Getting started with CPLD’s and FPGA’s

Chris has been dabbling with CPLD’s and FPGA’s.  He wanted to share some helpful resources with anyone else looking to get started with them as well.

DIY 8×8 LED Array

Like most normal people, I enjoy blinky lights.  Although I helped build the ring of lights in the Tron disc, I was not involved with any of the hardware or software used to actually control the LEDs.  Prior to this project, I had never done anything more than simple PWM control of a few LEDs directly from a micro-controller, so I decided it was a good time to learn how to control a lot of LEDs.  Since this was done for the purpose of learning, I did everything as difficultly as possible, such as building my own LED array on a protoboard instead of just buying an array.  I also wrote code to bit-bang the serial data instead of just using the compiler’s built in SPI function.  But, I wanted a generic serial data module anyway after dealing with the Nokia 6100 and it’s weird 9-bit SPI.  The main point of the whole project was to simply do it myself without asking anyone at the space for help with anything.  I’m sure the code could be a lot better, but it does what it is supposed to do (I think).  :)