From ULX3S to modular ULX4M
2022-09-24, 14:30–15:30, Tesla

A powerful ECP5 board for open source FPGA development

The ULX3S is a fully open source, compact, robust and affordable FPGA board equipped with a balanced spectrum of extra components and expansions. Although primarily developed as a teaching tool for mastering the principles of digital circuit design 1, a wide selection of useful features and interfaces enables it to serve as a broad spectrum module for installation in complex devices.

Embedded systems are everywhere, including in trusted environments. But what is really inside them? ULX4M is a modular version of the popular open hardware project ULX3S. ULX4M delivers a versatile programmable (FPGA) modular mainboard that can be used a wide choice of peripherals. The main board is “vendor neutral” and can be used with different FPGA vendors SOM boards. As the community continues to grow, lots of FPGA modules are written, and one goal of our boards would be that we can easily switch and check other vendor chips, and work more on vendor neutral code where possible. The project also improves SERDES availability. Some cheaper FPGA chips do not have lots of SERDES lines and when someone makes a board it needs to choose what peripheral will be using those SERDES lines. With an open source design, users are not dependent on anyone to make boards and can run independent production.

I will talk about features of ULX3S, how we got to modular version and what are the differences between them.

All boards are open source and available on github