DIY DE0-Nano Breakout Board

Project Info
Author: Chris
Difficulty: Medium
Time Invested: 6 Hours

Take a look at the above
articles before continuing
to read this article.
           The great thing about modern FPGAs is that they have so many I/O pins that you often don't need them all. For example, the DE0-Nano demo board has two 40 pin ports each with 34 I/O pins waiting to be used. This is great if you have a board designed for either of these expansion ports, but not so great if you don't. However, never fear! You can make your own expansion board breakout board without breaking a sweat!
           This article will go step-by-step through the process of designing a PCB that breaksout the 40 pin expansion header on the DE0-Nano demo board. The PCB will easily connect to a breadboard where you have access to each individual I/O pin.

DIY DE0-Nano Breakout Board - Demonstration

DIY DE0-Nano Breakout Board - Test Setup

Purpose & Overview of this project
           Since I've used the DE0-Nano demo board for many things already, I was frustred that I could never use the expansion ports for prototyping, so the idea to build an expansion breakout board came to life. The goal here is to have accces to each of the 40 pins on a breadboard so that we can use them for prototyping. Alternatively, once we have the breakout board designed it will serve as a blue-print for future boards that connect to the DE0-Nano expansion port.
           To create this PCB we will use the eagle schematic and layout tool using as few parts on the board as possible. That way we can get it working faster. To test that the expansion port works we'll put some LED fading code from a previous pyro article and connect each individual I/O pin with an LED.