The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

October 26, 2013

Pano Logic Updates from the UK

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 10:07 am

A few weeks ago, I shipped one of my pano-logic clients to a fellow in the UK named Tim. These neat devices are hard to get over there. Tim’s intent is to do further work figuring out how to utilize the FPGA and parts on the G1 client. I’m posting his latest update as a copy-and-paste from his email. I’ve formatted the links.
Tim’s pano-logic updates

August 17, 2013

More Reverse Engineering of the Panologic Thin Client G1

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics,Pano Logic — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:11 pm

I’ve been working on figuring out how to use my pano logic client as an FPGA dev board. Today I will detail the pin commections for the SPI flash, the Wolfson audio chip, and that partially identified Micron memory chip.
memory and audio details

July 21, 2013

Exploiting the FPGA in the Pano Logic Zero Client

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics,Pano Logic — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:58 pm

I’ve managed to find some useful I/O and program the FPGA on my new (to me) Pano Logic Zero Clients. Below are the steps you could take to start working on these cheap but large FPGAs. I assume that you are facile with Xilinx ISE and have a jtag cable which works with either impact or adept2.
cheap FPGAs Woohoo

July 20, 2013

In Search of FPGAs or Pano Logic Generation 1 Teardown

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics,Pano Logic — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:44 pm

In my general search for fpga’s and devices I might use for SDR projects, I came across a hackaday article on the topic. The comments on the topic are promising, so I went ahead and started looking for a Pano Logic Zero Client. I didn’t just find one. I found ten for $50 on ebay! These are the generation 1 version. It turns out that this is probably a better choice for me anyway. The generation 2 has an enormous Spartan-6 LX150 which is nice, but ISE webpack isn’t licensed to program it. The gen 1 has a Spartan 3E XC3S1600E. This is still a large (by my standards) fpga and the webpack license will program it fine. See below the fold for a teardown and some details.
The Fold

December 15, 2012

Xilinx 14.3 tools on ubuntu 12.10 (Oh, the pain)

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:50 am

As Xilinx support reps say in the tools forums, That OS is not supported by Xilinx tools. Please consider using a supported operating system. Well, I’m comfortable with my development environment, so I went ahead and suffered through making ISE work on Ubuntu. Below are some of my collected notes and links.
Xilinx tools on Ubuntu

November 28, 2012

My Zedboard has Arrived!

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:37 pm

The Zedboard is a full featured development board for the new Xilinx Zynq chip. The board has a lot of peripherals to show off the Zynq chip. I’m interested in the board for the large gate count FPGA (80K plus logic units) married to the dual arm cores. I’m not an expert, but this product looks like it could be the base for disruptive technologies.

What fun projects are waiting for me inside?

November 24, 2012

Digital Design Books.

Filed under: digital logic — Cranky Sysadmin @ 2:52 pm

FPGA Prototyping by Verilog Examples and Digital McLogic Design (Look to the bottom of the linked page) are both well written texts covering digital design. If you know some digital logic and want to get into FPGA prototyping quickly, the first text is great. It assumes that you know the basics. The second text is 850 pages of instruction walking someone with no digital background through the basics. I’m not classically educated, so several of the chapters (on boolean algebra and binary math for instance) helped me fill in my gaps. I made the mistake of buying both FPGA Prototyping by Verilog Examples and … by VHDL Examples. They cover the same material in different languages, so I suggest getting one and finding another text to learn the other language.

October 27, 2012

What’s an FPGA and Why Would I Want One?

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 12:28 pm

I recently became interested in FPGA’s because I want to continue my learning about digital electronics. It turns out that there are more reasons to like FPGA’s though. An FPGA is a “Field Programmable Gate Array”. Basically, you can program an FPGA to be whatever digital circuit you want. There aren’t any analog components in an FPGA (as far as I know), so you’ll probably still have some work outside the FPGA to interface with the real world.
Read on for more on FPGA’s

October 18, 2012

Xilinx ISE 14.2 on Ubuntu 12.04

Filed under: digital logic,Electronics — Cranky Sysadmin @ 7:19 pm

I’ve been getting familiar with FPGA’s (Field Programmable Gate Array). In one sentence, they are a chip that you program what to be instead of what to do. I bought a Papilio One FPGA development board and a LogicStart daughter card (called a megawing) so I could get started learning. Go to GadgetFactory if you’re interested. One of the first steps on the computer is installing Xilinx ISE so I can program the FPGA. I transcribed my scrawled note after the fold.
The pain of Xilinx ISE on Ubuntu

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