The iCE40 sequence of FPGAs gets a fair little bit of protection on these webpages, mainly owing to its accessibility (many thanks to massive endeavours in reverse engineering and open software chains) and possible also owing to Lattice Semiconductors’ mindset to open up source in general. While these products are compact and instead confined, you just cannot really conquer them for a initially foray into the topic. They are a great deal beefy plenty of for numerous of the less complicated FPGA apps. [TinLethax] over on Hackaday.IO has loads of knowledge with the products, and has added an additional device to our collective iCE40 arsenal, specifically iCEBlaster, a USB mass storage system (MSC) model bootloader for drag-n-drop bitstream loading. The times of needing committed unique programmers are starting off to be numbered, with quite a few chips now presenting a USB mass storage gadget to the host in order to add the firmware graphic.
FPGAs don’t are inclined to operate this way, needing a unit-specific bitstream loading upon start off-up, which (except they have OTP memory) is normally the career of an external configuration memory. iCEBlaster (a perform on the Xilinx ByteBlaster programmer, maybe?) operates on the STM32F4xx sequence products at least, but ought to be simply moveable to other people. The strategy is pretty clear-cut — dragging a new bitstream file onto the storage unit initiates an FPGA concentrate on reset, which in convert makes it possible for the STM32 to send the bitstream about to the iCE40 by using the SPI interface. Nothing at all more than that.
If you’ve been on the lookout to get into the iCE40, this guidebook could be a good beginning place, and each and every discovering experience requires a great venture to generate it, how about functioning Doom on a softcore RISC-V?
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