NanoBoard 3000 Series

Parent article: NanoBoards

Remember back to the time when you first became impassioned by electronics. The time when perhaps you opened your first electronics kit, marveling at the innumerous circuits that could be built. Fast forward to the present, a time when that passion to create and innovate can be rejuvenated in an exciting way. Enter the NanoBoard 3000 series.

Part of Altium's growing family of NanoBoards, the 3000-series NanoBoards provide the perfect entry-point to discover and explore the world of soft design in a low-cost, fun way. In true NanoBoard style, each board in the series offers a reprogrammable hardware platform that harnesses the power of a high-capacity, low-cost programmable device to allow rapid and interactive implementation and debugging of your digital designs.

The NanoBoard 3000 provides a fixed User FPGA that is located on the motherboard itself and provision for the attachment of a single peripheral board. Much of the peripheral resource functionality found on the NanoBoard NB2 is also found on the NanoBoard 3000, along with additional resources of its own – including Relays, Power PWM Drivers and a MIDI interface.

There are three variants available in the series:

  • NanoBoard 3000XN – Xilinx variant, incorporating a Xilinx Spartan-3AN device (XC3S1400AN-4FGG676C) as the User FPGA.
  • NanoBoard 3000AL – Altera variant: incorporating an Altera Cyclone III device (EP3C40F780C8N) as the User FPGA.
  • NanoBoard 3000LC – Lattice variant: incorporating a LatticeECP2 device (LFE2-35SE-5FN672C) as the User FPGA.

The NanoBoard 3000 is designed to be a perfect complement to Altium Designer, Altium's unified electronic product design environment. Together, they transform your desktop into a complete, interactive electronics design laboratory using Altium's LiveDesign environment.

LiveDesign is a unified electronics system design methodology that is based on 'live' engineering inside a programmable physical hardware design space. Altium Designer, the NanoBoard 3000 and LiveDesign, provide real-time communication and 'hands-on' interaction between you and your design during the development process. Unlike conventional electronics design flows, a unified design flow and LiveDesign eliminate the need to work in simulated environments, allowing you to run software on hardware in real time, right from the start of the design cycle through to final production!

By implementing your system on the NanoBoard 3000, your circuit can be probed, analyzed and debugged interactively using an array of virtual instruments and JTAG-based monitoring features. The implementation is performed within a programmable hardware realm, so you can update the design quickly and as often as you need to, without incurring cost or time penalties, all the while rapidly building your knowledge and equipping yourself with the skills to embrace the soft design paradigm.

Some architectural highlights of the NanoBoard 3000 include:

  • Dual boot system, allowing the board to update its firmware in the field by itself, over a standard USB connection – no parallel port or USB JTAG Adapter required
  • Accommodation of a single application-specific plug-in peripheral board for additional system flexibility
  • High-quality stereo audio capabilities, including audio CODEC, high-quality speakers and both MIDI and S/PDIF interfaces
  • 4x Relay and Power PWM drivers
  • USB Hub, providing for the connection of up to three USB devices to be attached for use by an FPGA design programmed within the User FPGA
  • Integrated color TFT touch screen that facilitates dynamic application interaction.

Additionally, a wide variety of FPGA-ready schematic components (ranging from processors to peripheral components and generic logic), and a complete set of tools for development and debugging, are included with Altium Designer.
 

Each 3000-series NanoBoard comes with a 12-month subscription to the Soft Design licensing option of Altium Designer. The license is unique and linked to the board – initial access to the license is only possible provided that particular NanoBoard 3000 is connected and powered up. Thereafter, the license can be used with or without connection to the NanoBoard. For more information, see Licensing and the NanoBoard.

 
So as you can see, when combined with Altium Designer, a LiveDesign-enabled 3000-series NanoBoard transforms your PC desktop into an interactive reprogrammable hardware development system – truly an electronics 'kit' for the 21st century! Explore, Discover, Deploy – with a 3000-series NanoBoard, you are limited only by your imagination.

One of Altium's 3000-series NanoBoards.

NanoBoard 3000 Overview

Working with the NanoBoard 3000

Setting up the NanoBoard 3000

Altium Designer Introductory Topics

Resources

Deployment

ISE 11.1i does not support the Spartan 3AN 1400 device that ships on the NanoBoard 3000XN. Xilinx have an update available that patches 11.1i WebPACK to 11.3i WebPACK to resolve the problem. 10.1 SP2 WebPACK is the last known working version with the NanoBoard 3000XN.