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. The Au+ substitutes a more robust & scalable FPGA chip (Xilinx XC7A100T) that allows for more complex application circuits. The number of Configurable logic blocks (LABs/CLBs), Logic Elements, and total RAM bits are all nearly 3x that of the standard Au; see "Features" for more details.
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 will allow your project to grow beyond the typical starting points for FPGAs. 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 XC7A100T FPGA with over 100k 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.
What's different about the Au+?
The Au+ uses a similar Xilinx Artix-7 FPGA IC (same total I/O), but with a more rubust and over 3x scalable architecture that allow for more complex application circuits.
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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