0.5 Getting Started

Getting Started

Before starting this project we suggest that you do a little research and give yourself a few goals you wish to accomplish. Read through our guide to get an idea of what it will take to complete it and visit some of the sites on our links page to get a some inspiration for your project. If you do not have enough money to complete the project, there is a great tutorial on funding projects on the Sons of Robotics website. If you do choose to use our guide, please leave us a comment and feel free to ask any questions you may have along the way.


What you will need:

1. An FPGA, we use the NEXYS board: http://www.digilentinc.com/Products/Detail.cfm?NavPath=2,400,797&Prod=NEXYS
. Most FPGA boards should work, however we suggest using the NEXYS, NEXYS2, or Spartan 3E
2. The free software from the Xilinx website: Adept 2.0 and Xilinx ISE 11
3. USB cable: should come with the FPGA or you can buy one at any electronics store
4. Servos: for more information visit the Servo Page

. R/C servos for planes and helicopters will work well
5. Housing: for more information visit the Housing Page
. For our project we use plastic simply because we got it for free from our high school plastics class, however wood or metal will also suffice
6. Power: for more information visit the Power Page
7. Three Peripheral Modules: for more information visit the P-Mod Page
8. A PS/2 Keyboard for manual control: for more information visit the Keyboard Interface Page


Additional Tools:
We use a few extra tools for building, they are listed below
Power tools: Dremmel, Drill, Saw
File, plastic glue, small screws and nuts, grip tape, velcro, and small gauge wire for the power

Where to begin:
Here is a great introduction to FPGA video we found on youtube:



The most important aspect of this project is the FPGA. Getting aquainted with it is an important first step. If you bought a Digilent board go and read through the reference manual and complete any sample programs they may have. If you are new you will be starting the same place we did, with lighting up LED's and making them blink. Check out the beginner projects below for a few examples.