Alchitry Cu FPGA Development Board (Lattice iCE40 HX)

If you are not needing a lot of power to start your FPGA adventure, or are looking for a more economical option, the Alchitry Cu FPGA Development Board might be the perfect option for you! The Alchitry Cu (Copper) is a "lighter" FPGA version than the Alchitry Au but still offers something completely unique. 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 Cu truly exemplifies 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 and can be developed using entirely open source tools.

The Alchitry Cu uses the Lattice iCE40 HX FPGA with 7680 logic cells and is supported by the open source tool chain Project IceStorm. The Cu possesses 79 IO pins with 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.

By adding stackable expansion boards similar to shields or HATs called "Elements," the Alchitry Cu is able to expand its own hardware capabilities by adding prototyping spaces, buttons, LEDs, and more!

  • Lattice iCE40-HX8K FPGA - 7680 logic elements
  • 79 IO pins (3.3V logic level)
  • USB-C to configure and power the board
  • Eight general purpose LEDs
  • One button (typically used as a reset)
  • 100MHz on-board clock (can be multiplied internally by the FPGA)
  • Powered with 5V through USB-C port, 0.1" holes, or headers
  • USB to serial interface for data transfer (up to 12Mbaud)
  • Dimensions of 65mm x 45mm

Alchitry Cu FPGA Development Board (Lattice iCE40 HX) Product Help and Resources

How Does an FPGA Work?

July 30, 2020

The What, How, Why, and When of Field Programmable Gate Arrays, aka FPGAs

First FPGA Project - Getting Fancy with PWM

July 30, 2020

An initial project using Alchitry's onboard FPGA to manipulate PWM

External IO and Metastability

July 30, 2020

Why external signals can cause metastability and how to use constraint files to manage this

Programming an FPGA

July 30, 2020

Come look at the basics of working with Field Programmable Gate Arrays.

Core Skill: Programming

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.

5 Programming

Skill Level: Expert - You should be extremely comfortable programming on various hardware in several languages.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

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.

2 Electrical Prototyping

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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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #1595303 / about 4 years ago * / 1

    The design of this board and the Alchitry Au board are both not USB compliant. They have the same issue as as the Raspberry Pi 4, which is that they connect the two CC pins together and share a pull-down resistor for both pins. For "dumb" cables and chargers, the pull-down will be detected correctly, but certain devices and cables check if the two CC pins are connected together. This will cause it to be recognized as an audio device in some scenarios. Hackaday has a write-up on this issue for the Raspberry Pi:

Customer Reviews

3 out of 5

Based on 2 ratings:

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2 of 2 found this helpful:

Excellent FPGA

Got this board working with yosys, arachne-pnr and icestorm in ubuntu linux VM. Support is bad and one has to correlate from schematic to pcf file. However, that is no reason for a bad review as the product is well designed and produced. My only suggestion is please stock the mating connectors so that one may design a custom PCB

I have made a video showing how to use Yosys and work with this FPGA:

0 of 1 found this helpful:

Having Trouble Getting Software Licemse

I would LOVE to start developing on this board, but am having extreme trouble getting a license from Lattice for iCE cube 2!

Is there another dev stack?

Sorry to give it only one star, but without a dev stack it is useless to me.

Have you tried the instructions in the getting started guide? If you're still having trouble after following that guide, you might try posting on the Alchitry Forum to see if they can assist you in getting Lattice setup.