Robots w/Lasers

March 16, 2010

Comparison of PC-based logic analyzers

Here’s a comparison chart I’ve been working on that compares various PC-based logic analyzers. I made this mostly for myself because I’ve been wanting to buy a logic analyzer, but most of them are very expensive for a hobbyist’s budget. PC-based ones are a good compromise…they can be cheaper than standalone units since they don’t need all the processing and display hardware. I’m currently leaning towards the $120 Zeroplus unit, it seems to provide the best bang/buck. There is the $50 open source one, but I think I’d wait a bit for more reviews of it, to see how good it really works.

View Chart Full-Screen

I’ll write a review when I do decide on one. Also I know someone designing his own Logic Analyzer, if/when he finishes, I’ll give a link to that too.


Filed under: FPGA,Hardware — davr @ 8:50 pm

May 18, 2009

Comparison of Entry-Level (aka cheap) FPGA boards

A while ago I decided I wanted to play around with a FPGA – Field-Programmable Gate Array, basically it lets you design new hardware ICs (Integrated Circuits), without needing a multi-billion dollar chip fabrication plant. So I set out to research the available pre-made development kits I could play around with. They’re quite a bit more expensive to get into than microcontrollers (where you can buy a $3 chip and build a programming cable out of some old scraps of wire), so I looked for the least expensive boards that still had a decent set of features.

I ended up making a comparison chart of FPGA development kits, like I said this was over a year ago, so it may be a bit out of date, but the low-end of FPGA’s doesn’t move all that fast. Most of the information is still valid, but you might be best to do some research yourself before you take the plunge. I only considered boards that featured FPGAs from Xilinx and Altera, since I found other vendors are not competitive in the low-cost arena (low-cost was the most important feature to me at the time, I didn’t want to spend $5000 just to play around. And yes, there are $5000 development boards).

View Chart Full-Screen

If you’re curious, I ended up getting the DE2 (with the educational discount). It costs a bit more, but it has significantly more features, such that I’ll probably never run out of stuff to play with.

The ones highlighted in green are the ones I feel provide the best value, and just coincidentally fall at the $50, $100, and $150 price points.

Filed under: FPGA,Hardware — davr @ 3:26 pm

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