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The DE0 Nano 2 x 13 Way Mixed Signal Dilettante Expansion Board (1) is here

Posted by on in Dilettante Boards and Modules
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We have finally received the prototype PCBs, see Figure above, of the first product in our new Dilettante Boards and Modules range, which are designed to extend the usefulness of FPGA development boards and starter kits. It is hereby officially introduced the 2 x 13 Mixed Signal Dilettante Board, which has been specifically designed as an expansion board for the DE0 Nano Development and Education Kit. A brief description of the board is provided next with a detailed description to be provided soon, including how to get one, in the product section. 

The board will be available as:

  1. A bare printed circuit board
  2. As a kit requiring average soldering skills.
  3. Pre-assembled with, optionally, either an Arduino RS232 shield or an FTDI FT232RL compatible breakout module.

Here are the board's characteristics and some of the things it can be used to do:

  • The 2 x 13 way header's digital signals are directly connected  to a prototyping area and onto the Dilettante solderless breadboard fingers. 
  • When the prototyping area's signal traces are cut in half the area can host a solderless mini breadboard. One side of the mini breadboard then connects to the digital signals from the 2x13 way header, the other side to the Dilettante breadboard fingers. 
  • When the prototyping area, which has power sources from the 2 x 13 way header and an external power supply, is used to host a solderless mini breadboard, the breadboard can be populated with Dilettante modules, which include DACs, voltage level translators and waveform generators amongst others.
  • The 2 x 13 way header's ADC analog inputs are directly connected to the Dilettante solderless breadboard fingers, which allows the  rapid prototyping of ADC  signal conditioning circuits on an external breadboard.
  • Two BNC connectors are wired to the Dilettante breadboard fingers and a third is multiplexed between an IO pin on the 2 x 13 way header and a breadboard finger. This allows easily connecting an oscilloscope to aid debugging prototype circuits synchronised to the FPGA or an external clock source.
  • A SMA connector  provides  an external clock source input, to the 2 x 13 way header and hence a FPGA clock source.
  • The board has an Arduino shield carrier area with only the RS232 RX and TX signals connected to the 2 x 13 way header. This area allows an Arduino shield, which does not use the serial port signals, to be connect to the 2 x 13 way header's digital and analog signals using wires connected to the prototyping area or Dilettante breadboard fingers.
  • It also provides a breakout board area, compatible with the FTDI FT232RL breakout module, but with only the RX and TX signals connected.
The next stages in the development cycle are to populate the prototypes and test the individual areas before approving the design for production. Stay tuned.
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