BeagleWire

by QWERTY Embedded Design

Fully Open iCE40 FPGA BeagleBone Cape

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$99

BeagleWire

A BeagleWire ICE40 FPGA cape


$162

BeagleWire Deluxe Kit

BeagleWire kit including the ICE40 FPGA cape, BeagleBone black, and preloaded microSD card.


$64

BeagleBone Black

From the Special Items project.

BeagleBoard BeagleBone® Black is a low-cost, community-supported development platform for developers and hobbyists, based on the Sitara AM3358BZCZ100 Arm Cortex-A8 32-Bit RISC microprocessor from Texas Instruments.

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Hackaday

BeagleWire is a completely open source FPGA development board. Unlike most other FPGA dev boards, the BeagleWire’s hardware, software, and FPGA toolchain are completely open source. The BeagleWire is a Beaglebone compatible cape based on the Lattice iCE40HX FPGA. BeagleWire can be easily expanded by adding external modules such as, for example, modules for high speed data acquisition, software-defined radio, or advanced control applications. Using common connectors like Pmod and Grove makes it possible to connect various interesting external modules which are widely available in stores. This makes prototyping new imaginative digital designs easier.

Who Needs It and Why?

BeagleWire caters to open source and open hardware enthusiasts. All of its schematics, software, and examples are totally open. Feel free to use them and share with others. The BeagleWire can be a great learning tool in an educational environment that teaches FPGAs, Verilog, and Linux kernel driver concepts. It allows users to break away from large, proprietary FPGA toolchains by allowing the use of the open source Icestorm toolchain. The IceStorm toolchain is lightweight so it can be installed on various platforms. Users can synthesize their Verilog code on BeagleBone without installing any additional software on their computer. Project Icestorm uses the Yosys synthesis suite and Arachne-PNR to generate programmable bitstreams. BeagleWire integrates closely with the BeagleBone Black and has the backing of the Beagleboard.org community. Thanks to that, a new user can receive help from more experienced members of BeagleBoard.org.

Possible Use Cases

  1. Robotics and automation - Adding a BeagleWire cape to BeagleBoard can significantly expand its capabilities to work on even more advanced projects. It gives users access to additional ports such as i2c, spi, pwm, gpio, etc.
  2. Logic devices prototyping - Many logic devices are tested with FPGA devices before production. For example, interface controllers in silicon are mapped in memory in the same way BeagleWire logic is.
  3. Data acquisition and signal processing.
  4. Mobile applications - Energy saving Lattice ICE40HX4k devices are easily powered with small batteries. Not only that, but BeagleWire is perfectly optimised and has only essential parts, which positively affects its energy consumption.
  5. Education - FPGA evaluation boards are rather expensive. BeagleWire, however, is a low cost solution ideal for beginners. Thanks to BeagleWire, users can learn the Verilog language, combinational and sequential circuits, Linux driver development, and more.
A. Lattice iCE40HX4K - TQFP 144 PackageB. Power section
C. 2x20 BeagleBone P8 ConnectorD. PMOD4
E. PMOD3F. Grove 4
G. Grove 3H. 32 MB SDRAM
I. Grove 2J. 4 MB SPI Flash
K. Grove 1L. PMOD 2
M. 8 KB EEPROMN. 100 MHz Clock Oscillator
O. PMOD 1P. 2x20 BeagleBone P9 Connector
Q. 2 Dip SwitchesR. 4 Blue LEDs
S. 2 Push ButtonsT. Reset Button

Features & Specifications

  • FPGA: Lattice iCE40HX4K - TQFP 144 Package
  • Memory:
    • 32 MB SDRAM
    • 4 MB SPI Flash for FPGA self-configuration
  • Clock: 100 MHz onboard external clock
  • Extensibility:
    • 4 x Pmod connector
    • 4 x Grove connector
    • GPIO
  • User Interfaces:
    • 4 x LED
    • 2 x push button(with hardware noise debouncing)
    • 2 x DIP switch
  • Compatibility: access via GPMC port and SPI
    • BeagleBone Black
    • BeagleBone Black Wireless
    • element14 BeagleBone Black Industrial
  • Operating Voltage: 3.3 V
  • Input Voltage: 5 V from BeagleBone
  • Fully Open Source:
  • Dimensions: 90 mm x 68 mm x 18 mm
  • Weight: 42.5 g

Getting Started Resources

Once you have your BeagleWire, here are some links to get you started:

Comparisons

BeagleWire iCEstickIce ZeroDE0-Nano
FPGALattice iCE40HX-4k Lattice iCE40HX-1kLattice iCE40HX-4kCyclone® IV EP4CE22F17C6N
User Memory32 MB N/A 4 MB 32 MB
Clock100 Mhz 12 Mhz 100 Mhz 50 MHz
Open Source Softwareyes yes yes no
Compatibility with BeagleBoneyes no no no
Extensibility4 x Pmod + 4 x Grove 1 x Pmod 4 x Pmod 2 x 40-pin Headers (GPIOs) + Arduino Connectors
Fast access via GPMC portyes no no yes
Hardware noise debouncing for push buttonsyes N/A N/A no
User Interfaces4 x LED + 2 x push button + 2 x DIP switch 5 x LED 3 x LED 8 x LED + 2 x push button & 4 x DIP switch
Open Source Hardwareyes no yes no
Price99$ 21$ 42$ 79$

Communication with BeagleBone

Communication between BeagleWire and BeagleBone Black is over the GPMC port. This is a simple and efficient solution. The GPMC port has 16 lines width and its maximum clock frequency is 100 Mhz. After installing BeagleWire on BeagleBone, the required Device Tree Overlay is loaded automatically. By using simple components written in Verilog, FPGA logic is mapped to the processor’s external bus, allowing access using simple read and write operations. A Linux driver or an application written in any programming language allows for communication. The BeagleWire software repository contains a lot of ready-to-use solutions and simple examples.

Shipping & Fulfillment

Shipping and fulfillment will be handled by Crowd Supply, which means all units will be shipped from their warehouse in Texas, USA. Please see Crowd Supply’s guide on Ordering, Paying, Shipping: All the Details for more information about delivery, VAT payments, etc.


Credits

QWERTY Embedded Design

We are an open source development advocate that provides firmware, software, and hardware design services ranging from Linux kernel drivers and U-Boot support for new boards, to PCB design and custom FPGA IP blocks.


Michael Welling

Fearless Leader

Patryk Mężydło

PCB Architect and Software Developer


PCBWay

PCBA Manufacturer

GHI Electronics

PCBA Manufacturer

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