Hackaday Prize Entry: FPGAs For The Raspberry Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi is the Arduino of 2016, and that means shields, hats, add-ons, and other fun toys that can be plugged right into the GPIO pins of a Pi. For this year’s Hackaday Prize, [Valentin] is combining the Pi with the next age of homebrew computation. He’s developed the Flea Ohm, an FPGA backpack or hat for the Pi Zero.

The Flea Ohm is based on Lattice’s ECP5 FPGA featuring 24k LUTs and 112kB BRAM. That’s enough for some relatively interesting applications, but the real fun comes from the added 32MB or 128MB of SDRAM, a micro SD card slot, USB + PS/2 host port and an LVDS output.

The combination of Raspberry Pis and FPGAs are extremely interesting and seem to be one of the best FPGA learning platforms anyone can imagine. Another Hackaday Prize entry, the ZinqBerry does a similar trick, but instead of a Pi hat, the ZinqBerry drops a Xilinx Zynq with an FPGA and ARM Cortex A9 core onto a board with Ethernet, HDMI, and USB.

If it’s a Flea or a Zinq, the age of FPGA’d Raspberry Pis is quickly approaching, and hopefully we’ll see them as finalists in the Hackaday Prize. You can check out a video of the Flea Ohm below.

13 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: FPGAs For The Raspberry Pi Zero

      1. Depends on your definitions of cheap and non-trivial. Chinese FPGA dev boards with DRAM, VGA ports etc can be had for about $40. They come with only about 6K of LE for that price. For $99 you can get a Cyclone V SE with twin 900MHz ARM cores, 1GB of SDRAM, 45K of LE etc.

      2. Hello! I just wanted to add a comment not included in the above article. Assuming my “Ohm” board goes into production I will be aiming for sub-$40 ballpark pricing for the baseline Ohm w/32MB SDRAM board (currently working out the details for this at the moment :-). Cheers.

      3. I did a breakout board a while ago for the ProASIC3 FPGA. The part I’m using cost 8$. The nice thing about this FPGA is that it is flash based, so the part count required is really small to get it to work. It is pretty small though, so you cannot use it for something nontrivial :P

        a href=”https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/kwEpN0iP

  1. Brian: Uhh. I’m pretty sure this isn’t intended to be a backpack/HAT for the RPi Zero. This is a FPGA board that is just the same form factor as the RPi Zero with a similar expansion header pinout. I’ve not watched the video though as I’m at work so I may be completely wrong *shrug*

    1. Hello! Yeah I agree, slight correction called for there. My “Ohm” board was designed to function either as a baseboard or accessory hat for the pi(zero). In ‘baseboard’ mode, one can then access the on-board four ADC inputs and eight LVDS pairs via the raspi-compatible GPIO header. Cheers.

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