I’ve been spending a lot of time recently playing with CPLDs (Complex Programmable Logic Devices). These are wonderful devices for the logic experimenter as you can build your own dedicated logic chips! I started by getting the excellent Guzunty Pi which is an excellent value board complete with software that allows you to load different cores onto the CPLD that forms the heart of the Guzunty Pi.
I’ve also discovered an excellent CPLD development board that’s produced by Seeed Studio. This contains the same Xilinx chip as the Guzunty Pi but programming needs to be done via a JTAG lead. The board costs just $15 and postage was reasonable. There are several routes to get the necessary JTAG cable but the cheapest options are to either get a Xilinx clone cable from eBay or get the Digilent JTAG programming cable from Farnell. If you prefer to get your CPLD development board from the UK then Farnell hold the Digilent C-Mod board at £15.31.
To make your own CPLD cores you will need development software and the best option for the Xilinx chips is their free ISE WebKit.
Look out for my next Data Modes column in PW for more details.