Open Source FPGA Development Board using Lattice ECP5 with on board Wi-Fi


ByRajni Setia 0

Open Source FPGA Development Board

ULX3S is a fully open-source, compact, robust, and affordable FPGA development board that comes fully equipped with a balanced selection of additional components and expansions. Designed primarily as a teaching tool for mastering the principles of digital circuit design, the ULX3S board comes with features and interfaces that make it a useful module for installation in complex devices.

The board is built around a powerful Lattice Semiconductor ECP5-series FPGA chip and supported by the latest open-source toolchains. It comes equipped with onboard Wi-Fi, display, buttons, LEDs, and storage. The onboard OLED display and buttons with an over-the-air (OTA) can be updated using the Wi-Fi connection to browse the contents of an SD card and select a bitstream.

Its battery-backed RTC enables it to power down completely and wakes up only in response to certain events. This feature makes it perfect for use in low-power applications such as battery-powered remote sensor nodes. Moreover, the onboard peripherals like SDRAM, USB, digital video out, onboard FM/ASK antenna, ADC, and DAC make it an audio/video powerhouse for signal processing and synthesis, motor control, and SDR use cases. Also, it can emulate arcade machines and retro computers like the Minimig (Amiga) or modern systems like the F32C (MIPS/RISCV). It has 56 GPIO pins, all routed as differential pairs, and a PMOD compatible pinout, which opens it up to a wide range of expansion options. And if you are just starting FPGAs, you can use the Arduino IDE to program ULX3S in seconds.

Features and Specifications of the ​ULX3S

  • FPGA: Lattice ECP5
    • LFE5U-85F-6BG381C (84 K LUT)
    • LFE5U-45F-6BG381C (44 K LUT)
    • LFE5U-25F-6BG381C (24 K LUT)
    • LFE5U-12F-6BG381C (12 K LUT)
  • USB: FTDI FT231XS (500 kbit JTAG and 3 Mbit USB-serial)
  • GPIO: 56 pins (28 differential pairs), PMOD-friendly with the power out 3.3 V at 1 A or 2.5 V at 1.5 A
  • RAM: 32 MB SDRAM 166 MHz
  • Flash: 4-16 MB Quad-SPI Flash for FPGA config and user data storage
  • Mass Storage: Micro-SD slot
  • LEDs: 11 (8 user LEDs, 2 USB LEDs, 1 Wi-Fi LED)
  • Buttons: 7 (4 direction, 2 fire, 1 power button)
  • Audio: 3.5 mm jack with 4 contacts (analog stereo + digital audio or composite video)
  • Video: Digital video (GPDI General-Purpose Differential Interface) with 3.3 V to 5 V I²C bidirectional level shifter
  • Display: Placeholder for 0.96″ SPI COLOR OLED SSD1331
  • Wi-Fi & Bluetooth: Placeholder for ESP32 (standalone JTAG web interface over Wi-Fi)
  • Antenna: 27, 88-108, 144, 433 MHz FM/ASK onboard
  • ADC: 8 channels, 12 bit, 1 MS a/s MAX11125
  • Power: 3 Switching voltage regulators: 1.1 V, 2.5 V, and 3.3 V
  • Clock: 25 MHz onboard, an external differential clock input
  • Low-Power Sleep: 5 µA at 5 V standby, RTC MCP7940N clock wake-up, power button, 32768 Hz quartz with CR1225 battery backup
  • Dimensions: 94 mm × 51 mm

More details about the ULX3S dev board and its ordering and shipping can be found on CrowdSupply.

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