Sequencer Built On A Cycle II FPGA Board

[Matt’s] finishing up his computer science degree. As part of a class assignment he programmed his own sequencer which runs on a Cyclone-II FPGA development board. We’ve embedded a video below the fold that shows you what it can do. The buttons and LEDs offered on the board actually allowed him to create a nice user interface. Each slide switch has a surface mount LED above it, giving feedback for which beats in the loop are on and off. There’s also a bank of momentary-push buttons seen in blue above. [Matt] uses these to tweak settings like the pitch that is stored for each slide switch. He even puts on a light show with the VGA output.

We’ve seen this Altera board before, used to drive a falling sands game. The hardware will run you around $200 but that’s not bad considering all of the fun things you can do with it.


7 thoughts on “Sequencer Built On A Cycle II FPGA Board

  1. @steve: The free versions of Altera’s stuff is pretty decent and now support Linux as does Xilinx’s ISE. But yeah, good luck doing anything beyond simulation in open source software. Truly unfortunate.

    Anyways, we did nearly the same project a few years ago for a university course but with compositions that could be added in “ROM” and no video output. Good fun way to get into FPGAs. Those Altera boards (notably the larger DE2) have everything under the sun built in.

  2. The title reads “Cycle II” instead of “Cyclone II”. I noticed this instantly which must mean I’m rather awake today. Maybe I’ll get some work done.

  3. The DE1 he is using costs 150$, or 125$ for students. There is a cheaper version (which I own), the DE0, which costs only 79$ for students, and is still big enough for most projects.

  4. Thanks for the mention! Funny side-story: when I presented it to the class, the speakers were not working and apparently I messed up the video timing. A glorious fail, but fortunately the video provided something I could point at to say “See? I’m not an idiot, I swear it works!”

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