This is about the time of the year you realize you aren’t going to keep all of those new year’s resolutions you made. However, if one of them was to learn VHDL and FPGAs, you might be in luck. Vicilogic has a free course in Fundamentals of Digital Systems. You do have to register, but it didn’t even verify our e-mail address, so it shouldn’t be too onerous to sign up.
Associated with the National University of Ireland Galway, the training is high quality and offers animated demos in your browser of the digital circuitry. You can even control the demos yourself. You’d think the work was occurring in some browser script, but according to the site, the demos are tied to real FPGA boards. You can supposedly look in on them as you use them with a video stream, but we never saw that working so your mileage may vary. If you want a preview of what it looks like, check out the video below. There’s guided exercises and also quizzes where you have to interact with the demos.
The course covers multiplexers in great detail and shows how the logic maps to a Xilinx FPGA. It also touches on VHDL. This isn’t a five-minute investment, though, the course is quite extensive and has modules on decoders, registers, counters, shift register, and more. The demos are nicely done and when you change an input, not only will the output change, but truth tables and timing diagrams update as well.