The SparkFun RED-V (pronounced “red-five”) RedBoard is a low-cost, development board featuring the Freedom E310 SoC which brings with it the RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA). What sets the RED-V RedBoard apart from the rest is the completely open-source approach from hardware to ISA. That means anyone can make full use the microcontroller without requiring royalties, licenses, or non-disclosure agreements.
The RED-V RedBoard comes in the familiar Arduino Uno R3 form factor and includes the SiFive Freedom E310 core, 32MB of QSPI flash, an NXP K22 ARM Cortex-M4 for USB connectivity and operating as a JTAG interface, and a Qwiic connector to make future I2C offerings easy*. The modern USB-C connector makes it easy to program and for more advanced users who prefer to use the power and speed of professional tools, we've also exposed the JTAG connector. Additionally, it comes programmed with a simple bootloader making the RED-V the best way to start prototyping and developing your RISC‑V applications.
The on board Freedom E310 (FE310) is the first member of the Freedom Everywhere family of customizable SoCs from SiFive. Designed for microcontroller, embedded, IoT, and wearable applications, the FE310 features SiFive’s E31 CPU Coreplex, a high-performance, 32-bit RV32IMAC core. Capable of running at 150MHz, the FE310 is among the fastest microcontrollers in the market. Additional features include a 16KB L1 Instruction Cache, a 16KB Data SRAM scratchpad, hardware multiply/divide, a debug module, flexible clock generation with on-chip oscillators and PLLs, and a wide variety of peripherals including UARTs, QSPI, PWMs, and timers. Multiple power domains and a low-power standby mode ensure a wide variety of applications can benefit from the FE310. The RED-V requires Freedom Studio software or a Zephyr RTOS build environment set up to program the board and interface with it.
Note: Please be aware that Qwiic Libraries are not yet available for the Freedom Studio SDK or the Zephyr environment that runs on the FE310. We will continue to update the community as these become available.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Expert - You should be extremely comfortable programming on various hardware in several languages.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 2 ratings:
Amazing to have ready access to a sifive 32-bit chip. I am just getting started with risc-v, and this is a great learning platform.
This is not a replacement for ARM or AVR micros... library support is still very limited. But it supports the tool chain and thus provides access to the ISA.
Go for it. At this price it’s a no brainer. I recommend Anthony J Dos Reis’s book on risc-v assembly as a companion to the board.
The RED-V features a SiFive FE310 and a Segger JTAG interface. I downloaded the turnkey IDE from SiFive and was running "hello world" in a matter of minutes. If you are an early purchaser, your RED-V may have a wrong R8 value; SparkFun has provided an updated RED-V to correct this, as well as directions on how to re-work R8 on your first RED-V. The impact of incorrect R8 is the PLL clock will not run - but the board defaults to 16MHz crystal oscillator so this may not be a problem.
RED-V includes a 32.768kHz oscillator for the FE310 RTC which just works when enabled.
USB-C might be a little odd for some users but all you need is a cable if you don't already have one.
The FE310 is not a mixed-signal chip - it provides a good amount of I/O but if you need an ADC or DAC, you'll need to connect that via the expansion connectors.