It's almost as if the script that Greg Davill uses to randomly name his projects is offering a satirical take on the recent, unfortunate series of bushfires in Australia. The ArcticKoala name will stick with you, if just for it's diametrically opposed constituent parts.
With the name out of the way, let's dig in and see what's on offer from the talented Davill this time!
In effect, it's a nicely designed breakout board for the new hotness that is the Lattice Semiconductor CrossLink-NX FPGA, announced a mere week before Davill released his board.
1 week. From product release, to finishedboard. Not just a schematic. Not laid out, but fully assembled and blinking!
Let that sink in. We joke that Davill is actually a series of talented people in a trench coat, but he really can turn out a board of this quality, with minimal modifications needed to rev1, in a week.
Speaking of mods — you could be forgiven for thinking he is merely human, just look at this, in line resistor mods?!
Oh, wait... This is Davill, which means those parts are likely to be 0102 or something in that bracket. You'd be hard pushed to casually spot them in-situ in the shot below!
"It's a quick breakout board for the new Lattice CrossLink-fNX series parts".
No, seriously. It's a breakout board, for all intents and purposes.
It just happens that the level of rigor and execution in not only the design, but also the build are well above and beyond the levels most of us would through at a BoB.
But, it's also an FPGA, so there needs to be a level technical competency in such a design, even if it's something "low-end", like the Lattice parts (Sorry Lattice, but it ain't no Kintex...!).
You might notice a vague similarity between this board, and some other FPGA based tools of late; namely the iCEBreaker ICE40-UP5K board. Well, with such short time to pull this off, Davill has built this project from some of the sources of iCEBreaker; this isn't a criticism, more a shining example of putting the famous quote
- Lattice Semiconductor LIFCL-40 CrossLink FPGA
- FTDI FT2232 USB - Serial bridge
- Winbond 25Q128 128Mbit Flash memory (for configuration bitstreams)
- 3X Pmod extension headers, 1X MIPI extension header
As always with Davill, he's tweeted most of the stages in the bring up of the board, and in glorious hi-res imagery no less. Have you ever seen a board look so good, wearing only solder paste?
I'm never sure as to whether or not I'm meant to be writing about the board, or the images of it when it comes to Davill. The photography alone is worthy of commentary in itself.
GitHub Repo: https://github.com/gregdavill/ArcticKoala
Follow Davill on Twitter for more beautifully photographed project updates!