Teaser: Spartan-6 LX9 Microboard

Sparta-6 LX9 Microboard from AVNET and Xilinx

Sparta-6 LX9 Microboard from AVNET and Xilinx

This is teasing you as much as it is me. This is the Microboard. it’s an FPGA development board with onboard ram, 10/100 ethernet, and USB (among the various blinky switchy things all development boards must have) for the low, low cost of around $90.

Or if you know someone like Vlad a bit cheaper. Thanks for the donation!

For my first project, I’m looking at a simple FM (re)transmitter.  I want to make a local area delay filter. Think about it.

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Mojo Spartan-6 FPGA Boards!

Mojo Back

Mojo Spartan-6 FPGA Boards!

I’m not gonna lie, super excited for this project. I’ve been wanting to get started with FPGAs for a while now, but the price was too high. Not to mention, you have to learn a new language, or two (VHDL and Verilog, you had better learn both eventually.)

Spartan-6 Chip; ATMega16u4 Far Right

The Mojo board simplifies it, or will attempt to. Coming in at only $74.99, the price is quite right; and the creators aim to step you through tutorials as they roll out the project. Now, compared to most FPGA development boards, it doesn’t have many bells and whistles: no Ethernet, VGA, HDMI, USB Host, high speed RAM, or much really. It gets by with just a reset button and 8 leds, if you really want it, you can just wire it up (except the high speed ram, that requires additional engineering, shipping from Krypton; that involves Superman — don’t even bother.)

Anyway…was saying…excited!

Check out this list of premade modules (called cores) while we wait, and spam the hell out of them till they sell you one — you won’t regret it!

Teensy (The once and future king) Model 3.0

ImageThis thing is epic embodied. Go ahead and contact Mr. Teensy Himself on Twitter and tell him how appreciative you are. Because it won’t be long before these things are everywhere. With an ARM Cortex-M4 processor and an independent IC for the bootloader, it’s quite resilient to bricking (necessary for me!) native USB, what else is to be expected from PJRC

Oh yeah, and fully working Arduino bootloader and libraries for everyone who doesn’t want to program in C/C++. This is going to be big. Paul claims they easily overclock to 96MHz, and combined with a 32-bit processor, that’s a lot of computing power. Not to mention the 32bit analogWrite() (billions of levels of precision) and 13bit analogRead() (65536 levels of read, or down to a 134uV precision per level. Compare that to a Arduinos’ precision of 19mV, or 4.2mV for the Mega with the 1v1 voltage reference.

So…basically stoked. Get it here for the next day or so.

P.S. Of course, the Kickstarter for this thing was fufilled basically instantly. I mean, we all have the Teensy 2.0, right?

UPDATE: Galago is fully-funded!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kuy/galago-make-things-betterImage

As of this morning (15 September) this Kickstarter had reached $30 000 in funding, and as such will be produced. So begins the debate on whether or not to order a few more…

In any case, hopefully Kuy can get these built relatively quickly and the development environment pans out as described. If not, I’ve got plenty of nights and weekends to try and write my own bootloader/toolchain.

Galago, a ARM Cortex-M3 development board with a real time debugger!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kuy/galago-make-things-better

ImageWhat a great find for $19. Half the price of a Arduino (from radio shack, at least, I go with the chinese knockoffs for $17) and orders of magnitude more capability. Too great to pass up, I swung for one. Here’s the bad news, unless they sell $30k worth, they don’t get any of the funding. And, there’s only 17 days to go. Hopefully they can pull this one out of their ass, get funded and give PJRC and their new Teensy 3.0 a run for their money.

Preparing for FREE DAY

It’s that time of the year again, to rape Sparkfun’s servers trying to get free shit. Instead of the situation last year, where you earned your loot by answering multiple choice questions (I got 4 ATtinys! FO’ FREE) it’s all chance. Will you or won’t you win a $100 gift card? Only the universe knows.

BUT YOU CAN GET FREE SHIT

There are many ways to get free components, microcontrollers, top-of-the-line ICs, and so on and so forth. Read on, dear brother, read on.
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Discount Radio Gear (for Amateur Bands)

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So if you’re like me, and about to take (and pass!) your Technician level exam and get your call sign, you probably need a radio. Assuming you don’t have mad cash to blow, you need one cheap. My previous posts might suggest I recommend building your first radio — that’s a negative. It is, much, much easier, cheaper, and just generally safer to buy a used radio. There’s of course, the net standard eBay, and even a few used transceivers on amazon, but the real gem in used radio is UniversalRadio’s used section. They have handheld transceivers (a great first rig for the vhf/uhf bands) as low as $30, if you catch it right, alongside mobile rigs and HF shack units for under $200. Plus, they’ve got the cheapest new antennas I’ve seen yet. Or, you know, you could splurge, and drop six hundo on this killer new Yaesu Quad-band HT. To each his own.

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