FPGA Beginner’s Series, 2: Opening the Package

From May 29, 2012:

I have to admit that I am intimidated by FPGAs, but it looks as if this development board will be an easy way to learn and explore the programmable device world. The package itself, which just arrived, is about the same size as a paperback book.

Inside we find the MicroBoard, two USB cables (micro-USB to USB-A, and USB-A to USB-A), DVD containing the Xilinx ISE design tools, and some paperwork that includes "Getting Started" instructions.

[Note that the 2015 version will have newer software, but will otherwise largely be the same]

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FPGA Beginner’s Series, 1: What’s This All About?

Welcome to my FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) beginner's series. The content here was originally posted on All Programmable Planet which, sadly, is no longer on line. Much of the content is as it was when I originally posted it, with updates when necessary to correct errors in the original articles or reflect more current information.

The series chronicles my journey from complete FPGA ignorance, through introduction, to basic working knowledge of Verilog and FPGA usage. The following first appeared May 22, 2012, in All Programmable Planet:

Hello, everybody. I don't know about you, but I'm new to the world of programmable logic. I have a fair amount of experience with microcontrollers -- mostly Microchip PIC processors, but I also have experience with AVR, ARM, and MSP430 processors. I use them on my motor controllers and robot projects, which is all well and good until I run out of power or flexibility. Some things just need more oomph than a little MCU has to offer.

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