Firstly, I built an JTAG adapter cable to work around a wiring error on the PCB. When I laid out the board, I accidentally numbered the pins on the JTAG connector DIP-style instead of ribbon cable style. That meant that all the pins except for pin 1 were wired wrong. After thinking a bit about the options, which included scrapping the board and starting over, or skywiring in corrected wiring for the connector, I decided the cleanest solution was to make a custom JTAG cable that moved the pins around where they belong. I’d seen other cables built this way. I asked myself, “How hard could it be?” Continue reading Making progress on the A3PN250 FPGA breakout…
I’ve recovered from the busy last few months and that means I can spend a little more time at my workbench. The first of the A3PN250 (ProASIC3 nano) FPGA breakout boards is built. Here it is, in all its glory:
After a busy week spent traveling for work and a morning digging out from a surprise snowstorm, I had a great weekend with my family. It was Sunday night before I heated up the soldering iron and got down to business building the ProASIC 3 nano FPGA board.
I started with the toughest component, the FPGA. Its central location and low height means that I will have an easier time accessing it before other components are mounted. That is not likely to be a big problem for this board, with plenty of space around the chip, but I would still prefer not to have to work around the filter capacitors if I can avoid it. On the other hand, its 100 pins and 0.5 mm pin pitch makes it far and away the most difficult soldering job on the PCB.
The goals for this layout constrained it to be a nearly single-sided layout, with a ground plane on the back. That way, the board could be mounted directly on a piece of copperclad with no short circuits to ground. My budget limited me to a double-sided board, so all signal and power traces had to go on the top side.