The Nano FPGA family is the building block for most of my projects. I have made multiple Nano FPGA boards now that use either Spartan3 or Spartan6 FPGAs from Xilinx in different form factors. To be a Nano board, it must be a Spartan3 or Spartan6 FPGA that breaks out 3.3V LVCMOS ( and possibly LVDS ) to a “x16″ 2×10 0.100″ header that provides 2 GNDs, 3V and 5V power. I have x16 break boards that then span out a single 2×10 to x8 ( 2×6 ) and x4 (2×4) connectors. This allows me to make really low cost OSH-Park boards that are only 0.5” wide. The Nano boards all have a standard 1×6 FTDI cable connector so that a PC can communicate to the FPGA over 921,600 baud asynch serial. Most recent Nanos all include a SPI PROM with two slots, one with a bootloader design so that an Nano FPGA board may also be configured over USB. JTAG is only required once post assembly.
By themselves the Nano boards don’t do much other than interface to USB. My peripheral boards such as this HDMI video adapter can be plugged in to them. I also have ADC and DAC boards etc that all conform to the Nano x4, x8 or x16 bus pinouts.
This Nano Skinny is a SUMP based Logic Analyzer. It captures 8 digital signals at 100 MSPS and interfaces via USB to a computer where my PowerShell .NET windows application downloads the samples and displays them in a waveform.
I designed a Nano into my car so that the add-on license plate backup sensor ( that is normally wired ) can transmit a wireless signal into the cockpit. This allowed me to avoid feeding a wire through the engine compartment and firewall. The Nano is powered by the backup light 12V and pulse extends the short piezo buzzer pulse from the ultrasonic backup sensor to a long pulse sufficient to key the transmitter that drives a relay buzzer in the cockpit.