Electronics > FPGA

Complete newbie looking for a good practical beginers guide to programming FPGAs

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james_s:

--- Quote from: SiliconWizard on November 29, 2021, 06:34:02 pm ---They used to include ActiveHDL, they have switched to Modelsim. While I rarely use it because GHDL covers most of my needs, Modelsim is a good and industry-standard simulator. The initial learning curve is a bit steeper than with ActiveHDL, though.

--- End quote ---

I've been frustrated by the simulation situation, it seems the major vendors change from one simulator to another between versions, some include one, others you have to download and install it separately, it just seems like something that should be more integrated into the tools and less hassle to make it work. I'm only a FPGA hobbyist though, maybe I'd see it differently if I was doing this professionally.

fourfathom:

--- Quote from: james_s on November 29, 2021, 06:59:37 pm ---I'm only a FPGA hobbyist though, maybe I'd see it differently if I was doing this professionally.
--- End quote ---

Yeah, I'm only a hobbyist these days (retired).  In my professional days we had expensive development tools and full support.  Now, mostly as a matter of principal, I do it all on a shoestring.  Also the free tools are quite good now, compared to the case 20+ years ago.

bingo600:

--- Quote from: james_s on November 29, 2021, 06:55:46 pm ---I've done a bunch of projects using those little Cyclone II boards, they're dirt cheap and capable of holding a lot of retro projects.  I released a handful of bronze age Atari arcade games and an implementation of the Heathkit ET-3400 microprocessor trainer. There's also a daughterboard for Grant's Multicomp.

https://github.com/james10952001

--- End quote ---

Well done James  :-+
That's far beyond my capabilities now.

The Flex multicomp i use was made by other people.

/Bingo

emece67:

--- Quote from: james_s on November 29, 2021, 06:59:37 pm ---I've been frustrated by the simulation situation, it seems the major vendors change from one simulator to another between versions, some include one, others you have to download and install it separately, it just seems like something that should be more integrated into the tools and less hassle to make it work. I'm only a FPGA hobbyist though, maybe I'd see it differently if I was doing this professionally.

--- End quote ---

ModelSim is definitely enough for any hobbyist. Thus, installing any Quartus version that includes it (they do not include the «whole» ModelSim, but again a capable enough version for hobby use), no matter if you latter want to use Quartus or any other tool, is an easy way to have ModelSim ready to be used in all of your projects. Not sure about lasts versions of ISE/Vivado (and even less sure about Lattice or chinese vendors), but being ModelSim a industry standard, FPGA vendors use to provide some way to generate the appropriate libraries for simulation in ModelSim.

james_s:

--- Quote from: bingo600 on November 29, 2021, 08:21:10 pm ---That's far beyond my capabilities now.

The Flex multicomp i use was made by other people.

/Bingo

--- End quote ---

Maybe take a look at the Gottlieb pinball/arcade sound boards in there, those are about as simple as a complete computer gets, they are a minimal 6502 based system that has only one task, monitoring inputs and playing the selected sound effect via a DAC connected to the data bus.

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