Is Xilinx expensive-rich? Or looking for budget options

I started my FPGA study with FPGA Altera Cyclone IV, which came with a penny USB ByteBlaster. I looked in the direction of Xilinx with caution, if the beard was not much more expensive, then the programmer started already from 2 tr. for a copy on Alik, which is 10 times more expensive than the Alter Blaster. I went my way from relatively expensive (not branded) to cheap models and I want to share my research with you. Perhaps, if I had this information, I would start studying Xilinx early.

Only the lazy did not write about the EBAZ4205 miner control board, I ordered it first for experiments with SOC XC7Z010. Having blinked with diodes, I ordered the second time specific connectors for a homemade expansion board (arrived only a few days ago), started looking for a more interesting and, most importantly, cheaper option in Ali’s expanses (“can you have eight caps?”). And so, pretty quickly, a Chinese plum came to me, that is, we meet Lichee Tang Hex.


The dimensions, of course, were amazing, I did not expect such a miniatureization. I can’t definitely advise you, but I’ll tell you the pros and cons (with my vision). Well, the choice, of course, is yours.

First, the documentation, of all the links that the seller gave (and then after the kick), there were only two workers for this board. Here is the main SiPEED website there you will find schematic, examples and Petalinux.

Let’s briefly go over the diagram, the board has two DDR3 MT41J128M16JT 256Kx16 each, which gives a whole Gigabyte of 32bit RAM. Perhaps because of this, the IO-pin is catastrophically small:

Of the 26 contacts, four with voltages from 1.8V to Vin, five are ground, two were conceived for PL_I2C, two for PS_UART, two more for FAN SPEED and PWM. Remained with a gulkin’s nose: two PL_33_IO and 9 incomprehensible HASH_IO. Whether it will be possible to assemble a full-fledged HDMI on this, time will tell. Below we see Flash MT29F2G16ABAEA for 2GB 8bit and 4bit MicroSD connected to the PS part.

The network part is made on LAN9514 – this is a USB host with 4 ports combined with a USB-LAN bridge so the speed is limited to 100Mbit. Ambiguous reduction in price, the question arises “Was it worth it?” The source is a high-speed USB2.0 transceiver with ULPI interface for ms USB3320. Quartz at 33MHz clocks only the PS part, so without initializing PS, you will not start the PL logic. There is at least a place for quartz on EBAZ4205. LEDs are connected to the AB1 GREEN and AB4 RED pins, the only PL_SW button is connected to W5.

And UART to MIO48 – MIO49:

To blink the LED, you need to connect a programmer, since the conclusions are signed, but not wired, and I did not even find a comb in the kit. From the budget, there is a relatively expensive version of DL10 on Lattice with Cypress, this one works out of the box without a tambourine:

If there is not much money, you can order the FT232H board on Ali, the price is about 500 rubles with fast shipment:

You have to tinker with this. Download the FT PROG program from the FTDI Chip website, install and run it, scan the connected devices, most likely the memory will be pristine:

In the tab USB_Config_Description in the Max Bus Power field, set the value 500mA.
In the tab USB_String_Description it is necessary to write in the fields:

  • Manufacturer – Digilent;
  • Product Description – Digilent USB Device;
  • Serial Number – 210249854606.

In the tab Hardware_Specific → Port_A → Hardware you need to check the box opposite 245 FIFOand in
Hardware_Specific → Port_A → Driver – mark opposite D2XX

After that, we write the changes to the EEPROM, but this is not enough to work as a Xilinx programmer, you need to flash UserMemory, you need to use the FT_EE_UAWrite function from the D2XX API library (an example of using this function is given in AN_121_FTDI_Device) or by the FTDI_User_Area_Writer program, respected Dmitry with aka ADA007 github… Then we take out and re-insert the handkerchief, look at the device manager: COM should disappear, and in USB controllers stay USB Serial Converter. The contacts for connecting to the programmer are given below, do not forget GND :

  • ADBUS0 – TCK;
  • ADBUS1 – TDI;
  • ADBUS2 – TDO;
  • ADBUS3 – TMS.

The board is powered by 12V DC5.5. Now, if we start Vivado 2018 and older, in the Device Manager we will see the programmer and our board:

Also, as a programmer, you can use a board based on FT2232H, you get another COM as a bonus, the process is described in the magazine Components and Technologies No. 3 2014 and read in detail how the author of the article passed a thorny path to the result on forum Electronix.

If you need a lesson on how to blink LEDs, there are many examples on the network, from the EBAZ4205 manual for “sheep” on fpga-systems.ru to quite decent articles, for example 1 and 2, on habr.ru.

Of course, I do not pretend to be the ultimate truth and may, of course, be mistaken. Write – we will fix it.

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