FPGA evaluation board: XILINX Spartan 3 – XC3S200

If you will prepare to learn the FPGA, you need a FPGA evaluation board from various vendors such as Xilinx, Altera, Actel, and so on.

The evaluation board contains the FPGA chips typically according to your choice and consists of other supporting components such as RAM, EEPROM, 7Segmen Display, buttons, connectors, aims to facilitate learning.

The author gives suggestions for using an FPGA evaluation board is the cheapest for the first time experimenting in FPGA applications, such as the spartan 3.

The author used an evaluation board from Xilinx Spartan 3  which has specifications:

  1. Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA – XC3S200 w/ twelve 18-bit multipliers, 216Kbits of block RAM, and up to 500MHz internal clock speeds
  2. On-board 2Mbit Platform Flash (XCF02S)
  3. 8 slide switches, 4 pushbuttons, 9 LEDs, and 4-digit seven-segment display
  4. Serial port, VGA port, and PS/2 mouse/keyboard port
  5. Three 40-pin expansion connectors
  6. Three high-current voltage regulators (3.3V, 2.5V, and 1.2V)
  7. Works with Digilent’s JTAG3, JTAG USB, and JTAG USB Full Speed cables, as well as P4 & MultiPRO cables from Xilinx
  8. 1Mbyte on-board 10ns SRAM (256Kb x 32)

To experiment fpga, the first, you must have an evaluation board fpga accordance with your financial abilities. Use a cheap price to learn first, then buy a high-priced in accordance with the development of your skills.


Technical explanations of the FPGA evaluation board

I will try to explain the technical of this evaluation board, may be useful for you to experiment on fpga.The technical explanations are based on the specifications of the fpga evaluation board above.

To connect the digital signal between the evaluation board with digital circuits outside board, provided the pins as the digital interface on the evaluation board as follows:

Digitally Interfaces

Expansion connectors

This evaluation module need additional equipment in the form of programmer via jtag connector. For the purposes of digitally interfaces with the external circuits, provided 32×3 = 96 bits I /O through 3 expansion connectors namely A1, A2 and B1. 96-bit I / Os are freely used for digital interfaces such as ADC, DAC, LCD, serial / parallel communications, etc. A voltage level that is used I / O’s FPGA must be the same voltage level that is used I/O’s circuits outside the FPGA. In general, the voltage level of I / O’s FPGA used is 3.3 Volt. You need to match this level voltage using a resistor connected in series.

8 switches

8 switchs can be used as an alternative of the digital input, can changed as toggle to logic 0 or 1. Usually, this switchs are used as input logic to combination logic circuit or a sequential logic circuit.

4 buttons

This is the same button switch ’8 switches’, just not a toggle, if pressed will be a logic 0, if released will be a logic 1. This button is provided if the input logic circuits require a logic transition, such as the input of the sequence logic circuit. Essentially, use this buttons if you need input as a pulse by pressing manually the button.

8 LEDs

8 LEDs are typically used as an indicators in your application design. Or to visually test the digital output, if you are still in early stages of experimenting. So LEDs that have been included in this fpga module will helpful for you in the experiment without having to soldering or connecting the LEDs to the pins of the FPGA.

Standard interfaces

Specially interface is provided for standard interfaces such as RS232, VGA port, port PS/2. This standard interface commonly used for standard devices such as keyboards using P/S 2 interface, the monitor uses a VGA port interface, RS232 (serial terminal) using serial port interface. This interface can be applied in accordance with the design you have.


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About Bambang Siswoyo

I am a college lecturer since 1988 at UB (University of Brawijaya) in the electronics department. My experience: Applications of Microprocessor system, Applications of Control System, Applications of Field Programmable Gate Array, Computer Programming in computer instrumentations. My hobby: Music especially playing the saxophone, hiking and exploring the countryside.
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2 Responses to FPGA evaluation board: XILINX Spartan 3 – XC3S200

  1. deepika says:

    How can i connect the spartan-3 fpga with a camera and display the image on monitor. If i am using VGA cmos camera do i connect it with i/o ports and which one from A1, A2 or B? And which camera would be more suitable for this particular FPGA?

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