RetroBrew Computers Forum
Discussion forum for the RetroBrew Computers community.

Home » RBC Forums » General Discussion » "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... ((STM32F103C8T6 + EP2C5T144C8N + AS6C4008))
"The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #3726] Sun, 12 November 2017 06:13 Go to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Hi all,
I'm just starting now to design an Open Source FPGA board (Cyclone II based) and I'd like to make it "compatible" with the Multicomp project.

I'm now in the early stage of "info gathering", and I'm reading the documentation on the Grant's site and here, and starting to analyze the Quartus II projects.

The board that I've in mind is a beginners low cost FPGA dev board (probably with a M3 Cortex "support" MCU as I did for a previous CPLD dev board), and with some "stuff" like leds, keys, and a 7-segment 4 digits display. I'd like to make this board "compatible" with the Multicomp, adding the SRAM, SD socket, VGA output, etc.

I'm trying to maintain the original FPGA pin assignment, but I've noticed that the DEV_CLRn (FPGA pin 142) is used, and this is "annoying" for me because I want connect it to a key (to clear all the internal FFs), and the same with DEV_OE (to a switch, but this one is not used in the Multicomp).

More, changing others FPGA pins assignments can be handy in the PCB layout phase.

Of course this will require to change the "swapped" pins assignments accordingly in the Quartus II project, but this is not a big problem.

I'm just wondering if "swapping" some FPGA physical pins can cause any FPGA problem with the Multicomp... Rolling Eyes (may be I'm over estimating this thing)

Any advice...?

Cheers

[Updated on: Thu, 31 January 2019 08:42]

Report message to a moderator

Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board: a question about FPGA pin assignments [message #3740 is a reply to message #3726] Mon, 13 November 2017 23:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Auto-answer after some thoughts... No, there shouldn't be any problem (or something I could not fix afterwards). Now starts the fun... (or the hell) Laughing
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board: a question about FPGA pin assignments [message #3794 is a reply to message #3740] Mon, 20 November 2017 02:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
UPDATE: the DEV_OE pin (FPGA pin 40) is used in the Multicomp Board v1.10 as an external RTC pin, so I must remap it too to free the DEV_OE function (RTC not used in the Z80 "cycloneiic-z80" VHDL)...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5423 is a reply to message #3794] Fri, 02 November 2018 08:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've decided to "resume" this thing just now, having paused it for "some" months to do other boards (my free time is very limited, so I can't play with more than one "project" at a time...).

The schematic was already done (may be some changes at the end), so the next step is the PCB layout.

I've also "switched" at Kicad 5 now, so this one will be the first try with it. The schematic import from Kicad 4 was easy, and I've just finished to add the needed footprints (probably I will change somethings in some footprints, but not for now).

An interesting thing I've noticed is that now the PCB editor "sorts" the footprints probably using an "adjacency" criteria when importing a netlist the first time:

index.php?t=getfile&id=1105&private=0

Now it's time to do "some" routing... fingers crossed...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5429 is a reply to message #5423] Sun, 04 November 2018 07:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Rainy days... so I've started to place the components.
The new Kicad 5 PCB editor allows more faster operations in the "Modern toolset" mode, but it seems that some edits require to switch to the "Legacy toolset", e.g. to drag a footprint.

I've started with the power supply and the STM32 "stimulus generator" MCU (as I did in this CPLD dev board), just to have an idea before to start to place tracks...

index.php?t=getfile&id=1106&private=0

I'm very curious to see how it will go...
  • Attachment: PCB1_b.jpg
    (Size: 231.75KB, Downloaded 1913 times)
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5455 is a reply to message #5429] Sat, 10 November 2018 07:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
After 3 attempts may be I've found a decent placement for the bigger parts... (I mean... without a 100% impossible to route ratsnest...)

Now I need to do some FPGA pins "remapping" for a better routing (to have a chance...). The hardest part is yet to come...

index.php?t=getfile&id=1110&private=0

index.php?t=getfile&id=1109&private=0

  • Attachment: PCB2.jpg
    (Size: 400.94KB, Downloaded 1800 times)
  • Attachment: PCB3.jpg
    (Size: 516.60KB, Downloaded 1811 times)
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5458 is a reply to message #5455] Sat, 10 November 2018 12:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rhkoolstar is currently offline  rhkoolstar
Messages: 256
Registered: October 2015
Senior Member
To save space you could use a micro-SD card socket. The standard size is getting rarer and more expensive anyway.

Using smt pushbuttons saves real estate on the backside.

Rienk
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5480 is a reply to message #5458] Mon, 12 November 2018 04:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
rhkoolstar wrote on Sat, 10 November 2018 12:26
To save space...
Rienk


Currently I have only a lot of standard sockets, but an other lot of micro-SD sockets is on the way. I prefer to have the sockets on my table before check the footprint...

Just ordered a lot of smt buttons (same dimensions but smt)... just in case... Laughing

Thanks for the suggestion...

Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5489 is a reply to message #5480] Mon, 12 November 2018 15:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
rhkoolstar is currently offline  rhkoolstar
Messages: 256
Registered: October 2015
Senior Member
here is my TF-card footprint, maybe that fits with yours...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5495 is a reply to message #5489] Tue, 13 November 2018 10:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Thanks! I'll check it when the small sockets arrive...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5540 is a reply to message #5455] Fri, 16 November 2018 04:38 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've done some progress and I'm starting to feel "optimistic"... so I've found a name for it... "The Thing" Laughing

index.php?t=getfile&id=1142&private=0
  • Attachment: PCB6.jpg
    (Size: 210.30KB, Downloaded 1757 times)
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5605 is a reply to message #5540] Sat, 24 November 2018 08:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Now only a few tracks left...

As for the SD, I want to try to place both footprints, so it should be possible to choose the micro-SD or the full size socket.

index.php?t=getfile&id=1151&private=0

index.php?t=getfile&id=1153&private=0
  • Attachment: PCB8.jpg
    (Size: 658.89KB, Downloaded 1660 times)
  • Attachment: PCB9.jpg
    (Size: 417.54KB, Downloaded 1660 times)

[Updated on: Sat, 24 November 2018 09:00]

Report message to a moderator

Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5634 is a reply to message #5605] Wed, 28 November 2018 23:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jonb is currently offline  jonb
Messages: 91
Registered: August 2016
Location: UK
Member
Couldn't you fit a micro SD card socket footprint inside the full sized footprint? Then you could choose what to fit when building it.

I recently bought a full sized socket for a Cyclone II-C board. Cost me £6 which I think was pretty eye watering. Even more annoying, after ordering I found one of those little carrier boards with a socket on it in one of my parts bins so ended up desoldering the socket and using it instead.
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5635 is a reply to message #5634] Thu, 29 November 2018 01:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
jonb wrote on Wed, 28 November 2018 23:26
Couldn't you fit a micro SD card socket footprint inside the full sized footprint? Then you could choose what to fit when building it.


Already done... Smile

index.php?t=getfile&id=1156&private=0

index.php?t=getfile&id=1157&private=0
  • Attachment: PCB16.jpg
    (Size: 478.74KB, Downloaded 1575 times)
  • Attachment: PCB18.jpg
    (Size: 634.64KB, Downloaded 1573 times)
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5675 is a reply to message #5635] Sun, 02 December 2018 08:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've realized that my miscroSd socket (still on the way...) has a completely different footprint (it seems very common on ebay). Searching around I've found a possible good one (here) and the right datasheet (both attached):

https://kicad-info.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/original/2X/8/8d1dbfabaa90b65dad4965a185d7e55230d35003.png

I've also added some Test Points that should work with these (Never used up to now. I've just ordered a lot):

https://ae01.alicdn.com/kf/HTB18.bRpr5YBuNjSspoq6zeNFXaE.jpg

So this is the situation now after some minor changes:

index.php?t=getfile&id=1167&private=0

index.php?t=getfile&id=1168&private=0

Now I have to do some more checking, but the layout should be finished...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5807 is a reply to message #5675] Thu, 27 December 2018 05:44 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
PCBs are just arrived. Now it's time to make some "magic smoke"... Very Happy

index.php?t=getfile&id=1209&private=0
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5831 is a reply to message #5807] Tue, 15 January 2019 01:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Tested the JTAG and ASP programming mode and both worked!
I've also tested the SFL IP core (used as a bridge to interface between JTAG and Active Serial Memory Interface in the FPGA itself) to program the eeprom using the JTAG connector.

Now I can go head to complete the assembling...

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7881/46692169182_67f21c2f6a_c.jpg
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5837 is a reply to message #5831] Thu, 17 January 2019 12:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've assembled some more stuff to test the first Multicomp, a 6809 CPU with Basic ROM, 2KB internal RAM, VDU and a PS/2 keyboard:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7878/32904025618_3f1776c78e_b.jpg

and this was the result...

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4841/32904026118_f9e60b266f_c.jpg

It works!!! Laughing

Now the next step will be test the SD and the external 512KB SRAM...
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5901 is a reply to message #5837] Thu, 31 January 2019 08:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Tested a Multicomp Z80 with 64KB RAM (ext), 16 HDs on SD, VDU, PS/2 Keyb., CP/M 2.2 as running OS:

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7903/39974592433_73ef791f34.jpg

https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4862/39974591963_7e6428821c.jpg

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7827/46025165705_44c111ef69.jpg

Next step will be test an other PCB using a micro SD socket instead.
Re: Starting a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5934 is a reply to message #5901] Wed, 06 February 2019 09:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
A short video of the Z80 multicomp in action...: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8qfqlEfJm8
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #5995 is a reply to message #3726] Fri, 22 February 2019 07:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've just tested another board with a micro-SD socket:

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1266&private=0
/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1267&private=0

Next days I'll start to publish all the details (schematic, gerber files, BOM, etc...) here.

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6064 is a reply to message #5995] Sat, 09 March 2019 01:58 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Playing with the 7-segment display (video): https://youtu.be/WFvbjn-bLU4

More info here.
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6228 is a reply to message #6064] Sun, 07 April 2019 11:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
I've just "ported" to The Thing the rhkoolstar "MC-2G-1024.zip" Multicomp release! Really a great enhancement!!

I've also done a simple sketch for the STM32 so it acts as a serial-USB bridge, connecting the Multicomp Serial 1 (rxd1, txd1, cts1, rts1) to the virtual serial on USB (on the STM32 side), so I can play with it only using USB and a terminal emulator on a PC Cool

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1318&private=0

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1317&private=0

Of course connecting a VGA monitor and a keyb it is possible use it as usual:

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1319&private=0
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6230 is a reply to message #3726] Mon, 08 April 2019 02:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Here MP/M 2.1 with two concurrent users, one connected to the local VDU/Keyb and the other one connected with the VHDL Serial 1 port "redirected" to the STM32 virtual serial on USB (using an UART "bridge" sketch on the STM32 side and managed by a terminal emulator on a PC):

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1320&private=0

Next step will be to try the 4 serials "version" to have 4 concurrent users. May be I'll do a stand-alone version of uTerm. In this way I'll be able to do a "demo" with 4 real users attached with 4 physical VT100 terminals (using 4 keyb and 4 monitors and 4 uTerm stand-alone boards)!!!! Laughing
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6242 is a reply to message #6230] Sat, 13 April 2019 03:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Playing Gorilla... Laughing

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1327&private=0

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1328&private=0

Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG7OP1xlqtU

NOTE: The attached GORILLA.COM is a special version that the author made for the Z80 Multicomp without the ESC 25 code (cursor on/off) because the VHDL VDU doesn't manage it.

[Updated on: Mon, 15 April 2019 23:53]

Report message to a moderator

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6267 is a reply to message #6242] Tue, 23 April 2019 06:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
A first preview of the uTerm-S, the "stand-alone" version of the uTerm. In this version the "transparent" serial-USB port can manage the RTS/CTS HW handshaking (the RTS/CTS signals must be accessible on the serial-USB adapter):

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1338&private=0

Of course this is not enough. An other board must be done with a 4-ports serial RS232 driver for the FPGA board...

[Updated on: Tue, 23 April 2019 06:52]

Report message to a moderator

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6415 is a reply to message #6267] Tue, 16 July 2019 05:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
The dual-channel RS232 board is out. All the details here.

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1441&private=0

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1442&private=0

This board is intended as a RS-232 level adapter for Multicomp softcores with multiple serial ports.

[Updated on: Tue, 16 July 2019 05:16]

Report message to a moderator

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6417 is a reply to message #6415] Thu, 18 July 2019 08:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
"The MP/M experiment"

This is a crazy experiment that I've done using my own HW, just because I was curious to see a MP/M system running in a "real" situation with 4 concurrent terminal/users.

The FPGA board runs a VHDL Z80 Multicomp with MP/M 2.1, HD on SD and 4 serial ports (ported from the rhkoolstar implementation):

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1443&private=0

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1444&private=0

Here the video: https://youtu.be/MXc8Imz-w-A

/forum/index.php?t=getfile&id=1445&private=0

[Updated on: Thu, 18 July 2019 10:02]

Report message to a moderator

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6418 is a reply to message #6417] Fri, 19 July 2019 09:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
b1ackmai1er is currently offline  b1ackmai1er
Messages: 265
Registered: November 2017
Senior Member
Very nice. How was the performnance?

Could you edit in Wordstar on one terminal while BASIC benchmark?

Is there a Z280 CPU core?

Regards Phil.
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6419 is a reply to message #6418] Mon, 22 July 2019 00:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
The performance was not bad as you can see in the linked video. Of course a compiled program runs better than an interpreted one...

I've not tried with wordstar, but I've compiled a turbopascal program without too much "degradation".

I've used the Z80 core of the rhkoolstar's multicomp implementation.
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6420 is a reply to message #3726] Mon, 22 July 2019 05:27 Go to previous messageGo to next message
b1ackmai1er is currently offline  b1ackmai1er
Messages: 265
Registered: November 2017
Senior Member
That is really awesome. Sorry I did not see the video link in the original post. Smile
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6481 is a reply to message #6420] Sun, 25 August 2019 15:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
b1ackmai1er is currently offline  b1ackmai1er
Messages: 265
Registered: November 2017
Senior Member
Hi J4F,

I'm look for a Kicad micro sd card for Kicad. Did the one you used turn out ok?

The uTerm-S looks fantastic - if your planning on sharing build files I would be really keen to get some board made.

Really nice project - what do you thing the speed is comparable to a Z80?

Regards Phil

Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6483 is a reply to message #6481] Mon, 26 August 2019 00:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Hi b1ackmai1er,
the micro Sd card footprint I've used work well for the common cheap sockets you can find on Aliexpress or ebay. No problem at all!


About uTerm-S, as I currently haven't the time to publish an article on it, I've attached all the needed files here:

https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/forum/index.php?t=msg& ;th=396&goto=6482&#msg_6482


About the Multicomp speed, if I remember well the speed should be comparable with a 25MHz Z80.
In my to-do list I've an other board with a Cyclone IV FPGA...
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6677 is a reply to message #6483] Tue, 15 October 2019 13:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jonb is currently offline  jonb
Messages: 91
Registered: August 2016
Location: UK
Member
Great stuff J4F!

Multicomp speed can be improved with some fast SRAM and VHDL tweaks, though I expect you know this already - if not, see https://www.retrobrewcomputers.org/doku.php?id=builderpages: jonb:start

I got my Multicomp's Z80 up to 50Mhz with these hacks.
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6683 is a reply to message #6677] Thu, 17 October 2019 13:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mikemac is currently offline  mikemac
Messages: 175
Registered: March 2017
Senior Member
And it's on Hack-A-Day today:

https://hackaday.com/2019/10/17/the-thing-a-homemade-fpga-board/

Good job!



Mike
Re: "The Thing": a new Multicomp FPGA board... [message #6701 is a reply to message #6683] Mon, 21 October 2019 04:53 Go to previous message
just4fun is currently offline  just4fun
Messages: 126
Registered: May 2017
Location: Dark side of the Moon
Senior Member
Thanks guys,
I missed it completely...

I was @ Rome Maker Faire 2019 with the Z80-MBC2... Very Happy

https://i.postimg.cc/htsJm16w/72779240-10220988458367883-2829159837651173376-n.jpg
Previous Topic: KZ80, a Z80 laptop project
Next Topic: Simple80, a low-cost, glue-less CP/M Ready Z80 SBC


Current Time: Sun Dec 15 20:50:19 PST 2019

Total time taken to generate the page: 0.01689 seconds