Nano FPGA Family


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.

nano6_vertical_top nano6_vertical_bottomIMG_0500 IMG_0739 IMG_0740 nano3_bottom nano3_top nano6_skinny_bottom nano6_skinny_top

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.

IMG_0384I 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.


Nano FPGA Family

8 thoughts on “Nano FPGA Family

  1. Arturo says:

    That’s a great board! I’m impressed with your packing talents, talk about nano…

    Would you care to share the schematics and/or pcb file for this one?



    1. Thank you. My manual layouts are a bit like doing jigsaw puzzles. Great challenge. If you provide an email, I can send you the Gerbers and PCB file and Xilinx UCF pin lock. I don’t have schematics. Let me know Spartan3 or Spartan6 Nano.


      1. Arturo says:

        Spartan 6 Nano.

        I would rather not post my email publicly, afraid of spamer robots, don’t you see the email that I provide when posting a comment?


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