Ben Heck Show Brightens Up LED Displays with FPGAs and CPLDs

In the latest Ben Heck Show episode, the modding guru discusses the benefits of using Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLDs) to enhance LED-illumination projects. In the episode, Ben deconstructs the complex language of programmable logic devices as a means to help designers expedite their current builds as efficiently as possible.

The element14 episode demonstrates how the use of CPLDs simplifies the design process by incorporating Verilog hardware description of integrated circuits instead of wiring them by hand. After installing the software for the Altera Max V development board, Ben creates the logic inside the CPLD from his computer before applying the program to his initial Super Alarm Clock build. Ben then assigns circuit board pins and applies Binary mathematics to the circuit connection to increase the level of brightness on the Super Alarm Clock’s LED backlit display.

The Ben Heck Show episode wraps things up by offering viewers a look at how FPGA is utilized on a new DMD display on a pinball machine build. Using a Verilog programming structure and an Altera Cyclone II FPGA, Ben transposes a picture of a cat onto the DMD display and demonstrates that the new conversational-structured language increases the LED brightness, something not possible with a standard microcontroller.

More info: Ben’s Field Programmable Gate Arrays Episode