Review: Genuine Altera USB-Blaster II

Lately I have been encountering problems programming Altera FPGA chips.  I have been using several knock-off USB-Blasters purchased from eBay with intermittent problems being seen from day one but now they barely work.  I thought I’d bite the bullet and buy a genuine Altera programmer, which isn’t cheap.

Short answer…  Should have made the investment earlier and saved myself lots of frustration.

If you want a little more detail on the unit, read my quick review here.


Now Appearing: VHDL Coded Modules

As I sit here working on my FPGA projects, it occurs to me that some of the work I am doing may be of interest to viewers of this site.  So, I will break down some of my projects into more basic blocks/modules and upload them for others to use or learn from.  I will attempt to annotate my code in a meaningful way so that everyone can understand what and how I am doing what I am doing in my code.

You can find an index of the VHDL modules in the link below.
VHDL Modules

A New FPGA Toy

I just purchased a Lattice iCEstick Development Board.  I have wanted to try these chips for a while now to see if they meet my needs for my smaller/simpler projects.

The iCE40 FPGA chips are a small form factor, inexpensive and minimalist series of programmable logic.  They are very low power device and have specs that range from 384 to 7680 logic cells and are available with up to 128Kbit of RAM and 210 I/Os.  That is still plenty of horsepower to do some pretty great things.

I have put some basic specs and data sheets up for the ICEstick board and its on-board peripherals.  Also, I have written a tutorial on how use the basic functions of Lattice’s iCEcube2 development software and programmer with a good ol’  blinking LED example.  If you are interested, you can check them out below.

Lattice iCEstick Development Board
“Blinky” Example