How to get started with FPGAs ( part 1 )

So just know that I’m just a beginner in FPGAs but I want to write blog about how to get started with FPGAs so that I might help people that have no clue what an FPGA does or what an FPGA is. I’m not gonna go into too much details about how an FPGA works but I’m gonna only gonna tell what you need to know for now in order to do some cool stuff with FPGAs.

So first of all let me just give you a short explanation of what an FPGA is. An FPGA is a device that allows you or gives you the ability to create your own digital circuitry. So when you first get your FPGA it’s not gonna have any program or function built into it. In short , it’s blank and you will have to configure the digital circuitry yourself. But how? you may wonder. Well it depends what you wanna make or do with it but lets assume you want to make a LED blink when you press a button. Then you will have to know how logic gates work and how to use them. I’m not gonna explain how they work as there are countless tutorials on the internet but let me know if you want me to do that a blog on how logic gates work. I will do tutorials on how to do cool stuff with FPGAs in the future but for now that’s what I can recommend you to learn if your planning to get started with FPGAs.

But why use FPGAs? you may ask. Well a long time back, companies had to spend millions of dollars to develop just one chip. So try to understand that spending millions of dollars to make one chip all the time is not a very efficient and cheap method. So that’s where FPGAs come in. You can just configure the FPGA to be whatever digital circuitry you designed and if you want to change the digital circuitry then you just need to reconfigure it and there you go ,you didn’t have spend millions of dollars just to change the digital circuitry on one device. It’s also used for prototyping the digital circuitry you designed at a low cost and then you get it sent into production to obtain the final product, your chip. Well these are some examples but there are countless uses for FPGAs.

FPGAs can cost up to hundreds to even thousands of dollars but you can go ahead and pick up an Altera cyclone 2 development board with the programmer for only $17 on Ebay or Aliexpress.

It should be fine if your’re just getting started. I will try write a blog on how to get started with it and also do a review on the hardware.

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