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Introduction to FPGA's and prototyping with the Elbert

How to get started developing on FPGA's for under thirty dollars in hardware and software
3.9 (93 ratings)
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3,012 students enrolled
Created by Stephen Borsay
Last updated 7/2015
  • 38 mins on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
Understand what an FPGA is
Become familiar with the Elbert v2 with the Xilinx Spartan 3A FPGA
Understand how to use the Xilinx Webpack ISE tool flow with the Elbert V2
Program a simple example in HDL on the Elbert V2 Board
Prepare for next lecture series with the Elbert V2
View Curriculum
  • Basic Programming and working in an IDE
  • Knowledge of what embedded systems do in the real world

This is a free course which will teach you how to get up and running with field programmable gate arrays (FPGA's). You will learn the basics of programming in HDL on an inexpensive FPGA development board which is a valuable tool for both the hobbyist interested in "making" or the full time engineer with an interest in expanding his career options. FPGA's are both fun and challenging and provide many useful applications that can be applied to the real world. Whether you are a student, hobbyist, or engineer it is important to have the skills demanded in the digital age. By having a working knowledge of FPGA's you can differentiate yourself from your competitors in the marketplace and turbo charge your career with an additional, well paid, skill set that is currently needed in the marketplace. With these new digital skills you can help design communication equipment, audio and video, or signal processing and filtering applications; the ability to program and implement FPGA's can help you succeed in whichever engineering career path you choose..

This courtse will be taught using the Elbert V2 FPGA demonstration board and the Xilinx tool flow with the Xilinx Webpack ISE. I will explain the basics of FPGA development on the Elbert V2 board and end up the introduction to FPGA's with an uploaded programming example to see the HDL code at work on the Elbert development board. This free lecture will be followed by a more extensive lecture series getting into further detail of programming and implementing FPGA's.

Who is the target audience?
  • Students interested in FPGA's
  • Engineers in Embedded Systems but not FPGA's
  • Those with an interest in reconfigurable logic and digital design
  • Hobbyists who want to "make" with FPGA's and reconfigurable logic
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 9 Lectures Collapse All 9 Lectures 37:48
Introduction to FPGA's using the Elbert V2
9 Lectures 37:48

A brief introduction to what will be covered in this short course.

Introduction to the course

Discussion of what a FPGA is and what applications it has in the real world.

What is a FPGA

We compare and contrast FPGA's and the more commonly used MCU's. A brief discussion of where one product may be more suitable than the other. The student should acquire a basic understanding of the differences in design and use of these two embedded components.


A discussion of the Elbert FPGA development board and its onboard peripherals

Introduction to the Elbert V2 FPGA development board

In this lecture we will focus on Installing the necessary Xilinx software to program the Elbert development board.

Installing the free Xilinx ISE Webpack Software

This is the code walk through for a simple blink program on the board and a how-to on using the free Xilinx ISE Webpack with the Elbert.

Programming a simple "Hello World" blink project

This is the Elbert V2 constarint file which links the on-board peripherlas with the inputs and outputs instanciated in your HDL code.

Setting the constraints (.ucf) file

To upload the bitstream you complied with the Xilinx ISE Webpack tool use the Elbert Uploader which you can download here.

* Remember to change the option to generate a bitfile so you can upload your bit stream using the Elbert "configuration" uploading utility tool. to do this change the Webpack options by right clicking the "Generate Programming File" in the Xilinx Webpack. This will create a bitstream file that you can upload directly with the Numato "configuration" tool rather then trying to use the built-in Xilinx Webpack "configure target device" utility which may not work.

Uploading our code with a bitstream to the Elbert

A discussion of what the next lecture series on the Elbert will include. The following lecture will cover the Elbert in more extensive detail, with multiple programming examples, utilizing not only the built-in onboard peripepherals but also inexpensive extrenal decices and senors.

The next lecture series on the Elbert
About the Instructor
4.0 Average rating
151 Reviews
4,118 Students
3 Courses
computer Engineer in embedded systems

Steve Borsay is a Degreed Computer Engineer and electronic hobbyist with an interest in making embedded systems understandable and enjoyable to other enthusiasts of all experience and knowledge levels. Technical training and product instruction available for FPGA's, MCU's, Arduino, EDA, embedded systems, and other technical areas. Also thee Portland Ambassador for Hackster.io.  I will try to answer all questions with a focus on student and professional development.

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