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Hey everybody!

Taught myself just enough Verilog to be dangerous from 2013-2015 or so.  Wrote a bunch of (boring) articles for a now-defunct trade site (absorbed into EETimes) about the process.

Some of that stuff might still be available if you're lucky enough to find it.

Did most of my learning on Opal Kelly XEM3005 - which I gotta say is an *excellent* platform (get yourself a breakout board, tho).

I've started doing some stuff with Digilent devices a couple years ago, but haven't had any real opportunity to dig in to the "new" Arty or Zynq-based boards.

So sitting around my home "lab," I've got a few Opal Kelly boards (XEM3001, XEM3005, and a couple others) - I love the FrontPanel system they've developed.

I've also got an Arty (35T) and now a Cora (low-end Zedboard), and I'm itching to learn some stuff there.

I also do a fair amount of bare-metal embedded when I need to (e.g. Atmel/Microchip microcontrollers), and have also recently been doing some stuff with embedded Linux on the pi platform.

 

Lastly, let's talk about the registration process.  Jimminy Christmas, it took me and another engineer 8 tries to get validated!  Holy cow, am I st00pid, or what?

 

     -Tom

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@tomii,

Welcome to the land of Digilent.

I like Opal Kelly's software development support too. I like having lot's of IO available. You'll find Digilent's price point a lot friendlier to those of us with small budgets. You'll find that those pre-Series7 based boards are no good with Vivado. Hopefully, you still have a rig with ISE installed.

As to where to start, I can offer an opinion. If you want to be more on the useful end than dangerous end with your Verilog skills the non-ARM equipped boards are where to start. You'll find that the Digilent boards are a bit short on user IO if you don't want to buy PMOD modules; but I've put many a Digilent board to use doing useful stuff. One reason to start with the ARTY is that it's easy to do all HDL designs that mostly survive VIvado versions releases ( Vivado 2019.1 seems to be the exception). Once you are comfortable with the design, development, and simulation tools for Verilog only projects moving to the ARM-based framework will be easier... though there are a lot more moving parts to juggle. All of Xilinx's software development tools have been rolled up into Vitas starting with Vivado 2019.2 so that would be the version to start with. Hope you have a broadband internet connection. I don't so I'm waiting for a good 3-4 days to try and download it to see what's changed. But seriously, a very low percentage of projects that I do have any kind of programmable processor in it which makes them easy to maintain.

Digilent has announced an ARM-based SYZYGY compatible board. This will be a major improvement for IO connectivity. I just wish that they started with a non ARM-based device. SYZYGY is Opal Kelly's concept and brings a level of plug and Play to the FPGA development board space. But this is for advanced projects. I would have like to see a new PMOD standard that was as well thought out ( without the P&P feature ) but that doesn't seem to be likely in the near future (Sigh!)

One great thing about Digilent is their user community support efforts.

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On 11/25/2019 at 3:31 PM, zygot said:

@tomii,

Welcome to the land of Digilent.

I like Opal Kelly's software development support too. I like having lot's of IO available. You'll find Digilent's price point a lot friendlier to those of us with small budgets. You'll find that those pre-Series7 based boards are no good with Vivado. Hopefully, you still have a rig with ISE installed.

As to where to start, I can offer an opinion. If you want to be more on the useful end than dangerous end with your Verilog skills the non-ARM equipped boards are where to start. You'll find that the Digilent boards are a bit short on user IO if you don't want to buy PMOD modules; but I've put many a Digilent board to use doing useful stuff. One reason to start with the ARTY is that it's easy to do all HDL designs that mostly survive VIvado versions releases ( Vivado 2019.1 seems to be the exception). Once you are comfortable with the design, development, and simulation tools for Verilog only projects moving to the ARM-based framework will be easier... though there are a lot more moving parts to juggle. All of Xilinx's software development tools have been rolled up into Vitas starting with Vivado 2019.2 so that would be the version to start with. Hope you have a broadband internet connection. I don't so I'm waiting for a good 3-4 days to try and download it to see what's changed. But seriously, a very low percentage of projects that I do have any kind of programmable processor in it which makes them easy to maintain.

Digilent has announced an ARM-based SYZYGY compatible board. This will be a major improvement for IO connectivity. I just wish that they started with a non ARM-based device. SYZYGY is Opal Kelly's concept and brings a level of plug and Play to the FPGA development board space. But this is for advanced projects. I would have like to see a new PMOD standard that was as well thought out ( without the P&P feature ) but that doesn't seem to be likely in the near future (Sigh!)

One great thing about Digilent is their user community support efforts.

Thanks for the welcome and the advice.  I grabbed the Zynq board, as we'll probably be using them at work on a project soon, so I figured it was time I took it for a spin.  I've made it most of the way through "The Zynq Book" and its tutorials (I've not actually pushed them into HW, yet)..

I'm trying to interface a couple of PMODs to one of my Opal Kelly boards right now, and it's giving me fits.  I swear I kind of recall seeing this problem once upon a time, but can't for the life of me figure it out - and my Google foo is no bueno on it.  Regardless, I'm sure I'll eventually work it out, hopefully sooner rather than later ;)

I looked in to those SYZYGY boards...  I liked what I saw, but the price point on those bad boys...  Too much for my wallet for now!

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