Maxim PMOD family speeds FPGA design
July 2012 - In a discussion with Dave Sackett of Maxim about their new family of PMOD plug in boards for speeding up FPGA design. Designed to accompany development boards from Avent, Xilinx, and Digilent, they have created a family of modules that are complete single functions of typical add ons to an FPGA core. They 0.8" form fact boards plug into the PMOD port with either a 6 pin or 12 pin connection. The port can be defined and configured in the FPGA system for a number of standard interfaces which are used to address the parts.
The functions like DAC, real time clock, thermometer, receiver, LED driver and Digitral pot are designed to pluged in to the board, and with the associated bitstream firmware and high level C code, allow the designer to test and configure the function in under 15 minutes. Thwe PMOD boards draw power from the FPGA development board with the exception of the 16 bit data converters which have the option to configure and use an on-board low noise regualted supply and reference or use the FPGA board power. These three pieces - the PMOD interface, the firmware and the software - are used to create “function” and “task” modules, rather than application specific reference designs. The configuration and setup software includes sufficient information to be able to test the module for an intended application.
The modules are processor agnostic for cores that are in the FPGA, and can be used in any combination on a board. In order to accelerate the development process of systems, the entire initial 15 modules are available as a single kit for a price of $89.95. For further prototyping and extended systems, all the modules will be available individually for $19.95 each. The products will be avaialable from all the standard distributors for Maxim in Q3 2012.