Author Topic: Cheap Virtex 5 FPGA Board (actually PrimeSense DevKit better known as Kinect)  (Read 20650 times)

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Offline tinhead

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Two months or so ago I was looking for a cheap Virtex 4/5 board on ebay. However not a dedicated dev board
(as they simply too expensive or too specific), but something what can be as well custom used.
The last time i got a real nice Wintegra Board with gbit LAN, so i hoped to find something similar.

What i found is even better : check this item ebay 281032773568

On the first look was already ok, not too much "custom things", simply FPGA and only few extra things.
I've contacted the seller and got some other pictures, on one of them was company logo "PrimeSense"
and board name "Chip Development Board". Who is Prime Sense ? Well that's the company behind Xbox Kinect.

So i bought this board and contacted immediately Jeremie Kletzkine from Prime Sense. He is Business Development Manager
so i thought it might be the right person ... well, unfortunately not. What he said:

"we're not sharing information about our core technology"

Well Jeremy, i'm happy you not sharing any information about your famous technology. Wondering only why on Prime Sense website (or any social network, heh) your company made so much "talk" about "open source, open this, open ni" and all the
other crap marketing things ... Or maybe simply you the worng person to answer product relevant questions ? Who cares.

Anyway, as soon i got my board i've checked the both on-board Flash memories ... and gues what, i can read back
your famous design from Config ROM and of course parallel Flash as well.

Anyway ... you all might ask now why i'm taling about this board ? Well, maybe some of you wish to try to play with
Kinect "v1" - in the full specs version i think. All you need will be for sure Cam conected over SERDES port, mic
and IR sensor? No idea, this kind of functionaity is for me only "an extra", but yeah, informations about drivers,
software etc can be found here:

http://groups.google.com/group/openni-dev/tree/browse_frm/thread/5db551fb475432e?_done=%2Fgroup%2Fopenni-dev%2Fbrowse_frm%2Fthread%2F5db551fb475432e%3Ffwc%3D1%26&fwc=1

or simply google for "ID 1D27 PID 0200"

For all of you who wish simply a cheap but powerful Xilinx Virtex 5 Dev Board :

i've reversed the complete PCB and made a schematic - see attached. I spend on that 3 days, i hope you enjoy it.
I've additionaly made backup of the Prime Sense original (Kinect) design (i case you wish to play with that a bit) and
created master pin config file (.ucf) for your ISE Projects.

Having the schematic and ucf file you can access now to :

 - Virtex 5 FPGA ( XC5VLX50 ) - tht biggest one you can use with the free ISE web edition.
 - 5 green, 5 yellow and 1 blue LEDs
 - 32 DIP switches (or simply replace them by 4 push buttons)
 - 50 free I/O pins wired to FPC connector (perfect for e.g. Display)
 - 38 free I/O pins wired to ( no idea what model this is) 68 pin connector. Every second pin is GND so perfect slow/middle
  speed for I/O operations
- 18 free I/O pins on IDT header (2.54mm pitch)
- 7 free I/O pins on "spare" PS-1000 chip JTAG (see schematic for details)
- 3 x 34 free high speed I/Os over MICTOR header (perfect for extra memory or debug)
- 1 x 36 free high speed I/Os over MICTOR header (perfect for extra memory or debug)
- 2 x 2.56Gbit Full dupley SERDES port - for everything where you need good speed (or over longer distance).


I've attached as well some pictures, red marked is the "useles are" - all these parts can be removed when you
don't need the Kinect functionality. Yellow marked area is indirect usefull - you need to wire then one of the 4 MICTOR
ports with the one MICTOR port in "yellow area" and remove the red area parts - then you will get as well
USB over Cypress MoBL chip.

Everything else, as described above, is directly accesible and can be used as Virtex 5 dev board.

I've attached only reduced size PDF schematic, if you need bigger version (with nets) or the Altium files send me simply PM.




EDIT: updated schematics, config and nor dump and master ucf on my onedrive: http://1drv.ms/1BUD6Nv
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 04:31:31 pm by tinhead »
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Offline marshallh

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Nice board... too bad about the fpga brand... hehe
Verilog tips
BGA soldering intro

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11:37 <@ktemkin> He speaks protocols directly.
 

Offline tinhead

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heh, but you know what, i don't like the Xilinx tools (ISE), it makes me crazy each time to work with them.

In compare to them, to work with Altera Quartus is like a "holidays" ... but sometimes you have no choice.
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Online PA0PBZ

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Price just went up from $115 to $200  >:(
(Or I need new glasses...)
Keyboard error: Press F1 to continue.
 

Offline M. András

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drop a mail to the guy with the configrom dump? :D and ask again for documentation?
 

Offline tinhead

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drop a mail to the guy with the configrom dump? :D and ask again for documentation?

yeah, i will for now let google engine do the work ... sooner or later he will find his name (here).

But even if, i don't think they will provide anything extra. The point is, these boards (afaik) has been designed
before they released PS1080 chip (which is used in Kinect). The IP (which is now implemented in PS1080 ASIC)
is on these ebay boards partially in PS1000 chip and partially in FPGA (or measuring the power consumption even full in FPGA).

Sure, there is no risk that someone will take the dump and sell "own" Kinect things, simply because of Virtex 5 price.



 - 38 free I/O pins wired to ( no idea what model this is) 68 pin connector. Every second pin is GND so perfect slow/middle
  speed for I/O operations


yeah, i must be blind. This is R-HI-008068-2C receptacle, and the plug is R-HI-008068-2.
Exact the same type of connector pair as on Digilent Genesys Virtex 5 board, however different pinout so Digilent
Vmod modules are not compatible.
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline M. András

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wow the price of that single fpga alone is much, not even the board etc wonder the origin of that lot on ebay for the price. (btw can you suggest books for learning whdl/verilog from ground up? i put my head to learn programming by myself and after that should be more challenge in the digital world if you know what i mean)
 

Offline tinhead

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Price just went up from $115 to $200  >:(
(Or I need new glasses...)

ehm yeah ... you right.

I did notified the seller about this thread and the schematics i made, so i assume this is his reaction on the fact that now this
is not just "unknown PCB with FPGA - for chip recovery" but a more or less full documented Virtex 5 dev board.

It was not my intention to rise the price, but to share my findings with others. On the other side i can fully understand
the seller, the cheapest Virtex 5 board (Digilent Genesys) costs more than twice the (current) price of this board - and this
only when you a student.

Right, Digilent Genesys does have memory and Ethernet, but knowing how most poeple using dev kits
i'm sure missing Ethernet is not an issue.
- EDIT - i shoud not compare to Digilent Genesys as they using Virtex 5 LXT
and not LX, more directly comparable is Xilinx ML501 board End_of EDIT.
Memory is a different story, for sure the BRAM on Virtex 5 can be used for many things, but additional SRAM/SDRAM is always
good and easy to use thing. I think i will design small addon board, probably with NoBL SRAM (as i have few of them here),
have to check where to get cheap MICTOR connector (or something size-compatible).

Btw, did you saw the "make offer" button? I made use of that as well.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 12:34:24 am by tinhead »
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline tinhead

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btw can you suggest books for learning whdl/verilog from ground up? i put my head to learn programming by myself and after that should be more challenge in the digital world if you know what i mean

uff, no idea how much money you wish to spend for books, but these two i liked:

i remember this one was good for beginners, i had the first edition of it:
http://www.amazon.com/Circuit-Design-Simulation-Volnei-Pedroni/dp/0262014335/

but when look on the comments the new edition seems to be more complex (but "hopefull" up to date)

and here another one which is more examples driven, a good source as well:
http://www.amazon.com/FPGA-Prototyping-VHDL-Examples-Spartan-3/dp/0470185317/
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline mikeselectricstuff

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If the OP's listed country is genuine, I wonder if the seller has broken export regs by sending this board to him....
Youtube channel:Taking wierd stuff apart. Very apart.
Mike's Electric Stuff: High voltage, vintage electronics etc.
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Offline tinhead

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If the OP's listed country is genuine, I wonder if the seller has broken export regs by sending this board to him....

hehe Mike, I'm a kraut so no issues at all
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I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline tinhead

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in another forum i got an question "how to add memory without paying lot of money for MICTOR plug/receptacle".

Well, sure , there are some cheap MICTOR plugs on ebay, they costs 7usd or so. I've asked some chinese
suppliers, the best was 5usd for plug and 5 usd for receptacle. This is indeed (and that's already the cheapest option)
lot of money, but i think for someone who wish to add fast and a lot of memory this will be the only option.

I will do it very simple, not even NoBL SRAM. I will use SDRAM, 256Mbit or 512MBit chips.
I can simply solder them on a small PCB (with or wthout tracks, simply some wires are good enough here)
and place between two MICTORs like this:



or this.



With 133MHz clock i don't see any problems here. Possible chips are e.g. MT48LC64M8A2, MT48LC32M8A2, IS42S83200C etc.

I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline M. András

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btw can you suggest books for learning whdl/verilog from ground up? i put my head to learn programming by myself and after that should be more challenge in the digital world if you know what i mean

uff, no idea how much money you wish to spend for books, but these two i liked:

i remember this one was good for beginners, i had the first edition of it:
http://www.amazon.com/Circuit-Design-Simulation-Volnei-Pedroni/dp/0262014335/

but when look on the comments the new edition seems to be more complex (but "hopefull" up to date)

and here another one which is more examples driven, a good source as well:
http://www.amazon.com/FPGA-Prototyping-VHDL-Examples-Spartan-3/dp/0470185317/
thank you. the second is a bit more pricy but i guess its worth it, for things i can have on my desk etc i like to spend money if its worth it. and every learning material which i can benefit from later on i spare no expense. for things which are digital format i like the free version of them.
 

Offline tinhead

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... for things which are digital format i like the free version of them.

ehm yeah, you will find these books in digital format, that's for sure. However the only "free" version i ever saw was an illegal one  :palm:
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline M. András

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... for things which are digital format i like the free version of them.

ehm yeah, you will find these books in digital format, that's for sure. However the only "free" version i ever saw was an illegal one  :palm:
nah, i hate to read thousands of pages on a monitor, The C++ Programming Language "special edition" and The C Programming Language 2nd edition sits on my desk in hungarian translation im not sure it was the best choice instead the original english, but thats for sure Stroustrup's books are heavy both of them. these are worth it
 

Offline tinhead

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Price just went up from $115 to $200  >:(

... and got down again by 30%


In the meantime i found solution for the R-HI-008068-2C receptacle. There are a lot of old SCSI/RAID controllers on ebay,
i found an IBM Serveraid for 1EUR. The LVD SE receptacle is exact what i needed.


 - 38 free I/O pins wired to ( no idea what model this is) 68 pin connector. Every second pin is GND so perfect slow/middle
  speed for I/O operations


yeah, i must be blind. This is R-HI-008068-2C receptacle, and the plug is R-HI-008068-2.
Exact the same type of connector pair as on Digilent Genesys Virtex 5 board, however different pinout so Digilent
Vmod modules are not compatible.
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline olsenn

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Vertex is the higher end Xilinx silicon, but you can get a Spartan-6 (45k gate vs 50k) Atlus dev board from Digilent for the same price... I'm not sure which is better. I just wish FPGA's weren't all in BGA or other very high pin count packages... although I see why it's neccessary
 

Offline tinhead

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Virtex is the higher end Xilinx silicon

and that's exact the point

but you can get a Spartan-6 (45k gate vs 50k) Atlus dev board from Digilent for the same price...

not exact the same price. As i started this thread the ebay price was 115$, which was fair for unknown board with a FPGA for recovery. With the schematic i made the game changed, the price as well.

The Spartan-6 price you talking about is academic price, so not everybody can buy it that "cheap". And even if, the Virtex
board is (right now) anyway cheaper.

I'm not sure which is better.

if i would believe Xilinx marketing i would say there is no speed difference between Spartan 6 and Virtex 5 (Microblaze test results),
but a simply look into datasheets tells us what's the real performance is - DSP size 1:0 for Virtex, DSP speed 2:0 for Virtex, i/o speed 3:0 for virtex, PLL 4:0 for Virtex, BRAM speed 5:0 for Virtex, etc.

If the silicon would be "not worth money" ( ok, i don't believe that the silicon itself it worth, but we have no choice here, FPGAs are not really cheap - not a silicon nor PCB needs)  the next cheapest Virtex 5 board would not costs ~1k USD, e.g.

http://www.xilinx.com/products/boards-and-kits/HW-V5-ML501-UNI-G.htm

I just wish FPGA's weren't all in BGA or other very high pin count packages... although I see why it's neccessary

i see this a bit different (and btw, Lattice MachXO2 is available in QFN32 package as well, not small enough?
then use Actel Igloo Nano).

If i have a need to design my own FPGA loaded PCB, one with controlled impedance interconnectivity, then i have no
issues at all to use BGA chips.

If i don't need (complettly) own board, then i can still use bare board/addon board. However it is important to check what i really need - definitely lot of i/o, differential i/o, prefered none of displays/led's/buttins/switches overhead, no ethernet (i simply don't like/care about any microblaze demo designs using trial IP. who is really using them in real designs? nobody), no usb (again, no IP for USB), no DDR2/3 - SDRAM or SRAM are good enough for 99% of all designs (easier to implement from any point of view), small size overall would be sometime nices and well. And yeah - avoid cheap dual layer boards, they only ok when you have no i/o.

There are some cheap bare boards on ebay, most of them made in china. So what's wrong with them? Ehm , yeah, LT1117 (i would be happy to see real LT1117, most of them are what so ever crap versions) everywhere. A good switching power supply for FPGA is must-have, everything else is simply useless (or good enough for one or max. two blinking LEDs - if you use more, who knows what the FPGA will do ... ).

Avoid useless china crap like this item 261030262669. They TOO EXPENSIVE and really bad designed, simply crap.

This item 261127485353 or this one 251194080650 could be better - but this lt1117 crap on bottom side ... first
thing to get removed from PCB. I don't like the price as well, but yeah that's ebay.

If you don't like ebay - there are a lot good bare boards, like Zefant, GoDIL (from OHO Elektronik), etc.
I love these here from HuMANDATA:
 
http://www.hdl.co.jp/en/index.php

They from Japan, good documented, with license free usb jtag solution (with sources), in lot of feature/speed/fpga type combinations. Sure, they not cheap, but cheaper as an e.g. Digilent Virtex 5 board which is anyway overloaded with useless
crap (without lot of money or time useable only with Microblaze demo).

And the board from topic? Well, i would not recommend it if i would not known that it's worth money.
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline tja

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Would you like to share the techniques you used to reverse engineer the board and create the .ucf file?

I'm trying to reverse engineer a spartan-6 board and could do with some ideas. I have tried metering out the connections, but for an FG484 part, I just don't think it is a practical approach.

 

Offline tinhead

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this is actually very simple, but you need to spend "some" time on it.

First of all you need a JTAG cable, in your case Xilinx Platform Cable.
Then of course you need a good software, my fav. app is Universal Scan from Ricreations Inc.:

http://ricreations.com/JTAG-Software-Downloads.htm

You can use as well the less known, but good as well, TopJTAG Probe

http://www.topjtag.com/probe/

The only disadvantage is that TopJTAG probe can't word with Xilinx USB cables, you nwill need to use Altera, ARM, Digilent
or what so ever (or Xilinx LPT cable) jtag cable.

To reverse boards with design loaded:
- connect JTAG cable to board
- power up board
- run UniversalScan
- add jtag cable, add device (you will need bsdl files for the Spartan 6)
- enable scan to watch blinking pins.

This might be usefull to see where clocks are coming from, which i/o pins are used by other chips (in principle when they changin status then something or the design itself is accessing pin)

To reverse boards without design loaded:
- connect JTAG cable to board
- power up board
- run UniversalScan
- add jtag cable, add device (you will need bsdl files for the Spartan 6)
- enable scan
- apply test signal to every pin on the board :) this is the real fun. The level should not be higher than i/o voltage of specific port,
  you need to check it first. I'm using for this 1kHz signal, with low level 0.5V and high level 2-3.3V.
  For some driving pins it is sometimes necessary to apply DC, you will see.
- watch if any pin is changing color (in universal scan). Btw, when you click on empty space and them fpga (scan need to be already
  enabled) then the universalscan will hide all pins - only new activ pins will popup.

You can of course use intest/extest, switches and LEDs in universalscan - simply check their website, there are a lot of videos.

The procedure above works good for single chip boards, when you have more FPGAs and/or other JTAG capable chips you can of course scan with multiple jtag cables (when all these devices not on same chain) or directly in universalscan (when they on same chain and when you loaded for them bsdl files).

For multi devices boards you can of course use tools like http://nsa.unaligned.org/jrev.php
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline tja

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Cheers tinman, that is very helpful indeed, I'll give that technique a try.


Universal scan looks good, but it is not cheap! :-(
 

Offline tinhead

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Universal scan looks good, but it is not cheap! :-(

right, but you can request 14 day trial license. It is not that you need this more than once.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 12:54:31 am by tinhead »
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline alexeygor

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Re: Cheap Virtex 5 FPGA Board (actually PrimeSense DevKit better known as Kinect)
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2013, 04:52:44 pm »
I've got one of those boards and trying to figure out how to power it on at least..  :)

I'm trying to establish a JTAG communication with the board with no success(geting a message that there is no reference voltage
on the JTAG..) so I checked the pins on the JTAG header and there's really no voltage at pin 2.. :)

Checked the schematics and saw the two leds and push buttons WL1,WL2 and SW1,SW2.
When I connect 5v to the 5v jack, I'm getting the WL2 led glowing red and that's all, WL1 is off..
When I'm trying to press SW1 nothing happens..

Any ideas what can it be or maybe I'm doing something wrong?
 
 

Offline tinhead

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Re: Cheap Virtex 5 FPGA Board (actually PrimeSense DevKit better known as Kinect)
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2013, 06:39:21 pm »
Hi Alexey,

shit, i completly forgot, i will first respond to your PMs and then try to reply to your question here .. brb
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 

Offline tinhead

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Re: Cheap Virtex 5 FPGA Board (actually PrimeSense DevKit better known as Kinect)
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2013, 07:02:56 pm »
I've got one of those boards and trying to figure out how to power it on at least..  :)

...

Any ideas what can it be or maybe I'm doing something wrong?

make a picture of your board, from top and bottom, but only from the power supply part (so from the 5V jack to the "Prime Sense Ltd" text). Another user reported board with some missing parts, so it was not powering as well.
I don't want to be human! I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter ...
I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me.
 


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