It’s a great decision to buy the Spartan 3A starter kit. It is one of the best FPGA starter kits you can find out. In addition to providing the tools for configuration, the kit also provides you with the options to configure the devices in multiple ways.
In this article, you are going to be pointing in the right decision so you can make an informed buying decision.
Spartan 3A Starter Kit’s Buying Guide
Here are some of the factors you need to consider before paying or ordering for the Spartan 3A starter kit.
1. Check the Interface Requirements
Typically, the Spartan 3A starter kit is used to make prototypes of FPGA devices that require either multiple or wide interfaces.
It is also the go-to FPGA configuration kit for devices requiring modest processing. So, ensure that the design you are shopping for supports the same.
2. Find out the Density Requirements
The Spartan 3A starter kit is specifically used to configure devices in the Xilinx Spartan 3A family. As such, these devices must be configured as per the default requirements for more I/Os than densities.
The Spartan 3A starter kit you are shopping for must make a balance in that regard by supporting more I/O pin counts than logic densities.
3. Check the I/O Ports
Although the Spartan 3A starter kit supports the logic densities more, you need to also consider the I/O ports.
Also known as the connectors or expansion ports, the I/O ports are one of the crucial parts to pay attention to in a development kit.
In this case, you want to check the number of ports or connectors supported by the Spartan 3A starter kit.
These ports are the medium through which you can expand the module of adding more Input and Output (I/O) pins to the board.
Not sure of how to start shopping for these? Consider going for the alternatives that include the low pin count ports, such as the headers and flat cables.
If you are more experienced in how these I/O ports work, consider going for the traditional variants. These include the high-speed connectors with low pin count support. Examples are the DisplayPort, HDMI and SATA I/O Ports.
4. Pay Attention to the Debugging Options
Although FPGA starter kits like the Spartan 3A starter kit are flexible, mistakes can also happen. For example, you made a mistake when configuring the device. This will take some time to rectify. But first of all, you need to be sure of the part that needs to be corrected.
That is why you must pay attention to the debugging options the Spartan 3A starter kit offers. These include the displays, buttons and LEDs that help you get an idea of the corrections to be made.
Through the LEDs, buttons and switches on the board, you can identify the error by pulling out the signals to test for real-world use.
Typical of FPGAs, you can always make amends and correct the designs.
Working with the Spartan 3A starter kit can be a bliss, if you know how to get around it. Professional guidance from an experienced digital circuit designing company like EBICS will also help put you on right path.