newbie to FPGA

Looking for useful books, articles, and development kits for FPGA development, and perhaps some war stories about coming up to speed on these.


Regards, Bob Monsen

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Robert Monsen
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I'm also a beginner in programming CPLD / FPGA. I can recommend the book "VHDL for programmable Logic" by Kevin Skahill (ISBN: 0-201-89586-2). As first development kit is the Xilinx ISE Webpack very good. It's complet free and easy to use. Check out:

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Hope, that helped you


Dominic Suter

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Dominic Suter

Where are you coming from? Are you a software or hardware guy? Hobby or professional use?

Some useful books/references (sorry, I'm Xilinx/Verilog-centric):

Real World FPGA Design with Verilog by Ken Coffman Verilog Designers Library by Bob Zeidman Verilog HDL Synthesis by Bhasker Verilog HDL Primer by Bhasker

If you can find it in the Xilinx website: "Programmable Logic Design Quickstart Handbook"

The Xilinx education portal can be useful while getting started.

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Get a simply dev board, like the Avnet Virtex II eval board. Spend cubic hours playing with it.

Read the data book for the device you are using.

Print out a pile of application notes and make sure you understand them on paper. Then, if your board will support it, try to implement.

The subject is wide and deep. I'd recommend getting a real tangible sense of what it is all about before considering taking any classes (if that's something you are considering).

One of the toughest things to understand is that logically correct code (no bugs from a software standpoint) is not necessarily equal to a working device.

Pick a simple project and try your hand at it. Start with something as simple as sending the output of an eight bit counter to a set of LED's. Then, using the same design, you might want to explore clocking and clock synthesis options. You might want to then move on to using parts of the same design to also create something like a pulse-width-modulator. These are just some ideas.

One bit of advice probably worth a ton: Don't even bother with chips until you know your simulator intimately. In fact, don't even buy a dev board until you've explored creating and simulating a bunch of little designs. As your designs get larger the realities of current technology are that you'll need to rely on simulation in order to get any productivity out of the process (as well as good design verification, etc.).

These are just a few random points. There's a lot more others can contribute.

Martin Euredjian
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Martin Euredjian

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