Electronics, coding and hacking. And ADD.

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The jungle of synthesized design


I finally got my Altera CPLD board in the mail yesterday. I was really looking forward to start playing with it immediately, but as it turned out, I had to download 3 gigabytes(!) worth of development tools in order to start. With an intensively shared internet connection, the playtime had to wait until tonight. I can't wait until I have my own private line.

What I received was an Altera board with a MAXII family (more specifically the EPM240T100C5) CPLD, coupled with an external 50MHz clock available to turn the wheel around. The programmer itself is a Chinese knock-off which is, supposedly, compatible with the original USB-Blaster from Altera. From what I have heard, it works just fine. Here's the hardware I'm playing with:

CPLD board and USB-Blaster

After installing the software, the first impressions vary from "WOW!" to "holy shit, how the hell am I going to learn this?" - but I'm determined to master this, once and for all.

After fiddling around with the controls for a bit, I finally got the essence of it and wrote a simple program that divided the clock down to blink an LED. This simple Youtube clip shows the board in action:

(I just had a mild cold, and I'm sniffing like crazy, so I did a short audioswap on Youtube to spare you the nasal sounds)

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the progress - a couple of hours from installing to having the first synthesized design up and running is more than satisfying. Really looking forward to play some more with it tomorrow.


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