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FPGA starter kits speeds product development

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsemi? FPGA starter kit? SmartFusion2? RaLink 5370? uClinux?

Microsemi Corp. has released its SmartFusion2 Starter Kit that according to the company gives designers basic prototyping platform for the company's SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs. The company also said the kit supports industry-standard interfaces such as Ethernet, USB, SPI, I2C and UART and includes a comprehensive breadboard to support unique design requirements.

The kit can be used with Microsemi's Libero SoC v11.0 beta software, which includes a free Libero Gold licence and comes preloaded with a uClinux demo. By using the included USB WiFi adapter, the kit has support for RaLink 5370 USB wireless radios, allowing uClinux to setup a wireless access point that serves DHCP WiFi connections.

Users can start a HTTPD server and then access the SmartFusion2 device via a smart phone web browser or other wireless device. Emcraft Systems' Linux-based development environment is also supported. The SmartFusion2 device is available on an Emcraft Systems miniature (34 x 59mm) mezzanine form factor system-on-module (M2S-SOM), which connects to the SOM-BSB-EXT baseboard.

The kit is USB powered, includes FlashPro4 programming and comes in FG896 package (M2S050T-FG896ES). It also features 10/100 Ethernet interface and RJ-45 connector, USB OTG interface and mini-USB connector, and USB based WiFi module. The kit boasts 64MB LPDDR, 16MB SPI flash and user push-button connected to GPIO on the SOM. It also includes two user-controlled LEDs connected to GPIO on the SOM, and breadboard area that is available for GPIO or FPGA I/O connection.

The SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA starter kit touts a reset push button, reset-out LED and depending on the design, can provide necessary power supply voltages (5V, 3.3V, 1.5V for power-optimised SOM operation) from external sources through dedicated pads on the breadboard.

Microsemi's next-generation SmartFusion2 SoC FPGAs are geared to address fundamental requirements for advanced security, high reliability and low power in critical communications, defence, aviation, and industrial and medical applications. SmartFusion2 integrates inherently reliable flash-based FPGA fabric, a 166MHz ARM Cortex-M3 processor, advanced security processing accelerators, DSP blocks, SRAM, eNVM and industry-required high-performance communication interfaces all on a single chip.

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