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Forum: FPGA, VHDL & Verilog Connecting PC to FPGA and LED matrix


Author: Moi Fener (jmaxout)
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Hi! This is the first time I have ever worked with FPGA and VHDL. I am 
trying to connect a PC with a FPGA to control two led matrices using 
buffered memory. So I was wondering if RAM or FIFO would be best for 
this? Sorry for my English not my native language..

Author: Peter (Guest)
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To connect your FPGA to a PC you need a Interface (RS-232  USB  
Firewire / Ethernet). Which one you choose depends mainly on your 
knowledge and your requirements in terms of data throughput.

RAM is a special type of memory. No FPGA has one, it must be connected 
externally. Maybe you have a development board which has RAM on board.

FIFO is not a memory. FIFO is a memory model which says, that data that 
comes in first, will be processed first. This ist not a memory. A FIFO 
manages your data (e.g. in RAM) in a certain way.

Author: Lothar Miller (lkmiller) (Moderator)
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Moi Fener wrote:
> I am trying to connect a PC with a FPGA to control two led matrices
> using buffered memory. So I was wondering if RAM or FIFO would be best
> for this?
Go one step back. And then start with the most simple application on a 
FPGA: a blinking LED, the "hello world!" of hardware. After that 
implement a chasing light, then a RS232 interface, then try to control 
your matrix LEDs, then generate a running pattern on the matrix, then 
display the pattern into RAM and display it

And so step after step you will reach your desired destination. But not 
by tricking around with FIFO and RAM at this point of the design.

Peter wrote:
> RAM is a special type of memory. No FPGA has one, it must be connected
> externally.
Every FPGA has RAM inside. More: usually its DualPorted RAM inside...

Moi Fener wrote:
> So I was wondering if RAM or FIFO would be best for this?
Just a little hint: I would not need a FIFO for this application. The 
DualPort RAM inside the FPGA is perfect good for the job.

> control two led matrices
How big?
And what means "to control" them? Showing a video?

Author: Moi Fener (jmaxout)
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Thank you for your reply! I am basically trying to send data from the 
Computer using a serial port. The matrices are 2 8x8. Trying to write 
something on the matrices.

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