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aes220 high speed USB FPGA mini-module

The aes220 modules are part of Aessent Technology mini-modules series. The modules includes their own DC/DC converter and crystal oscillator. All they require is a 5Vdc power supply if disconnected from the USB. Both modules are identical save for the FPGA loaded on the board, the aes220a comes with the Xilinx XC3S200AN while the aes220b is fitted with a Xilinx XC3S400AN.

Their tiny size (42x61mm) allows fitting in tight places and thanks to their stackable interface they can easily be combined with other modules. The mini-modules offer a flexible clock implementation with the micro-controller clock connected to the FPGA and 16 GCLK inputs present on the external connectors allowing for multiple clock inputs (for a 10MHz external reference for example, but also for running buses or serial links requiring an external clock). The FPGA possesses four Digital Frequency Synthesiser (DFS) to multiply any clock provided up to 334MHz.

The modules provide 72 GPIO (General Purpose Inputs Outputs) linked directly to the Xilinx device which can be accessed using the two 48 pin 0.1” pitch through hole connectors on either side of the modules. These comprise a mix of single ended and differential pair tracks as well as the GCLK inputs previously mentioned. The Xilinx Spartan 3AN devices offer integrated flash memory for device configuration with enough space for two different configurations or data storage or a mix of both. In addition the SDRAM device provides 128Mb of RAM memory with fast access time (16bits parallel data bus and 100MHz clock). See Xilinx pages for more documentation on the FPGA itself.

The Cypress FX2LP micro-controller provides the communication between the host computer and the FPGA. The RAM and EEPROM of the micro-controller are fully accessible allowing customisation of the communication link. Numerous examples are provided on how to program and use the micro-controller including most typical usages. Both the micro-controller and the FPGA can be configured using a simple USB cable (or also using a JTAG programmer via standard Xilinx JTAG connector in the case of the FPGA). VHDL or Verilog code synthesising for the FPGA is via Xilinx' free ISE WebPACK or ISE Design Suite, both downloadable from the Xilinx website.

There is no need for learning about USB communication protocols as libraries are provided for dealing with the communication between the host PC, the micro-controller and the FPGA. All programs and libraries are free and Open Source so as not to be tied up with any proprietary tools and permitting customisation to the user's requirements. Examples, tools and libraries are all available on both Windows and Linux platforms.

  • Cypress EZ-USB FX2LPTM micro-controller (CY7C68013A)
  • 16KB EEPROM for micro-controller program
  • 24MHz crystal oscillator
  • Xilinx Spartan3AN FPGA (aes220a: XC3S200AN, aes 220b: XC3S400AB)
  • 4Mb SPI FLASH memory
  • 288Kb RAM
  • 4 Digital Clock Managers (each including a Digital Frequency Synthesizer)
  • 128Mb 100Mhz SDRAM
  • 1.2V, 1.8V and 2x3.3V on-board buck and LDO regulators
  • 72 general purpose 3 state pins, of which 16 GCLK inputs
  • I2C bus interface pins (SDA/SCL)
  • 5 user LEDs
  • 2 user switches
  • JTAG 14 pin connector footprint
  • Powered from USB port or external 5V supply
  • Small size at 42x61mm

Aessent Technology offer a full range of support for the aes220 mini-module.

DS220-01-A aes220 Data Sheet
UM220-01-A aes220 User Manual
UM220-02-A aes220 Windows Installation Manual
UM220-03-A aes220 Linux Installation Manual coming soon
UM220-04-A aes220 Physical Dimensions


Aessent Technology offer a full range of support for the aes220 mini-module, including software and firmware downloads.

aes220 API documentation

Files required to use the mini-module on Linux (zip file)
Files required to use the mini-module on Windows (zip file)
Some examples of using the mini-module (zip file)

Downloads from Xilinx

ISE WebPACK
ISE Design Suite

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