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Introduces FPGAs and the means of programming them.

Circuit design in elec 220

For the first lab and first project of ELEC 220 we will be focusing on the creation of circuit diagrams using Altera’s Quartus II Web Edition . In addition to simulating these circuits on a computer, we will also be configuring Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) from these diagrams. Our target platform will be Terasic’s DE0 Development and Education Board which uses Altera’s Cyclone III FPGA chip.


An FPGA is an integrated circuit, composed of many logic elements, which can be reconfigured by the user to reproduce a variety of circuits. Each logic element contains several different logic gates and memory elements which can be used to recreate a wide variety of circuit components. The DE0 board we will be using has over 15,000 logic elements although we will only be using less than 1% of these, even for the calculator project. Hopefully, after completing this project you will have a better understanding of the power and versatility of FPGAs.

Fpga configuration

In order for an FPGA to emulate a desired circuit, it must first be set to the proper configuration specified in a data file uploaded to the board. This data file is created, and often uploaded to the board, using FPGA design software such as Altera’s Quartus II. By providing Quartus with information regarding the specific FPGA to be configured, a Quartus project can be easily replicated on an FPGA, shortening delays between concept and protype stages in designing circuits.

Hdl vs. schematic diagrams

There are two ways to specify the intended function of a Quartus project. The more straightforward method is to simply create a schematic diagram of the desired circuit as though you were drawing it out on paper or building it on a breadboard. This has the advantage of being very easy to grasp, however, it requires you to work out the logic for the entire circuit and lay out all the components. The other more abstracted method is to use a Hardware Description Language (HDL) such as Verilog. Writing using this specification language allows you to specifiy the intended function of the circuit from which Quartus creates an optimized circuit layout. Although this method does not give you as much individual control over the design, it allows you to more easily go from concept to end product by tasking your computer with the bulk of the design work. However, for simplicities sake, we will be using schematic diagrams for the majority of this course, with HDL files provided to you for use in later designs.

Course overview

The first few labs are designed to give you practice in using Quartus to create schematic diagrams by tasking you with creating schematics for circuits you are already familiar with. They also provide a brief review of the inner workings of components which will be used extensively in later designs. We will then move onto more complex circuits when we introduce the idea of a clock signal as an input to a circuit and design finite state machines. Finally, this section of the lab will culminate in the design of a simple calculator, though it’s not quite like most simple calculators you may be used to. This will draw on previous lessons on circuit design, finite state machines, and clock signals while also providing an introduction to simple computers that will carry on into the next protion of the lab section.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
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Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
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Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
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s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
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s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
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silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
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I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
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Prasenjit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Intro to computational engineering: elec 220 labs. OpenStax CNX. Mar 11, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11405/1.2
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