Earlier this week, I looked at the Arduino MKR Vidor 4000 during an AddOhms live stream. My goal was to understand the Vidor better. It is the new FPGA-based Arduino which started shipping this month. It runs about $60. You can learn more at the Vidor Product Page on the Arduino website.

In this post, I briefly touch on the difference between an FPGA and a microcontroller. Then I walk you around the MKR Vidor 4000’s board. Using one of the examples, I talk a bit about how the various chips communicate with each other. This section also highlights what makes the Arduino FPGA board different from other development boards. Lastly, I answer “should you buy an Arduino MKR Vidor 4000?”

As promised, the Arduino team shipped the MKR 4000 VIDOR by the end of July. The graphical editor is still missing in action, but you can check out the board now. I received mine. In this AddOhms Live Stream, I turned it on and checked it out.

This video is a “working” live stream. Generally, I try to set up some demos and run through some canned actions. Not this time. I used the board once, on another computer. You get to watch how I attack a new board…live! Warts and all.

Key things I check out:

  • How do you program the FPGA? (what does that even mean for the VIDOR.)
  • The VidorTestSketch (communicate between the SAMD21 and the Cyclone FPGA)
  • LogoDraw (the VIDOR draws the Arduino logo over HDMI)
  • The include files for each of the VIDOR libraries

I’m writing up my experience so far, along with what I’ve learned. Until then, click below to see the 1-hour live stream.

Watch Full Live Stream

Can’t find the digital chip you need on Mouser or just wish you could make it yourself? With the FleaFPGA board, you can! As a college freshman, we heard rumors of a custom Integrated Circuit (IC) class. Surely what had to be a senior level class, I couldn’t wait until I understood electrical engineering enough that I got to make my own IC!

Two years passed, I was learning Verilog and VHDL in a class titled “Complex Programmable Logic Devices.” In short, CPLD. Those devices were the precursors to today’s modern FPGA devices.

In short, FPGAs, allow you to create your own IC with “software.” The best part? You can quickly reprogram that to fix bugs, add features, or operate completely differently just as fast as you can flash a new sketch into an Arduino Uno.

Introducing the FleaFPGA, a fully functional FPGA board perfect for beginners or veteran chip designers ready to create “chips” on their own.