Programmable Logic: Build Yourself a CPLD Module

A Complex Programmable Logic Device (CPLD) is a great piece of hardware to have in your repertoire. As its name implies, you can program these chips to serve the logic functions you need. This might be replacing an obsolete chip, or maybe just a way to learn and try different techniques. What better way to learn than to get your hands on a CPLD and give it a try?

I created a CPLD module with the intent of being able to plug it into lots of things including solderless breadboards, but I screwed up. It seems that the plugin space available on a solderless breadboard is 1.1”, I had made the footprint 1” wide leaving no room for a row of wires on both sides. Duh.

But let me back up and show more about what I’m doing , I wanted to make a programmable piece of logic that could be built as a kit one could easily solder at home, could be programmed in-circuit, and could work at 3.3 or 5 volts.

Image5bTo implement an easily solderable kit I went with an older CPLD part that also has 3.3v and 5v versions that will maintain its programming regardless of power. The logic itself is a CPLD IC from the Altera Max family with two versions that fit the board with either 32 or 64 macrocells. A macrocell is the basic logic building block and it is programmed with logic “terms” and then interconnected to other macrocells through a programmable interconnect.

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Why You Need to Be at the Hackaday SuperConference

Hackaday’s first ever SuperConference is November 14th and 15th. Imagine a hardware conference that’s actually about hardware creation, packed with the most talented people – both as attendees and presenters. We are taking over Dogpatch Studios in San Francisco for the event that’s sure to change your engineering life. Apply Now for your tickets.

This isn’t hype. Our excitement is well founded, and especially so in this case. Here’s why:

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SuperCon Presenters Revealed

When we announced the Hackaday SuperConference earlier this week we weren’t able to mention any presenters; the call for proposals to this epic hardware conference was still open. Now that the proposals are in we have been poring over them and starting to send acceptance notifications. Just a few of the notable presenters who have already confirmed are listed below. This is more than enough to get the excitement started but we will of course announce more in the coming days.

Check out the amazing space we’ve booked at Dogpatch Studios. It is perfect for the non-stop, high-throughput schedule that has been assembled. There will be one speaking track for talks that spans the entire weekend, while multiple concurrent workshops are held on the other floor of the venue. The evening party will kick off with the announcement of the 2015 Hackaday Prize winner, and the winner of Best Product.

Head over and apply now to attend the two-day SuperCon in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th. This list of amazing people and topics is just a taste of over thirty talks and workshops going on at the hardware conference you’ve been waiting for.

Shanni R. Prutchi  | Construction of an Entangled Photon Source for Experimenting with Quantum Technologies

Sprite_TM | Implementing the Tamagotchi Singularity

Michael Ossmann | Simple RF Circuit Design Workshop

Fran Blanche | Fun and Relevance of Antiquated Technology

Paul Stoffregen | Advanced Microcontroller-Based Audio Workshop

Noah Feehan | Making in Public

Sarah Petkus | NoodleFeet: Building a Robot as Art

Minas Liarokapis | OpenBionics

Luke Iseman | Starting a Hardware Startup

Dozens more to come.

Download the SuperCon poster and hang it everywhere. Share the @hackaday #SuperCon.  Do it now.

Hackaday SuperConference — Apply Now to Attend

In the beginning there were simple circuits, and it was good. Our technology has advanced, our hardware prowess must advance in kind. The Hackaday SuperConference is the hardware con you’ve been waiting for. Experience spectacular presentations that move hardware creation forward while being surrounded by inspired hackers, designers, and engineers.

There are numerous serious professionals in the Hackaday Community pulling off amazing things that easily rank as world-class. It’s time to assemble our talent and spread those skills to others looking to grow their own repertoire. This is practical, hands-on learning. Many of the sessions will be workshops where you will manipulate registers and send solder smoke skyward.

Apply to Attend the Hackaday SuperConference

The Hackaday SuperCon is in San Francisco, November 14th and 15th. There is limited capacity. You must apply to be part of something this amazing. Do it now and unlock the early adopter rate of $64. Over the coming days that price will rise to $256. That’s assuming there are any tickets left after today. Those who want to hedge their bets should also apply as a volunteer.

You could procrastinate. You could let this one pass you by. But we know you’re like us and you’ve been disappointed by the lack of real hardware talks and workshops at conferences. The SuperCon is created for hardware. Your wait for something special is over.

We are still accepting proposals to present a talk or workshop at the SuperCon. Submit your proposal by this Wednesday. Travel stipends are available for outstanding proposals.

Download the SuperCon poster and hang it everywhere. Share the @hackaday #SuperCon.  Do it now.

Hackaday SuperConference Call for Proposal

We’ve been keeping pretty quiet about the Hackaday SuperConference, but rest assured a full-blown announcement is on the way soon. For now we need your help getting the word out to presenters. Do you have a favorite hardware designer, hacker, or project? Get to work convincing them to Submit a Talk or Workshop proposal for the Hackaday SuperConference. Of course if you yourself fall into one of these categories, consider this your invitation to submit! Proposals are due October 10th.

The Hackaday SuperConference is the hardware con you’ve been waiting for. The two-day event will be held in San Francisco on November 14th and 15th. It features workshops and talks on hardware creation with topics like hardware engineering, creativity in technical design, product design, and prototyping. The winner of the 2015 Hackaday Prize, Best Product, and runners-up will be announced at the SuperCon.

The 2015 Hackaday Prize is sponsored by:

Tindie Becomes A Part Of The Hackaday Family

A little over two years ago, we announced that Hackaday became a part of Supplyframe. This was a natural fit: both sides are comprised of hardware engineers, computer scientists and hackers alike. We immediately pooled forces and set out to make Hackaday bigger, with a broader mission. So far, it has been an amazing journey: is approaching 100,000 registered users, The Hackaday Prize is in its second year, and the Hackaday Store is about to fulfill its 5,000th order.

The main theme behind all of this is fostering collaboration, learning, and providing incentives for everyone in the community to stop procrastinating and try to build something amazing. is here to inspire, to help develop projects in the open, and the Hackaday Store is to provide a way to turn passion projects into a self-sustainable lifestyle. While the road to community-powered innovation might not be easy, it’s something we’re all incredibly passionate about, and will continue investing in to further this goal.

With that in mind, we’re very excited to announce that everyone’s favorite hardware marketplace – Tindie, has been acquired by Supplyframe and will be joining the Hackaday family! Apart from the fact that most of us are personal fans of the website, we believe that Tindie fills an important gap in helping projects cross the chasm between prototype and initial production. Crowdfunding provides access to capital for some (and access to laughs for others), but it’s not always the way to go. You might not be ready to quit your day job or take on a project full-time. You might be working on rev1 of the project and want to try the “lean manufacturing” thing. Or maybe you’re building something for your own purposes and have some extras lying around. Tindie is a platform that has helped launch many such projects, and we’re incredibly lucky to have it be a part of Hackaday.

Now what?

Naturally, the question that’s on everyone’s mind is, what happens next? Are we going to mess things up? Paint Tindie in black? Change the fee structure? While we have ideas on things that we could help with, our main goal will be making sure that the Tindie community continues to thrive. The only changes we’re interested in are the ones that make the community stronger. We are fascinated with the challenges surrounding the supply chain and will be looking into tools to help sellers improve margins and ship better products. and Tindie combined represent the world’s largest repository of (working) Open Hardware products, so we will be looking into more closely integrating the two. We will also make efforts to grow the overall Tindie audience, as every new buyer helps move the community forward.

All of these are some of the ideas, but we’re ultimately looking at you for guidance: things we should do, problems we should attack, dreams of future capabilities.

Wish us luck in this new adventure.

Aleksandar Bradic

Weekend Proves Hardware Wins Hackathons

Teams hacking on hardware won big this weekend in New York. There were ten teams that answered Hackaday’s call as we hosted the first ever hardware hackathon at the Tech Crunch Disrupt NYC. These teams were thrown into the mix with all of the software hackers TC was hosting and rose to the top. Eight out of our ten teams won!

As we suspected, having something physical to show off is a huge bonus compared to those showing apps and webpages alone. Recipe for awesome: Mix in the huge talent pool brought by the hardware hackers participating, then season with a dash of experience from mentors like [Kenji Larson], [Johngineer], [Bil Herd], [Chris Gammell], and many more.

Out of over 100 teams, first runner-up went to PicoRico, which built a data collection system for the suspension of a mountain bike. The Twillio prize went to Stove Top Sensor for Paranoid, Stubburn Older Parents which adds cellphone and web connectivity to the stove, letting you check if you remembered to turn off the burns. The charismatic duo of fifteen-year-olds [Kristopher] and [Ilan] stole the show with their demonstration of Follow Plants which gives your produce a social media presence which you can then follow.

We recorded video and got the gritty details from everyone building hardware during the 20-hour frenzy. We’ll be sharing those stories throughout the week so make sure to check back!