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PiXi Experimenter Kickstarter Reward


The PiXi Experimenter board is designed to provide a number of exciting functions to give the new owner of a PiXi something to play. Plus we hope it will entice any user who may be new to FPGAs into learning more about the VHDL & Verilog design languages and about FPGA technology as it provides a convenient platform that can be used to test some simple home-grown FPGA designs.


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Please note that while this product is in development, the specification and functions provided are subject to change. If it doesn’t meet your needs, please tell us what you’d like to see on the PiXi Experimenter and we’ll see what we can do…


  1. PiXi Interface: Connectors are provided to allow the PiXi to be connected to the PiXi Expermienter using easily assembled ribbon cables & IDC connectors. This   includes the GPIO1, GPIO2, GPIO3, Serial & Analogue interface connectors.
  2. LCD Display: A 16 character, 2 line LCD module is provided, connected to GPIO3 on the PiXI. The user can use the Raspberry Pi & FPGA to write messages to the display module.
  3. Numeric Keypad: A 12-key (4 row x 3 column) telephone style keypad is provided, connected to 7 of the 24 GPIO ports on the PiXis GPIO1 port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi & PiXi FPGA to detect and read key presses on the keypad.
  4. DC Motor: A simple 5v DC motor is provided, connected to one of the 2-amp open-collector outputs on the PiXis GPIO2 port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi & PiXi FPGA to control the motor both using simple on/off control or through pulse-width modulation to control the speed of the motor.
  5. Miniature Servo (x2): Two minature ‘radio-control’ or ‘hobby’ servos are provided, connected to two of the eight low-current open-collector outputs on the PiXis GPIO2 port. The user can use either the Raspberry Pi or FPGA to control the position & movement of the servos.
  6. Lamp (x2): Two simple 5v torch bulbs, each on a MES style base are provided, connected to two of the eight 2-amp open-collector outputs on the PiXis GPIO2 port. The user can use either the Raspberry Pi or PiXi FPGA to control the lamp using simple on/off control or through pulse-width modulation to control the brightness of the lamp.
  7. Piezo Sounder: A basic piezo sounder is provided for audio output functions, connected to one of the eight low-current open-collector outputs of the PiXis GPIO2 port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi & PiXi FPGA to generate simples low quality tones out of the sounder.
  8. Amplifier & Speaker: A low-power mono audio amplifier and speaker are provided for audio output functions, connected to one of the four DAC outputs from the PiXis Analogue port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi to stream data to the DAC via I2C to generate a limited audio output function including tone generator, music and speech.
  9. Potentiometer: Two potentiometers are provided for analogue inputs, connected to two of the eight ADC channels on the PiXis Analogue port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi to read the position of the potentiometers through the ADC over the SPI interface.
  10. BNC Connector (x2): Two BNC connectors are provided for analogue input functions, connected to two of the eight ADC channels on the PiXis Analogue port. The user can use these connectors to create a simple low-frequency ocilloscope or analogue voltage recording function.
  11. L293D Motor Driver & Connector: A four-channel motor driver is provided to driver an external motor if the user has one that needs a driver, connected to six of the 24 GPIO ports on the PiXis GPIO1 port. The user can use the L293D to control their own stepper motor or brushed DC motors, including the use of PWM drivers in the PiXi FPGA to control both motor speed and direction.d
  12. Breadboard / Prototyping Area: We can’t think of everything, so this area allows the user to add their own components and create their own input / output functions.
  13. Switches: Around the outside of te LCD are four ‘soft’ switches that can be used with the LCD as menu controls, option selection etc., connected to four of the 24 GPIO ports on the PiXis GPIO1 port. The user can use the Rasperry Pi and / or PiXi FPGA to scan these switches for activity and act accordingly.
  14. “Traffic Light” LEDs: We thought that this would be a great little starter project so we added two sets of LEDs configured as traffic-lights that the user can use to create their own traffic light controller, either in software running on the Raspberry Pi or in VHDL / Verilog as their own FPGA design.
  15. RS232 Serial Port:Two serial ports, running at RS232 levels are provided, connected to the PiXis Serial port. The user can use the Raspberry Pi and / or PiXi FPGA to communicate with RS232 / serial peripherals through these ports.
  16. Power & GPIO Sockets: All of the power & GPIO functions available on the PiXi GPIO headers are brought out to sockets next to the breadboard / prototyping area so that the user can use any of the GPIO functions (that aren’t already being used) on the prototyping area.
  17. Something else?…