Parallel ATA/Spartan 3 starter board / Student Project


I'm getting a bachelors in Computer Engineering, and as a side project I would like to build a Spartan3 parallel ATA-3 (ide) interface. I've downloaded a copy of the ATA-3 specs (since this is free (and deprecated!)) and have an old hdd lying around. Looking at the voltage differences between the Spartan3 and the IDE interface, it is my guess that I don't need to do any fancy voltage level adjustments, just put 10 Ohm resistors in the path for unidirectional lines, and 100 Ohm resistors for the bi-directional lines.

Does anyone have any helpful comments on this? I've tried google, and I came across a company who had a ATA interface (though their board was different, Spartan II as well) and that is all they (appeared) to have, this makes sense to me.

Also, I will be starting a senior design project soon. My primary goal when I graduate is to move in to embedded devices/FPGA's. What would be a good senior project (from the employers perspective) and what should I have on my resume' to make me stand out (beside the VFW, 2nd bach part I already have ;) ).

Thank you in advance. Rob Elsner

Reply to
Rob Elsner
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Hi Rob,

I hooked an old HDD to an Altera Cyclone without any resistors to write/port an IDE interface myself. This took about three days to do, and both the Cyclone and the HDD survived this period. But, I have no experience with Spartan, so your mileage may vary.

I'd say, do something with System-on-a-chip stuff. From my perspective this would be using an an embedded processor plus custom logic/custom instructions in VHDL or Verilog to do something useful in the DSP arena, like decoding MP3 audio from a hard disk and filtering out the voice during playback (for karaoke or music annotation).

If you go for this, make sure you don't quite finish the project - you'll be worth a lot if you can state in your job interview that you can properly implement this functionality now that you've learned from your past experiences.

Best regards,


Reply to
Ben Twijnstra

Have you considered the OCIDEC (OpenCores IDE Controller) project. This may be usefull reference if you want to do this for the sake of experience. I personally have not used this core but I think it might be worth something.

You may want to check out the other IDE MP3 player projects out there for some clues. I know of at least one that uses a PIC and a CD-ROM drive.

Good Hunting

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