The Alchitry Au is the "gold" standard for FPGA development boards and it's possibly one of the strongest boards of its type on the market. FPGAs, or Field-Programmable Gate Arrays, are an advanced development board type for engineers and hobbyists alike to experience the next step in programming with electronics. The Au continues the trend of more affordable and increasingly powerful FPGA boards arriving each year. This board is a fantastic starting point into the world of FPGAs and the heart of your next project. Finally, now that this board is built by SparkFun, we added a Qwiic connector for easy I2C integration!
The Alchitry Au features a Xilinx Artix 7 XC7A35T-1C FPGA with over 33,000 logic cells and 256MB of DDR3 RAM. The Au offers 102 3.3V logic level IO pins, 20 of which can be switched to 1.8V; Nine differential analog inputs; Eight general purpose LEDs; a 100MHz on-board clock that can be manipulated internally by the FPGA; a USB-C connector to configure and power the board; and a USB to serial interface for data transfer. To make getting started even easier, all Alchitry boards have full Lucid support, a built in library of useful components to use in your project, and a debugger!
By adding stackable expansion boards similar to shields or HATs called "Elements," the Alchitry Au is able to expand its own hardware capabilities by adding prototyping spaces, buttons, LEDs, and more!
The SparkFun Qwiic Connect System is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.
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 6 ratings:
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I just started to learn FPGA which is completely different than microcontroller and little hard . but the board is small and connected by usb to make life little easier very good board but io element shield has little buttons it requires strong press to function I would like to change that in future revision.
I got the AU and CU version of the board I have to say its very well built little FPGA board, I don't have a lot of experience working with FPGA, so when I tried to get into it I hated the traditional FPGA boards often offered (usually big and require a programmer) Alchitry AU is definitely not the best FPGA board out there, but it is small, easy to use and for a beginner the expansion board is enough to get you started.
Easy-ish to use. Examples are mostly for older Mojo board, but translate pretty easily. I added a java lib to more easily a create a java-based host application with gradle dependency management to communicate over USB serial via the register interface.
Advice: buy the Learning FPGAs book by Rajewski and read it while you are waiting on the Vivado tooling to download ;-)
I don't think there is a faster way to learn about FPGA's
Very Good tool, good price, good quality, easy to use (if you already know something about FPGA). you can easily embed it to you design.
I'm teaching an intro to arduino course with a couple of kiddos who were already quite proficient. I set them up with Alchitry AU board and showed them where to get software. They've blown me away already with what they've been able to do as they just learn the basics. Relatively low floor, incredibly high ceiling!
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If you want to code VHDL for this board, I have a starter example at: https://github.com/chuckb/alchitry-au-fusesoc
The IO Element board is nearly impossible to use due to the tiny switches, that can only be flipped with teensy-tiny tools and magnifying eyesight. The Alchitry Labs IDE installer will not run on my Windows 10 machine and complains of a JRE version less than 8, when I have openjdk 11 installed. I have a message out to Alchitry Labs and am awaiting response. So far, a less than inspiring experience...
Version 1.2.1 of the Alchitry Labs did not work for me, but 1.2.4 beta did install...
I'm very disappointed with this product line so far -- the QA is terrible! A diode fell off the AU board as I pulled it out of the bag, and several pins on Br board had pins shorted with solder bridges. I never even got to power the boards up!
We are sorry to hear that your new Alchitry board is exhibiting QC issues and we appreciate you bringing this to our attention. Please simply submit a return ticket and our excellent customer service team will take care of this issue right away: https://www.sparkfun.com/returns
We hope to get a working part in your hands soon!
I got the new boards promptly, and have been having great fun with them. Thanks!
To echo the the person below, please develop new board(s) with HDMI, SMA or SMP, and micro SD connectors!
Another product idea: a set of spacer strips, to increase the distance between an Io board at the top and a Br board below. This would let us use a Br board with connectors soldered on together with an Io board. It might also be a way to salvage defective Br boards -- just cut them up and sell the side that works.
Will more 'Element Boards' be available soon? I'm hoping an HDMI one.
Hi, I created for hobbyist and fans of AU this board: https://www.retrocomp.cz/produkt?id=71
Currently, Alchitry doesn't have one available. They do have an contact page if you would like to express further interest in an HDMI board.
(*I am not working on that project; however, I think they currently are working to fine tune the production and testing process for the available boards.)