electronics podcast, MacroFab, macrofab engineering podcast, MEP, MOSFET, Podcast, TinyFPGA
engineering podcast

MEP EP#105: Community Dice

Download: MP3
RSS Feed: Link
Twitter: @MacroFab

Runtime: (00:35:20)

Parker Dillmann
Stephen Kraig


Podcast Notes

  • MacroFab is Hiring!

Visit our Slack Channel and join the conversation in between episodes!

If you have a cool idea, project or topic that you want Stephen and me to discuss, tweet at us @MacroFab or email us.

If you are not subscribed to the podcast yet, click that subscribe button. That way you get the latest MEP episode right when it releases. And please review us, wherever you listen (PodcastAddict, iTunes), it helps this show stay visible and helps new listeners find us. (:

Parker printed some 3-sided coins


The Raspberry PI 3 Compute Module motherboard Parker is working on. Still lots of parts to add!

Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!

1 Comment

  • Tom Burke says:

    Hi Guys, Just listened and have some comments about MAX10 FPGAs having just had MacroFab build me some MAX10 boards (look for the ezPixel project). MAX10 is advertised by Intel as an FPGA. What makes you think of it as a CPLD is the fact that it has onboard FLASH and can self-boot, i.e. no external boot prom is required. However, inside it is basically a 4-Lut FPGA architecture similar to their Cyclone FPGA devices.

    They are quite capable and a 10M08 with over 8000 flops can do quite a bit. I have no trouble instantiated a very capable 32-bit NIOS soft processor as well as a pig pile of my own logic. I am somewhat mystified how Arrow or their partner, Trenz-Electronics in Germany, can sell their MAX1000 board profitably at $30. They include SDRAM, FLASH, an FTDI 2232H chip and other things. At 500 pieces the FPGA alone is over $11. I’m guessing they used at least a 4-layer PCB due to the MAX10 BGA package. I worked hard to keep mine at 2 layers to reduce costs, but I didn’t need to break out as many I/O pins. They need more I/O pins due to the SDRAM. They might also need to use tighter trace/space geometry — again a guess — which could also increase costs.

    I know that volume is everything with electronic widgets and Arrow shows almost 1000 in stock. Trenz has more so perhaps they are in cahoots to build in larger volumes? Arrow can also subsidize parts costs as they are a parts distributor. They might also be getting some cost subsidization from Intel and FTDI. And, they may be selling it at cost or at a loss since they are big enough to absorb small losses in the hopes of generating future customers — a loss-leader item.

    You guys can compare the Arrow board to the pricing of ezPixels in whatever quantity you want. There are fewer components on an ezPixel and your pricing won’t include production testing. I’m not complaining about your pricing, rather, just trying to illustrate how hard it is for us small folks to compete with the big boys. They have advantages that I can’t compete with directly. Someone like me can maybe afford to risk build 100 piece quantity, not 1000’s.

    Heavy sigh…

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