Guest Zinahe

A Confused Newbie

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Guest Zinahe

Hi,

Greetings to all the good people.

I finally made it here. After registering twice (once one the GadgetFactory main site then again on the support forum). What's up with that ? ? One is not enough ? ?

Coming to my main issue, I'm confused to no end by all the names such as Papilio One, Papilio Platform, Butterfly Uno, Butterfly Platform. Butterfly Platform is apparently outdated, but Butterfly Uno is active. And there is another project going on called 'something Overshield' that deals with 5V. I mean, the whole site is a mixed bag of old and new information.

Please help me understand. Is the Papilio thing a generic plaform, good enough to do any project ? or it is created just to mimic the Arduino platform ?

I'm interested in FPGAs and I would like to have one robust platform to get started with. Being able to simulate the Arduino platform (the 'Uno') would be a bonus. Where should I start ?

Thanks.

Zinahe A.

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Hello Zinahe,

I'm very sorry about the confusing state of the website right now. Gadget Factory is a very new company, we are just barely past our first year. The focus up to this point has been on making the hardware as good as possible and making interesting projects work with the hardware. Unfortunately the website has grown with different ideas and projects and has turned into a confusing experience for people. Right now I'm in the process of turning over manufacturing to a Chinese partner company so I can turn my attention away from manufacturing and back to the things like an easy to understand message and website.

A little history will be helpful with sorting out the naming. We started out calling all of the hardware we were making the "Butterfly Platform". We quickly realized though that this was a pretty bad name because it is so generic and the AVR Butterfly is easily confused with our hardware. Doing a google search for Butterfly yields millions of hits and searching for Butterfly and electronics related terms usually returns the AVR Butterfly. It was important and still feasible, since it was early on, to change the name to something that was more distinctive. We searched around and settled on "Papilio Platform" because Papilio is Latin for Butterfly. So our whole base concept of the hardware transforming into different functions like a Butterfly was preserved and Papilio is distinctive enough to do well with search engines. At some point we just started calling everything "Papilio" instead of "Butterfly", but in order to try and make it less confusing we tried to leave "Butterfly" in parenthesis. So the Butterfly One came to be known as the Papilio (Butterfly) One instead.

As far as the Papilio (Butterfly) Uno goes, we realized pretty quickly that Papilio One and Papilio Uno became very confusing. People did not realize that they were two separate projects. We also came up with the name Papilio Uno before we ever realized that the Arduino was going to name their new board the Uno! Because of these factors we decided that Papilio Uno was going to be the codename during development and we would come up with a different name for the final product. We are still testing and making changes to the board, it has been slow going. Once the board is ready to be offered as a product we will most likely call it the "Papilio Overshield".

  The Papilio Platform is ultimately meant to be a platform for inventing  Gadgets. We want someone to be able to just choose the hardware modules  that they need for their idea and then be able to snap them in like  Lego's and just start programming in an easy to use and familiar  environment. We also want to create what we are calling the "Papilio  Continuum" which will allow the same tools to be used to make a design  that can start in a microcontroller that utilizes Wings and can be  seamlessly moved to a more powerful FPGA if needed. Or vice versa, a  design can be prototyped in an FPGA and then moved down into a low cost  microcontroller. This is all pretty ambitious though and is going to  take a lot of time to get it right. We've come to realize that one of  the biggest reason that the website is so fractured and confusing is  that we are being too ambitious by trying to pull this off so quickly.  We have recently redefined our goals, the Papilio Platform is a long  term goal. For the short to medium term we are going to focus on making  the Papilio One the "Arduino of FPGA development". So the Papilio  Platform concept is going to be put on the backburner while we focus on  making sure the message, website, and documentation for the Papilio One  is top notch.

So where to start, right now the Papilio One is the board that we are focusing our efforts on. It is an FPGA development board that we are trying to make the "Arduino for FPGA development". There are several interesting projects that have been made to work with it:

  • It can operate as a "Sump" Logic Analyzer. (We are working on making the Openbench Logic Sniffer codebase work on the Papilio One)
  • There is a special version of the Arduino IDE that has been modified to allow sketches to run on the AVR8 soft processor. There are many example sketches that provide examples for the Wings we offer.
  • There are Tutorials that show interesting things like integrating a DCM (Digital Clock Manager) or a VHDL UART into a project.

If you want to take a look at the software you can download the "Sump" and Arduino IDE software from the download page.

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Guest Zinahe

@Jack,

Thank you for the prompt and very comprehensive response. So let me see if I get this clearly.

As far as hardware is concerned, currently there is one generic FPGA board (Papilio One) that can be used to try out different projects. And soon enough there will be another one (Papilio Overshield); a very similar one to the Papilio One but that deals with 5V I/O. Right ??

Any word on the upcoming Spartan 3A based FPGA board ? Will it have any on board ADC/I2C/SPI capabilities ?

And one last question, can I put other soft core processors on the Papilio One other than AVR8 may be such as the MicroBlaze  ?

Thanks

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As far as hardware is concerned, currently there is one generic FPGA  board (Papilio One) that can be used to try out different projects. And  soon enough there will be another one (Papilio Overshield); a very  similar one to the Papilio One but that deals with 5V I/O. Right ??

Yes, this sums it up nicely.

Any word on the upcoming Spartan 3A based FPGA board ? Will it have any on board ADC/I2C/SPI capabilities ?

Prototypes of the Spartan 3A FPGA board have been built and it is passing all tests really well so far. There are still more testing that needs to be done though. I will probably be realeasing the Overshield and the Spartan 3A board at the same time to save money on stencil costs. I2C and SPI is something that any FPGA can easily handle. ADC it will not have on board, but there is a low cost SPI ADC Wing that people have reported works very well.

And one last question, can I put other soft core processors on the Papilio One other than AVR8 may be such as the MicroBlaze  ?

This is where the FPGA starts to become very fun. Yes, the Papilio One can support many other soft processors. In fact there is a really exciting soft processor called the ZPUino that is going to be available very soon. You can read more about it here.

Microblaze is something that I want to support, especially for the new Spartan 3A board that has SRAM. There is a version of ucLinux that runs on the Microblaze processor that I intend to make work on the Spartan 3A board. When I get the time I intend to make a bsb file that will allow the Papilio One and the new Spartan 3A board work with the Xilinx EDK (for the microblaze processor). The other major processor/FPGA environment I want to add support for is Altium's excellent FPGA environment. I'm sure there is some kind of board definition file I can create to make the Papilio boards compatible with it as well.

Jack.

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Guest pepevi

@Zinahe I totally agree, there is a lot of noise and things can be quite hidden but it is clear that all this is just starting and that there is a huge amount of work being done.

@Jack if you need help just ask!

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@pepevi

Thank you for the support, I appreciate the offer for help and will try to start posting more stuff to the forum so people can help me out with things.

I've been struggling with getting the OLS "Sump" codebase to work with the Papilio One for the last several days. I probably should have taken it online and asked for some help. The good news is that I think I finally have it figured out.

Jack.

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