FPGA based expansion for the PandaBoard

The goal of this project is to develop and build an expansion board for the PandaBoard based on FPGA technology.

An FPGA allows to build a very flexible expansion for an ARM based SoC. It's high count of programmable I/O pins combined with the option to create custom hardware blocks inside the configurable logic offer numerous possibilities.
While the Beagle Board only allows for SPI style peripherals inside an FPGA extension, the Panda Board offers the possibility to extend the system bus into the configurable logic, giving the developer much more flexibility and freedom with respect to transfer speed, complexity and number peripherals as well as easier software access because of the direct memory mapping.

Planned features for the expansion board

  • expansion board can be attached to top or bottom side of PandaBoard
  • FPGA connected to the 16 data/address lines exposed on the Panda Board expansion header
  • remaining pins of the FPGA routed to pin headers on the expansion board
  • configuration of the FPGA via SPI from within Linux or from serial flash (no need for JTAG cable)
  • no BGA parts, so hobbyists can build the board
  • if possible only two layers for the PCB
  • everything build using Open Source tools where possible (FPGA synthesis will be an exception)
  • more to come ...
Project website: 
http://pandaboard.it-web.info

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