset = rst_cnt[14]; //reset signal is connected to bit15 of rst_cnt
    assign LED1 = mode ? LED1_m1_r : LED1_m0_r; //multiplexer controlled  
                      //by mode connects LED1_m1_r or LED1_m0_r to LED1
    assign LED2 = mode ? LED2_m1_r : LED2_m0_r; //multiplexer controlled  
                      //by mode connects LED2_m1_r or LED2_m0_r to LED2
    assign clk_24KHz = clk_div[11];      //100Mhz/4096= 24414 Hz


in this case 15th bit of rst_cnt register is connected to signal reset, signal clk_24KHz is connected to 12th bit of clk_div register
LED1 and LED2 are connected via multiplexers (made with ? keyword) with control signal mode to two registers with suffix ‘m1’ and ‘m0’
so when mode is 0 LED1 will be connected to LED1_m0_r register and when mode is 1 to LED1_m1_r

always block is executed every time when something in his sensitivity list changes:

    always @ (posedge CLK) begin      //on each positive edge of 100Mhz clock increment clk_div
       clk_div <= clk_div + 12'b1;


in this case every time positive edge of CLK is happen i.e. CLK change from 0 to 1 it’s executed and adds 1 to clk_div

next always block is a bit more complex:

  always @ (posedge clk_24KHz) begin //on each positive edge of 24414Hz clock
     BUT1_r <= BUT1;       //capture button 1 state to BUT1_r
     BUT2_r <= BUT2;       //capture button 2 state to BUT2_r
     cntr <= cntr + 15'd1; //increment cntr LED blink counter
  if(reset == 1'b0) begin //if bit15 of rst_cnt is not set yet
     rst_cnt <= rst_cnt + 15'd1; //increment the counter rst_cnt

  if(BUT1_r == 1'b0 && BUT2_r == 1'b0 && reset == 1'b1) begin 
       //if bit15 of rst_cnt is set and both buttons are pressed
    mode <= mode ^ 1'b1; //toggle the mode
    rst_cnt <= 15'd0; //clear debounce rst_cnt
  LED1_m0_r <= ~BUT1_r; //copy inv state of button 1 to LED1_m0_r
  LED2_m0_r <= ~BUT2_r; //copy inv state of button 2 to LED2_m0_r
  if(cntr == 15'd12207) begin //when 0.5s pass
    LED1_m1_r <= 1'b0; //reset LED1_m1_r
    LED2_m1_r <= 1'b1; //set LED2_m1_r

  if(cntr > 15'd24414) begin //when 1.0s pass
    cntr <= 15'd0; //clear cntr
    LED1_m1_r <= 1'b1; //set LED1_m1_r
    LED2_m1_r <= 1'b0; //reset LED2_m1_r

what happens here? every time at positive edge of clk_24KHz :
in BUT1_r and BUT2_r is loaded the current state of the buttons,
cntr is incremented with 1, this is our LED blink frequency counter
clk_24KHz is not actually exactly 24KHz but 100 000 000 Hz / 4096 = 24414 Hz or 24.414KHz 🙂

when this cntr reach value 12207 i.e. half second pass LED1_m1_r is loaded with 0 and LED2_m1_r is loaded with 1
when this cntr reach value 24414 i.e. one second pass LED1_m1_r is loaded with 1 and LED2_m1_r is loaded with 0
i.e. if mode is 1 the LED1 and LED2 will blink each half second.

when the mode is 0 LED1_m0_r and LED2_m0_r will follow button states i.e. in this mode when you press button 1LED1 will be on and when you release button 1 LED1 will be off
same will be for LED2 too

Now let pay some more attention to what this code describes:

   if(reset == 1'b0) begin //if bit15 of rst_cnt is not set yet
     rst_cnt <= rst_cnt + 15'd1; //increment the counter rst_cnt

   if(BUT1_r == 1'b0 && BUT2_r == 1'b0 && reset == 1'b1) begin 
           //if bit15 of rst_cnt is set and both buttons are pressed
     mode <= mode ^ 1'b1;  //toggle the mode
     rst_cnt <= 15'd0;    //clear debounce rst_cnt

reset is signal connected to rst_cnt 15th bit, so until this bit is set rst_cnt will be incremented on every positive edge of clk_24KHz,
when reset is set to 1 if BUT1 and BUT2 are pressed together the mode is toggled and res_cnt is set to 0 to ensure some debounce time

you can download the project and make and program with these two lines:


    make prog

You will see first LED1 and LED2 to blink as default mode is 1. If you want to toggle the mode press and hold BUT1 and BUT2 and release them quickly.

LED1 and LED2 will switch off, in this mode if you press BUT1 will switch on LED1 and if you press BUT2 will switch on LED2, if you press the both buttons together mode will change again to 1 and LED1 and LED2 will start blinking.

Your first program is done!

Now let see what will happen if we change line 48 from

   mode <= mode ^ 1'b1; //toggle the mode


   model <= mode ^ 1'b1; //toggle the mode

i.e. we made mistake and instead of mode wrote model what do you think will be there error message when synthesis is done?

You can try! Whaaaat? everything completes correctly and you get your example.bin ready for program. What happens when we run it? Right! The LED1 and LED2 blinks and you can’t change the mode by pressing BUT1 and BUT2 together anymore!

OMG how this happens? Welcome to the wonderful world of Verilog 🙂 If you do not define but use new signal Verilog silently creates it and just issue WARNING not error, in this case the warning is in the very beginning of the 1233 lines of messages you see printed while the source is synthesized:

    Parsing Verilog input from `example.v' to AST representation.
    Generating RTLIL representation for module `\top'.
    Warning: Identifier `\model' is implicitly declared at example.v:48.
    Successfully finished Verilog frontend.


This feature may make you bang your head to the wall searching for errors and can’t happen in VHDL, where everything have to be strictly defined before to be used.

VHDL vs Verilog is like old C vs Pascal choice. In C you can do lot of things to shoot yourself in the leg and the compiler will not stop you.


In the next FPGA blog post we will go deeper and will show you how to generate VGA video signals with iCE40HX1-EVB + iCE40-IO boards and how to move object on the screen with the arrow keys of PS2 keyboard.

And we will not stop here, we are preparing more tutorials with iCE40HX1-EVBiCE40-IO – video games Snake and Flappy bird. Then latter we will teach you how to build Digital Storage Oscilloscope with iCE40HX1-EVB + iCE40-IO+ iCE40-ADC , how to make Digital Logic Analyzer with  iCE40HX1-EVB +iCE40-DIO for sniffing protocols from devices operating from 1.65 to 5.5V levels and how to make DDS generator of signals with any forms using iCE40HX1-EVB + iCE40-DAC.


EDIT: As I wrote we learn this stuff too! Regarding the implicit declarations they may be disabled by adding on top of your code:

    `default_nettype none


I just try this and yosys stops with error when I mistype ‘mode’ with ‘model’:

Parsing Verilog input from `example.v' to AST representation.
Generating RTLIL representation for module `\top'.
ERROR: Identifier `\model' is implicitly declared at example.v:50 and `default_nettype is set to none.
Makefile:8: recipe for target 'example.blif' failed
make: *** [example.blif] Error 1

Getting started with FPGA with only Free and Open source software and hardware tools tutorial


iCE40 is the first FPGA family with completely Free and Open source software tools thanks to Clifford Wolf who put incredible amount of time to create tool which compiles Verilog code to iCE40 bitstream by reverse engineering the output of the closed source Lattice tools.

As soon as we saw his presentation at FOSDEM we decided that we should make iCE40 FPGA board to use with his IceStorm tools.

The result is iCE40HX1K-EVB completely open source hardware board with all CAD files on GitHub. Which could be programmed with IceStorm!

Clifford built his tool to work with the Lattice stick, there they use FTDI chip to program the board, something we do not like at all 🙂

In the next tutorials we will teach you how you can program iCE40HX1K-EVB with any other board or processor which have SPI, but we will start with Arduino-Leonardo or our equivalent OLIMEXINO-32U4.

OLIMEXINO-32U4 is also OSHW board and all CADs are available, Arduino IDE is also FOSS.

What you will need to follow this tutorial:

  • iCE40HX1K-EVB this is the core board with the FPGA, some buttons, LEDs, SRAM memory which will be very useful for the more advanced demos like VGA video generator, Oscilloscope with fast ADC etc which will follow
  • OLIMEXINO-32U4 which will act as programmer instead of FTDI, instead this board you can use any Arduino or other board just have to wire the SPI signals to the iCE40HX1K-EVB programming connector, in this caseOLIMEXINO-32U4 UEXT connector is used and we connect it with 10 pin ribbon cable to iCE40HX1K-EVB
  • CABLE-IDC10-15cm  to connect between boards 1. and 2.
  • USB-MINI-CABLE to connect OLIMEXINO-32U4 to your host computer where you will install Clifford’s IceStorm and will build your verilog code.
  • SY0605E  power supply 5V adapter for iCE40HX1K-EVB
  • optional but highly recommended USB-ISO – after burning several USB ports on laptops and desktops while playing with development boards now I’m very careful and do not connect anything directly, its very easy to drop tweezers or wire or drop of solder on top of the development board while it’s connected to your computer and the result is USB damage and expensive repair.USB-ISO saves all these troubles and isolate your precious computer from problems with shorts, over voltages etc.

Installing IceStorm

We will install IceStorm from sources so first we have to make sure we have all tools to build it:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential clang bison flex libreadline-dev \
     gawk tcl-dev libffi-dev git mercurial graphviz \
     xdot pkg-config python python3 libftdi-dev


Installing the IceStorm Tools (icepack, icebox, iceprog, icetime, chip databases):

    git clone icestorm
    cd icestorm
    make -j$(nproc)
    sudo make install


Installing Arachne-PNR (the place&route tool):

    git clone arachne-pnr
    cd arachne-pnr
    make -j$(nproc)
    sudo make install


Installing Yosys (Verilog synthesis):

    git clone yosys
    cd yosys
    make -j$(nproc)
    sudo make install

If everything completes with no errors – congratulations you successfully installed the IceStorm!

Preparing OLIMEXINO-32U4 as programmer

Now we have to prepare OLIMEXINO-32U4  as our FPGA programmer.

Download latest Arduino IDE . We recommend you to use the one from current revision is 1.6.9.

Copy iceprog.ino sketch from GitHub to examples folder.

Plug the USB cable to OLIMEXINO-32U4 and start the Arduino IDE

    cd arduino-1.6.9
    sudo ./arduino

From Tools menu select ‘Arduino Leonardo’ as board.

From the same menu select the PORT where the board is attached it will be something like: ‘/dev/ttyACM0 (Arduino Leonardo)’ or ‘/dev/ttyUSB0 (Arduino Leonardo)’

Open the iceprog.ino sketch.

From menu SketchInclude libraryManage libraries check if you have SPI and SPIFlash libraries installed if not install them.

Compile and Upload the sketch.

If everything complete without error now you have OLIMEXINO-32U4 set as iCE40HX1K-EVB programmer!

Add support for OLIMEXINO-32U4 in IceStorm

Copy iceprogduino folder from GitHub to icestorm folder and build it

    cd icestorm/iceprogduino
    make install

Make your first program for FPGA – blink LED

Copy demo code from GitHub to icestorm/examples

    cd icestorm/examples/ice40hx1k-evb
    make prog

If everything finish with no error you will see LED1 and LED2 blinking on iCE40HX1K-EVB.

Congratulations! You made blinking LED on FPGA!

Now check what is the content of example.v , ice40hx1k-evb.pcf and Makefile and learn why the LEDs blink and what happen when you press together BUT1 and BUT2?

Next tutorial will be how to use iCE40HX1K-EVB with A20-OLinuXino-MICRO as both host for the IceStorm tool and programmer via UEXT connector with just cable and what additional options it gives like loading the code directly to FPGA whthout using SPI flash and your can change FPGA code in milliseconds.

New OSHW iCE40 FPGA evaluation board project


iCE40HX1K-EVB is small 5×5 cm development board for Lattice iCE40 FPGAs.

For these who do not know yet, this is the only FPGA which has Open Source tools -> Icestorm which allows you to program iCE40.

Above you can see the preliminary PCB component arrangement. Here is the schematic:


The development board have these features:

  • iCE40HX1K-VQ100
  • 16Mbit Serial Flash for the FPGA configuration and user data
  • SRAM 256K x 16 bit
  • two LEDs
  • two buttons
  • 100Mhz Oscillator
  • power supply with DCDC 1.2V/1A and 3.3V/1A
  • Male EXT connector with 34 pin containing 24 FPGA signals, 5V, 3.3V, CLK, 2x LEDs
  • Programming 10 pin adapter

The purpose of the male right hand 34 pin connector is to allow additional expansion modules to be connected.

The additional modules with have FEMALE 34 pin connector on left hand side and MALE 34 pin connector with all signals on the right hand side, so many modules could stack together.

We work on these modules now:

  • 2×5 centimeter fast ADC board with ADC08100 100Msps 8bit ADC, as we will make ADC addressable, many ADCs could stack together to make multi channel fast ADC digital storage oscilloscope
  • 2×5 centimeters fast DAC board with THS5641A 100Msps 8bit DAC, also addressable
  • 4×5 centimeters board with VGA and PS2 for experimenting with video generation and keyboard inputs
  • 2×5 centimeter board with level shifter 1.2-5.5V with adjustable levels 8/16 bit for logic analyzer with wide working levels
  • 4×5 centimeter board with buttons, LEDs for user interface

The main board is already uploaded on GitHub

The FPGA programming on original Lattice icestick development board is done with FTDI USB to SPI converter, but we avoid this unreliable company in our designs.

You can run the Icestorm on A20-OLinuxino-MICRO and we preparing patch which to allow iceprog to run on OLinuXino and program the iCE40 via the UEXT connector.

For these who want to use USB programmer we prepare patch for using OLIMEXINO-32U4 (or any other Arduino) as programmer, sure OLIMEXINO is most convenient to be used as programmer as already have UEXT connector which to wire directly to iCE40 10 pin programming port.


EDIT: At TuxCon in July we will have FPGA workshop with this board – we will teach you FPGA basics, how they are programming and first steps with verilog, at the end you will make your own first Verilog program and program it at iCE40HX1K-EVB. We are going to prepare examples how to use the ADC/DAC/VGA/PS2 etc add-on boards.