by QWERTY Embedded Design

Fully Open ICE40 FPGA BeagleBone Cape

Crowdfunding Page History

This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.

$13,335 raised

of $7,500 goal

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One BeagleWire, open hardware ICE40 FPGA cape.


BeagleWire Deluxe Kit

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


BeagleWire (Early Bird)

One Early Bird BeagleWire, open hardware ICE40 FPGA cape.


Recent Updates

As Featured In

"...iCE40HX FPGA is a popular choice for developers who want to engage in fast logic device prototyping or learn the fundamental of FPGAs without investing in years of training."

Geeky Gadgets

"But unlike most FPGA development boards, the BeagleWire’s hardware, software, and FPGA toolchain are completely open source and based on the Lattice iCE40HX FPGA."

"FPGAs are super cool!"




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 community. Thanks to that, a new user can receive help from more experienced members of

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 Package B. Power section
C. 2x20 BeagleBone P8 Connector D. PMOD4
E. PMOD3 F. Grove 4
G. Grove 3 H. 32 MB SDRAM
I. Grove 2 J. 4 MB SPI Flash
K. Grove 1 L. PMOD 2
M. 8 KB EEPROM N. 100 MHz Clock Oscillator
O. PMOD 1 P. 2x20 BeagleBone P9 Connector
Q. 2 Dip Switches R. 4 Blue LEDs
S. 2 Push Buttons T. 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


BeagleWire iCEstick Ice Zero DE0-Nano
FPGA Lattice iCE40HX-4k Lattice iCE40HX-1k Lattice iCE40HX-4k Cyclone® IV EP4CE22F17C6N
User Memory 32 MB N/A 4 MB 32 MB
Clock 100 Mhz 12 Mhz 100 Mhz 50 MHz
Open Source Software yes yes yes no
Compatibility with BeagleBone yes no no no
Extensibility 4 x Pmod + 4 x Grove 1 x Pmod 4 x Pmod 2 x 40-pin Headers (GPIOs) + Arduino Connectors
Fast access via GPMC port yes no no yes
Hardware noise debouncing for push buttons yes N/A N/A no
User Interfaces 4 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 Hardware yes no yes no
Price 75$ 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.

Manufacturing Plan

The PCB will be assembled using a turn-key manufacturer following the successful conclusion campaign. We expect a lead time of four to six weeks from the close of the campaign until delivery.

Parts List

Digi-Key Part # Quantity Description
296-13010-1-ND 1 IC INVERTER DUAL SHMT-T SOT-23-6
MCP1826S-1202E/DB-ND 1 IC REG LINEAR 1.2V 1A SOT223-3
MCP1826S-3302E/DB-ND 1 IC REG LINEAR 3.3V 1A SOT223-3
220-1572-ND 1 IC FPGA 107 I/O 144TQFP
706-1419-5-ND 1 IC SDRAM 256MBIT 143MHZ 54TSOP
535-11203-1-ND 1 OSC MEMS 100.000MHZ CMOS SMD
475-2816-1-ND 4 LED BLUE DIFFUSED 0603 SMD
641-1332-1-ND 1 DIODE SCHOTTKY 20V 500MA 0603
1597-1082-ND 4 GROVE 2MM 4PIN CONN 10PACK
311-1237-1-ND 23 CAP CER 0.1UF 10V X7R 0603
587-3410-1-ND 17 CAP CER 1UF 10V X7R 0603
587-1441-1-ND 4 CAP CER 4.7UF 10V X5R 0603
311-1782-1-ND 2 CAP CER 10UF 10V X5R 0603
311-10KJRCT-ND 8 RES SMD 10K OHM 5% 1/16W 0402
311-240JRCT-ND 4 RES SMD 240 OHM 5% 1/16W 0402
311-4.7KJRCT-ND 9 RES SMD 4.7K OHM 5% 1/16W 0402
311-100LRCT-ND 5 RES SMD 100 OHM 1% 1/16W 0402
311-220JRCT-ND 1 RES SMD 220 OHM 5% 1/16W 0402

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Shipping & Fulfillment

Shipping and fulfillment will be handled by Crowd Supply, which means all units will be shipped from their warehouse in Portland, Oregon USA. To learn more about how Crowd Supply ships orders, please visit our Guide.

Risks & Challenges

To date, we have completed three functional BeagleWire prototypes. We feel that most of the design risks have been minimized. After hand assembling the first PCBs, we developed Linux software and verilog IP as a product of the 2017 Google Summer of Code and under the mentorship of In the process of initial software development, we corrected all of the PCB bugs we could find. However, it’s always possible another bug could surface and cause a production delay. We will immediately and clearly notify backers of any discovered risks or delays to the project.


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


PCB Manufacturer

GHI Electronics

PCBA Manufacturer

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